Whether you have been in Qatar for a long time, or are a newcomer, knowing some common slang words will help you join in conversations with your host. After some practice, you will be dropping these words like a pro.
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You will also increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation when you engage in conversations with native speakers.
Talk Like a Native
Just like in most languages, there are slang and commonly used words that come up in daily conversations. Let’s look at some of these terms:
1. Shukran means “thank you.”
Formal term: Shukran jazeelan
Male form: mashkoor
Female form: mashkoora
2. Afwan means “you’re welcome.”
Alternate: al afu
3. Yalla means “let’s go” or “hurry up.” When the speaker is excited or wants the other person to hurry up, yalla can be said quickly.
4. Mashallah translates to “what God wills.” It can also be used as a compliment.
5. Madri means “I don’t know.”
Alternate: Ma arf
6. Min fadlick is used to say “please.”
Alternate: lo samaht, which also means “excuse me.” Use this phrase when someone is blocking your way.
Male form: min fadlick
Female form: min fadlich
7. Cam or cham is the term used when buying something. Furthermore, chamhai means “how much is this?” When you want to ask the price of a particular item, ask the vendor: chamhai?
8. Salam Alaikum is the universal way of saying hello. It is a formal way of greeting.
Alternate: hala, is a perfect way of saying hello to a close friend. It is an informal greeting.
9. Khalas is suited when the discussion is headed to an end. You can use this word to say “enough!”
10. Ma’assalama means “goodbye.” Say this to part with someone on good terms. It is a polite and respectful way to say goodbye.
Don’t be pressured if you can’t memorize these words quickly. After all, most people in Qatar can speak English. But it would be good to know the terms in case they come up in conversations.
Culture and Etiquette
Once you have learned some basic Arabic words, it will also help to be familiar with the culture in the country. You can keep up with the locals when you know the following:
- Shariah Law is observed, which means that alcohol, consuming pork, and watching pornography are not allowed.
- Expats should dress appropriately. Women should cover their shoulders, upper arms, and knees.
- Qataris prefer to deal with people they are familiar with. They also like to socialize with other nationalities but will take some time to do so.
- Religion and politics are sensitive topics. The locals do not appreciate hearing criticisms about their Emir.
- Government offices and banks work shorter hours. They are mostly closed between 1 to 4 PM. Check the office hours beforehand if you want to conduct business elsewhere.
- During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke between sunrise and sunset. Non-Muslims are also not expected to eat during these times,
- Liquor consumption is controlled. It should not be taken in public. Non-Muslims need a liquor license to buy alcohol.