Although Arabic as the largest and most spoken Semitic language around the globe the most preferred language for people living abroad is English. The majority of expats who reside across their home countries in the Middle East learn a few basic words and phrases are used occasionally in their daily conversations.
With expatriates from the United Arab Emirates outweighing their nationals and accounting for around 85% percent of population in Dubai so it’s no surprise that you can work for days without hearing the spoken Arabic speaking.
Many expats and families that have been here for a long time or even decades don’t know enough Arabic to be able to follow conversations. When asked about this they say that they’ve never had the desire to learn Arabic. Even children of third culture or children of expats who were raised and educated in the UAE do not know Arabic.
list of the most well-known Arabic words and phrases
1. Habeebi/Habeebti (pronounced ha-bee-bee/ha-beeb-tee)
Habibti meaning in Arabic refers to ‘my love’ and is frequently use in conversations informal or formal. Habibi is one of those words that you need to know because it is a useful word to use in any circumstance whether you’re calling someone a friend, fighting, or even when humorous!
If you’re speaking to women, you’d say “Habeebti”. A more similar English word I’ve seen is ‘buddy’, or’my dear’.
Example: Thanks, habeebi!
Example . Get off my way, habeebi.
You can find detail Habibi meaning here.
2. La afham (pronounce la af-am)
La afham means ‘I don’t understand’. It’s also helpful to know in case you encounter people who speak only Arabic and you’re having difficulty speaking to them.
Example: Sorry, (la afham).
Teacher : do you understand ?
معلم: هل انت فاهم؟
You : i don’t understand
انت : انا “لا افهم”
3. Min Fadlak (pronounced min fad-lak)
In Arabic, say Min fadlak means please . Keep in mind though that the pronunciation changes a bit when addressing a female.
If you’re saying please in Arabic to a female, say Min Fadlik.
If you’re saying please in Arabic to a male, say Min Fadlak.
4. Shukran (pronounced shook-ran)
Shukran is used in all Arabic-speaking countries, in both formal and informal settings, and is understood widely among speakers of all dialects of Arabic. It comes from the root verb shakara (شكر) meaning “to thank”.
Example: Shukran! That’s very kind of you.
Example : La shukran, I don’t want this .
5. Masalamah(pronounced mass-a-lar-ma)
Masalamah means ‘goodbye‘ in Arabic. While there are other words that mean goodbye too, this one is the easiest to learn.
Example: See you later. Masalamah!
6. Marhaba (pronounced mar-ha-ba)
مرحبا (Marhaba) – “Hello/Hi”
Marhaba is the simplest type of greeting that is used across the Arabic speaking world. Marhaba is the ideal general greeting: it is soft to say and is considered to be polite and neutral.
Example: Marhaba! How do you?
7. Ahlan Wa Sahlan (pronounced ah-lan wa sar-lan)
Ahlan wa sahlan means Hello/ Welcome. ahlan wasahlan ‘ comes from an old saying that shows Arab hospitality to strangers. The reply is “Ahlan bik” to a man or “Ahlan biki” to a woman. If you want to reply to more than one person, say, “Ahlan bikum.”
8. Masha’Allah (pronounced mash-ar-ah-la)
Masha’Allah is very common word in all arabs and muslims. Explaining the meaning of Masha’Allah is a little difficult as it’s used in myriad ways. The closest translation is ‘God has willed it’.
It’s mostly commonly said when admiring or praising something.
9. Hala (pronounced ha-la)
Hala is considered an informal or slang way to say hello. If you need help to remember this one, think of it as the equivalent of ‘Holla! ‘. Hala name is really common in arabic girls too
Example: Hala! How’s it going?
10. Assalam Alaikum (pronounced ass-a-lam al-eye-kum)
Assalam Alaikum is a formal and very common greeting words in Arabic. It means ‘Peace be upon you’.
Example: Assalam Alaikum! what is your name?
11. Mabrook (pronounced ma-brook)
If you want to say congratulations to someone in Arabic, say ‘Mabrook’.
مبروك أنا متأكد من أكما ستكونان سعيدين
Congratulations. I’m sure you’ll both be deliriously happy.
12. Maafi Mushki (pronounced mar-fi moosh-key-la)
Another Arabic term that’s often use. It’s the Arabic word for “no problem”.
People will say it when you express your gratitude or solicit their help or ask for their help.
Example: Sorry to be late. Response: Maafi mushkil!