UAE communications: key phrases to know

When doing business with any country, it’s important that you remain respectful of its culture. Ignorance and an unwillingness to adapt to their ways of working will not place you in good stead with the decision makers you’re trying to impress.


One challenge that businesses often face when venturing into other countries is a language barrier. While a large proportion of Dubai’s population is English-speaking, the country’s official language is Arabic. To show your respect for the county’s culture, it’s wise to learn a few Arabic phrases which you can use in conversation with your contacts.


In this blog post, you’ll find some key Arabic phrases that you can use to improve your UAE communications.


Key Arabic Greetings & Phrases


Hello marhaban or hala (informal)

Goodbye - ma’asalama

Welcome - ahlan wa sahlan

Good morning - sabah alkhy

Good evening - masa' alkhayr

Pleased to meet youtasharafna


The following is another popular formal Arabic greeting in the UAE:

Peace be upon you - assalaam alaykum

And peace be upon you (response) -  wa alaikum assalaam



Please – when addressing a male, use min fadlak. When addressing a female, use min fadlik.

Thank you shukran

You’re welcomeafwan

Congratulations - mabrook

No problem maafi mushki

Excuse me - efu

How are you? – when addressing a male, use kayfa halak. When addressing a female, use kayfa halik.

I don’t understand – la afham

Do you speak English - hal tatahadath al'iinjlizia


Conversation starters

What is your name? - when addressing a male, use mā ismak. When addressing a female, use mā ismik.

My name is - ismee

Where are you from? - when addressing a male, use min ayna anta/i. When addressing a female, use min ayna anti.


Essential phrases

Yes - na’am

No - la

Sorry – if you are male, use asif. If you are female, use asifa.

OK – hasananaan


Hopefully, by having a better understanding of these phrases, you can strengthen your UAE communications and build a better rapport with your clients in Dubai and further afield.


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Our resident marketing specialist, Dan divides most of his time between drinking coffee and translating developer terminology for the English language

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