A Short Guide of Useful English to Arabic for Business

First words are key when greeting and saying goodbye to people:

  • مرحبا – Hello (Marhaban): This greeting is widely used throughout the Arab countries and is also one of the easiest greetings to pronounce making it a good word to know.
  • تشرفنا – Pleased to meet you (Tasharafna)
  • كيف حالك؟ – How are you? male (Keyfa Haluk) female (keyfa haluki)
  • مع السلامة –Goodbye (ma’asalama)
  • ما اسمك؟ – What’s your name? male (mā ismuka) female (mā ismuki)
  • … اسمي – My name is.. (ismii)
  • من أين أنت؟ – Where are you from? male (min ayna anta?) female (min ayna anti?)

Arab speakers have many dialects and normally they can talk  quickly so if you have any doubt say:

  • أسف – Sorry (male – asif/ female – asifa): Remember, if you are male you say asif if you are female you say asifa.
  • لا أفهم– I don’t understand (la afham)
  • تكلم ببطء من فضلك – Please speak slowly ( akalam bibta min fadlak): Use fadlak if you are talking to a man and fadlik if you aretalking to a woman.
  • ؟ الانجليزية  اللغة تتكلم هل  – Can you speak English? (hal tatakallum al-luga al-engleezia)

We do not forget in this guide the most important words:

  • لا –No (la)
  • نعم – Yes (naam):
  • من فضلك – Please (min fadlak/lik): Again the two endings rely on the gender of the person being spoken to. “lik” is the ending for a female.
  • شكرا – Thank You (shukran)
  • ألعفو –You’re welcome (afwan)

Business in Middles East means movement and could be difficult without knowing how to ask directions:

  • عين؟– Where? (ayna)
  • يمين– Right (yameen)
  • يسار– Left (yasaar)
  • على التول – Straight on (ala tuul)

Finally and the last and a key

Markets or Zouk are  part of life in any Arab speaking country, to initiate the customary haggling to get you a good price this little word is your conversation starter:

  • بكم هذا؟ /بكم هذه؟ – How much is that? (bi kam hada/hadihi?)

but of course you should study the numbers…


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