I am in Oman and Arabic is the key language here. Though I am an Indian, I wanted to learn Arabic in Khasab Musandam (where I stay). And learning has helped a lot. I can interact with my neighbours and talk to shopkeepers.
If you have plans of visiting Oman or Dubai in the near future you can learn a few things that can make your journey pleasurable.
1. Say hello — If you want to greet someone and say a simple hi you should say – ‘as-salaamu-alaykum.
This means that you are trying to say that peace be upon you. You can also say ‘ahlan-wa-sahlan’ if you want to say hi. But this is a more informal way of saying hi.
When someone says ‘as-salaamu-alaykum you reply with – wa ‘alaykum ‘as-salaam – which means ; and peace be upon you.
2. Ask his/her name — After you greet someone, the next you want to do is ask his/her name. So, you say – maa ismuka (if it’s a guy) or maa ismuki (if it’s a girl).
In return to this if he/she asks your name you say – ismii charu (or whatever your name is). Ismii charu means ‘my name is charu’.
3. If you want to ask someone about his/her health you say – kayf haalak? (how is your health). In return the person should say – al-Hamdu li-llah (pronounced as al hamdul illah) which means I am fine or praise to God.
4. Say thank you – Shukran is the Arabic word for saying thank you.
5. Nice to meet you – Tasharrafnaa is the Arabic word for saying – it’s a pleasure to meet you).
6. If you want to ask someone which country he/she belongs to you say – min ‘ayna anta? (for men); min ‘ayna anti? (for women).
But if you want to tell which country you belong to you say – anaa (me) min Hind which means ‘I am from India.’
7. Say goodbye – There are several words to say goodbye:
a) ma’a as-salaama (pronounced as ma-a ass-sa-laa-ma) which means go with peace or goodbye.
b) ‘ilaa al-liqaa’ (pronounced as ee-laa al-li-kaa) which means ‘until next time.
c) ‘ilaa al-ghad (pronounced as ee-laa al-gad) which means ‘see you tomorrow.’
These are simple Arabic phrases that can help you interact with Arabic people and make traveling easy to the Middle East.