Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Farsi, English, Hindi and Urdu are spoken by the various immigrant groups. The official language of trade is, of course, also Arabic, but English is so widespread and established that one can trade for years without speaking a single word of Arabic. Most road signs, shop names and, for example, restaurant menus are bilingual.
Photo: Sergio, public domain
Some pronunciation rules of Arabic:
- all letters are spoken
-a "means that a letter is pronounced very briefly
-the r is a rolling r
-the y is pronounced sj
-the sh is pronounced sj
-the gh is pronounced like a brew-r or French r
-the kh is pronounced a hard g
Arabic names have a formalized structure that traditionally identifies family and tribe. Names usually come from an important person in the Quran or from a tribe name. Following is the word 'bin' (son of) for a boy and 'bint' (daughter of) for a girl, followed by the name of the child's father. The last part of the name gives an indication of the tribe name or the family name. Important families have the word 'Al', which means 'the', before it. For example, the president of the United Arab Emirates is fully called 'Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan'. Abu Dhabi means 'father of the gazelle'.
BBC - Country Profiles
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