You Say Giraffe, I Say Zarafa
A word in one language that sounds similar in another language is often a loanword. Its journey can pass through several languages, further modifying the pronunciation until it reaches your language. Have you sat on a sofa and put sugar in your coffee? The italicized words originate in Arabic and are transliterated suffa, sukkar, and qahwa.
This ancient language continues to evolve and claims the #5 ranking as one of world’s ten most powerful languages.
Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and nearly two dozen other nations, and continues to grow in importance in today’s global business society. Throughout the world, 295 million people are native speakers of the language, which is written from right to left.
What opportunities can speaking and understanding Arabic provide companies and their employees? According to the World Economic Forum’s Power Language Index, Arabic’s strong ranking stems from the number of countries in which it is spoken, its high number of native speakers, and its important use in diplomacy and world affairs. Good reasons to power up your first impression.
Over the last few decades, the UAE emerged as a major Middle East economic center and continues to provide business, trading, and tourism opportunities.
These key phrases and business protocol tips help to convey respect in Arabic-speaking nations:
- People commonly exchange business cards and shake hands in business situations. Out of respect Muslim men will forgo the handshake and place their right hand over their heart as a greeting gesture.
- “.Huna Heya Bitaqati” is how to say “Here is my card.” (Remember, right to left.)
- Locals commonly touch cheeks in greeting between the same sex, but foreigners are expected to adopt the local custom when it comes to greetings.
- To identify your company, “I work for ______.” is pronounced“. ______ Ana Amalo Fi”
- In conversation with Arabic speakers, “Mr.” or “Mrs.” followed by a person’s first name is a sign of courtesy.
Planning to do business in the UAE and other Arabic-speaking nations? Sign in to a free two-week trial of GlobeSmart® from Aperian Global, using the promo code INTROIQ. This online resource helps improve your effectiveness in many multilingual and strategic global settings.
Visit again next week when we will reveal the #4 most powerful language in the world.