Tag Archives: Arabic Language

A little small talk

And now you’ve introduced yourself, let’s turn to a little small talk…

Where do you live? – Wayn sakin (to man) Wayn sakna? (to woman)

I live in Ajman – ana sakin/sakna fee Ajman (sakin for man, sakna for woman)

Villa – feela, house – bayt, apartment – shagga

Are you married? – inta mutazawij? to a man -inta mutazawija? To a woman
Yes, I am married – Hay, ana mutazawij(a) (masc/fem)
I’m engaged – ana makhtoob(a)
I’m divorced – ana muttalag(a)
I’m widowed – ana arrmal(a)
I’m single -ana aazab/azba

 

Note: You don’t usually ask the opposite sex about their marital status in Emirati culture.

Maybe you have worked out from the sentences above that adjectives describing females add -a at the end like mutazawija.

Introduction to the Language

The boring bit – feel free to skip 🙂

The Arabic language is quite complex. Whilst there is the formal language known as ‘Fus-ha’, it is only really used for formal purposes, such as, newspapers, documents, books, and the like. In everyday life Arabs speak colloquial Arabic. Unfortunately, here the plot thickens. There are many dialects and the differences can be huge. Mostly the differences lie either in different words for the same thing or difference in pronunciation.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

In formal Arabic a pen ‘qalam’, in Egypt it would be called an ‘alam’ whilst in the Emirates it would be a ‘galam.’ Incidentally, the formal pronunciation of al-Sharjah is al Shariqah and you may hear non-Emiratis refer to it as such.

On top of that, much of the grammar used in formal and classical Arabic is not used in the colloquial and if you have Arab acquaintances, no doubt at least a few of them have told you how much they disliked Arabic grammar at school.