Expats in UAE keen to learn Arabic

Published:  19 Dec at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Expats living and working in the UAE are showing a deal of interest in learning the local lingo.

Some 80 per cent of the UAE’s entire population comprises expatriates, the majority of whom are non-Arabic speakers, with the English language the predominant business language in the emirates. However, an increasing number of expat professionals are now signing up to learn Arabic, with Dubai’s dozen or more language institutes gearing up to meet the extra demand for their services. The language institutes cover Mandarin Chinese as well as the usual European languages, but Arabic is their speciality.

The demand for courses in Arabic began around a decade ago, but is now becoming a trend amongst Western expatriates on long-term contracts. Established only two years ago, the Pomegranate Institute has now taught almost 800 expat students and considers the class its most successful offering. According to its director Marie-Alex Saaeva, one reason is that the course combines the cultural aspects of the language as well as the nuts and bolts. Another reason is that the institute teaches the modern, standard form of the language, understood by all Arabic speakers whether Arab or from other nations.

Learning the basics takes between 30 and 40 hours, dependent on students’ linguistic talents. This timescale gives the ability to frame simple sentences and ask straightforward questions, but 150 hours of class are needed to be able to hold a simple, fluent conversation. Reading and writing are another matter, as the script is written from right to left, unlike the vast majority of the world’s other languages. Modern Standard Arabic is the language of administration, education and writing and, for expats willing to learn, it gives a whole new perspective on the Arab lands and their peoples' way of life.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive