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Useful Arabic Phrases

Later in the year than usual, the World Cup is due to start in Qatar in the coming weeks. With thousands of football fans from across the world travelling to the peninsular country, it is the first time many will have ventured to the Middle East. With a limited spread of speakers, we thought it would be beneficial to provide you with some useful Arabic phrases.

There is no better way for those making the journey to support their national side than to experience the State of Qatar to its fullest! We have compiled this list of useful Arabic phrases and greetings to help you with your trip to the Middle East.


Useful Arabic Phrases and Greetings

Hello! –  ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ (As-salamu alaykum)

Good morning!صباح الخير (sabah alkhayr) 

Good afternoon!طاب مسائك (tab masayik) 

Good evening!مساء الخير (masa’ alkhayr) 

Goodbye!مع السلامة (mae alsalama) 

Thank you!شكرًا لك  (shkran lak) 

Yes, please!نعم من فضلك (naeam min fadlik) 

What time is it?أي ساعة (‘ayu saeatin) 

How much is this?كم ثمن هذا (kam thaman hadha) 

Congratulations!تهانينا (tahanina) 


Visitor Etiquette

There are certain levels of etiquette which are expected to be met when visiting countries such as Qatar. We have listed some of the most important below to help you get the most out of your visit. 

Women in Qatar

  • Always use greetings and formalities when meeting people, particularly for the first time. Starting conversations with ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon’ is considered good manners. Something which you should do when visiting an Arabic-speaking country. 
  • Qatar is an Islamic country and therefore dressing appropriately is key when visiting. Modesty is important and therefore women should cover shoulders, upper-arms and above the knee when in public. Wearing short skirts, low-cut tops and revealing articles are strongly advised against. 
  • There are certain scenarios where men and women will have separate queues in public places (the bank for example). Avoid joining the wrong queue and if unsure then ask. 
  • Men should not start conversations with local women who they have not met before. This is considered the height of rudeness and authorities can prosecute for such a faux pas. 
  • Qatar is somewhat of a ‘dry country’. This means that alcohol in public is prohibited. Certain bars and restaurants do sell alcohol, but it is key to remain in control and not appear intoxicated in public as this can result in prosecution. 

Visiting the State of Qatar

While it might seem daunting visiting a country such as Qatar with limited knowledge of Arabic, there is always plenty of time to learn the basics of any language before visiting. And with any large international event, English is always an alternative as most hotels, bars and restaurants offer services and material in English as well as Arabic

World Cup Qatar Stadium

The country of Qatar is amazing and is an exciting place to visit with recent developments. Hot weather combined with the views of the Persian Gulf from cities such as Doha make it a dream destination for any traveller. It is important to respect the local culture when in less tourist-based areas, but once fully immersed the cultural impact this small country can have on you will be insurmountable. 

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Next Steps to Learn Arabic

If you are keen to learn more than just a few useful Arabic phrases, then joining a course would be the best option. You could learn from scratch or improve your Arabic language learning. Cactus offer a range of Arabic courses suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced. You can study Arabic online or face-to-face! Develop your skills, travel to Arabic-speaking countries and discover the best that different cultures have to offer.

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