Do I need to learn Arabic to teach in Qatar?

Written by Qatar Teach


The Arabic language is a Semitic language. It is spoken in many countries including: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco to name just a few. However it is the fact that as Qatar is an Arabic speaking country, would a teacher moving from the UK to Qatar need to learn the language. 

Here I will go into the details of what the Arabic language is and whether you need to learn it or not. 

Language families

Arabic is a semitic language, meaning that it belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family. The Afro-Asiatic language family includes Arabic, Berber languages (spoken mainly in Morocco), Chadic languages (spoken in Chad), Egyptian languages (spoken in Egypt), Hamitic languages (spoken mainly in Eritrea), Hebrew and Old Persian or Farsi (both spoken in Iran).

Arabic dialects

Arabic is a language that has over 300 million native speakers, as well as many more who speak it as a second language. As such, there are several different dialects of the Arabic language. While some may seem very different from others, all dialects are mutually intelligible—that is to say, everyone who speaks one can understand someone else who speaks another (though they may not necessarily be able to speak it themselves).

The most widely spoken dialect of Arabic is Modern Standard Arabic or MSA. This is used in official situations and formal settings like writing or teaching; however, it’s not the only kind of formalized Arabic you’ll encounter while living in Qatar or working with those from Qatar. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Al Jazeera or have kept up with news coming out of the Middle East since 2011, you might have noticed that people on TV often speak a slightly different-sounding version called Classical Arabic (CA). Some speakers use CA when they want their speech to sound older and more traditional; others do so because they are simply comfortable using both languages interchangeably without giving much thought about whether one sounds more natural than another. Sometimes people will use CA when speaking formally with their relatives but then switch back to MSA when talking informally with friends—this happens especially often among close friends who grew up together and now live far apart from each other in other countries around the world!

Arabic vocabulary

Arabic is a very rich language. It has a lot of words that have multiple meanings and connotations. This makes it difficult to understand the meaning of some words without knowing the context they are used in. In addition, Arabic has many synonyms; there are many similar sounding words with different meanings.

For example, the word رضى (raḍī) can mean “to be happy” or “to please” depending on how it is used in a sentence. If you want to say that someone is happy, you would use this word: انه رضيت الناس بالفعل**(anh raḍīat al-nās bi al-fi’l). To say that one thing pleases another person or thing requires another verb: انه يرضي محمد على الرفاهية**(inh yarḍīu muhammad ‘alā rifahiyyah).

Grammar in arabic

Arabic is a semitic language, meaning that it uses the Arabic alphabet. Arabic is written from right to left, which can be confusing for those who are used to European languages that are written from left to right.

You may have learned about triliteral roots or consonant patterns in elementary school—these are also important when learning how to read and write Arabic (especially if you want to sound native).

When learning how to read and write in any language, including Arabic, it’s helpful to know what types of words take endings on their endings so that you know where your sentence should end. In English we have articles (a/an/the), prepositions (to/of), and verbs ending with “-ed” or “-ing.” However in an inflected language such as French or Latin these things don’t exist; you’ll see them only when they’re needed by context clues or derivations from other parts of speech.

Transliterated arabic vs non-transliterated arabic

There are two ways to learn Arabic. The first, transliterated Arabic, is the way it’s written in textbooks and dictionaries. The second, non-transliterated Arabic, is the way it’s spoken by native speakers of the language. Transliterated means that you’re learning how to read and write the language—you’re not learning how to speak it. Non-transliterated means that you’re learning how people actually speak (or at least attempting to).

Both types of lessons are important if you want a solid foundation in Arabic; however, they do differ slightly in their specific goals and objectives:

  • Transliterated lessons focus on helping students master reading skills (and sometimes writing) while practicing simple phrases and sentences at their own pace. These courses are usually taught online using audio files as well as software programs like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur; this method effectively teaches beginners how to pronounce words correctly without having them rely on any particular country’s dialect when speaking out loud! For example: “I am here” would be pronounced “Ana hawayya”. This type of lesson can be very helpful if your goal is simply understanding what someone else says when talking about yourself…or even just figuring out where things are located around town!
  • Non-transliterated lessons focus on teaching students about different dialects within each country which might make them harder for foreigners who aren’t familiar with those particular pronunciations yet (especially since we tend not hear ourselves saying anything until after we’ve already said it). This method also includes phrases used only by certain communities within each country so these may vary significantly depending upon where

The complexity of the Arabic language makes it a challenge to learn.

Arabic is a language that is rich in culture, history and complexity. The Arabic dialects are varied and include both spoken and written forms. Learning Arabic can be challenging because there are many variations of the language that are used in different countries around the world.

The Quran is written in Arabic, so it is important for teachers who teach Islamic studies to have some knowledge of this language. Many students from Muslim countries may be familiar with some vocabulary from their home country; however, this does not mean that they will understand everything you say or write on your lesson plans.

Do I need to learn Arabic?

The actual answer to this is ‘No’. However, I think if the question was “Should I learn Arabic?” Then the answer to that would have to be Yes! 

The reason why you don’t necessarily need to learn Arabic is because the majority of people living in Qatar are not actually Arabic speaking people. Most people either come from the South-Asian continent and if you were communicating with them, you would do that in English. The other majority group would be Europeans, who again would be speaking English. On the whole, the service industry would be speaking English.

But you should learn it because it is a beautiful language and there will be times when a little Arabic will come in handy. If you are going to be meeting with the locals or if you want to get involved in Qatar’s culture, then it would be a good idea to learn some of the language.


Arabic is a challenging language, but it is well worth the effort to learn. However, you don’t necessarily need to learn Arabic in Qatar, but being able to speak with the locals would be something the locals and yourself would really enjoy. 

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