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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Can you say that in Arabic?

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Hands down, one the most common resolutions expats make upon moving to Qatar is learning the native language, Arabic. 

And hands down, it is one of the fastest goals to fall by the wayside.

There are a lot of legitimate excuses. The fact that almost everybody speaks (some version) of English is a top one. Why learn Arabic if we never have to use it here?

Then there’s also the difficulty factor. Learning Arabic is hard.

One commentator in a recent Gulf News op-ed elaborates:

Having lived and worked in the Gulf for so many years, it’s a real shame if our understanding of the Arabs doesn’t go beyond shawarma (Arabic sandwich wrap), shisha (hubble-bubble or hookah) and shopping malls…

Arabic is not just an ancient, rich language, it is easily the most complex and nuanced one I’ve ever come across. Every new lesson has been humbling, illuminating the distant boundaries of my infinite ignorance…

It is a shame then like so many great languages from the East, Arabic has been in a steady decline. As much as I love Queen’s English, I have to say this: The growth of English as global lingua franca has come at the expense of great languages like Arabic…

Languages are part of our collective heritage and a testament to and chronicle of mankind’s long journey. They must not be allowed to die, especially not by those who have inherited it and are born with it. Especially not a divine language like Arabic.

What do you guys think?

Do you wish you made good on that resolution to learn Arabic? Or have you already? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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