Nord Anglia
15 May, 2021

Learning Arabic

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Perhaps one of the biggest cultural differences you'll experience during your move is the shift to a different language. Arabic is the national language of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is spoken widely in Dubai. With such a high expat population, you'll find that people commonly speak English to varying degrees of fluency throughout the city.

Why It's Important to Learn Arabic When Living in Dubai

If English is widely spoken, why take the time and effort to learn Arabic? We believe it’s important for several reasons. Once you get out of expat-heavy central locations, you’ll find many locals who speak Arabic and will help you practice your growing language skills. From street vendors to taxi drivers, many people will light up when you attempt to speak Arabic instead of defaulting to English. 

Speaking their language — even just basic words or phrases at first — demonstrates respect and a willingness to be present in this new culture. While it's not necessarily expected, learning Arabic will speak volumes about your investment in Dubai and desire to communicate with those who live there.

Learning to speak Arabic can also provide many professional and personal benefits. It may help you stand out to your employer as well as the competition — plus you can add this impressive new skill to your portfolio. On a personal level, language classes can provide the opportunity to meet other expats.

Is It Difficult to Learn Arabic?

Like any new language, studying Arabic will certainly come with a learning curve. While learning an entirely new alphabet can be tricky, Arabic's alphabet only has 28 characters. Practice and dedication will help you grasp each letter. Flashcards also come in handy, as will a practice partner to help you voice each letter aloud until you've mastered the pronunciation. 

In Arabic, letters generally go from right to left. This may be confusing at first but will become second nature the more you practice. Arabic words are typically easy to pronounce for an English speaker except for one or two uncommon sounds. Plus, grammar is easier than the English language as Arabic only has two tenses — past and non-past. 

Verb conjugation is also generally simpler in Arabic than English. While there are more verb conjugation categories, Arabic doesn't have irregular verbs — so once you've memorized the right conjugations, you're set.

Find Support at Nord Anglia International School Dubai 

If you decide to pursue language learning, you'll find many great options for classes or individual tutoring sessions online. We encourage you to develop even basic Arabic skills as you make Dubai your home.

You can also count on Nord Anglia International School Dubai for support as you learn Arabic. Contact us today with any questions about learning the language or moving to Dubai.