Emirati Arabic

Dialect Vocabulary Grammar بالإماراتي شو يقولون

There is considerable overlap with Gulf Arabic (Khaliji, خليجي or al Lahgah al Haligiyyah, اللهجة الخليجية) the dialect of Arabic “spoken” around the shores of the Arabian Gulf.

Arabic, while spoken as the first language in over twenty countries, has a number of rather distinct dialects (colloquially-speaking). It is possible to write colloquially in a given dialect, however spell-checkers would flag everything as being incorrect.

In Emirati Arabic, how do you say “…”?
bil-Emirati shoe yagooloown “…”?
…بالإماراتي شو يقولون

These numerals are often used when transliterating Emirati dialect:

2     aa ( alif )
3     ‘a ( ‘ain )
4     th ( ث )
5     kh ( خ )
6     t ( ط )
7     h ( for ح not هاء )
8     ( ق )
9     ( ص )

e.g. I am tired = ana t3b2n2 = انا تعبانة

Arabic verbs (فعل fiʻl; pl. أفعال afʻāl), are usually based on a set of three consonants called the root. The root provides us with the basic meaning of the verb, e.g. q—r—aʼ (“to read”), k—t—b (“to write”), q—aʼ—l (“to say”). This is illustrated below with the verb: “to write”

The Arabic root system

Changes to the vowels in between the root consonants, along with prefixes and/or suffixes, specify: exact meaning along with grammatical functions that inter alia include: person, gender, number, tense (زمان zamān), mood (حالة ḥālah), and voice (صيغة ṣīghah).

While many of the verb forms &c. (see below) have some reference/relevance to that of the root in terms of meaning, it is not always very direct.

Form Past Meaning Non-past Meaning
I kataba ‘he wrote’ yaktubu ‘he writes’
II kattaba ‘he made (someone) write’ yukattibu ‘he makes (someone) write’
III kātaba ‘he corresponded with, wrote to (someone)’ yukātibu ‘”he corresponds with, writes to (someone)’
IV ʼaktaba ‘he dictated’ yuktibu ‘he dictates’
V takattaba yatakattabu
VI takātaba ‘he corresponded (with someone, esp. mutually)’ yatakātabu ‘he corresponds (with someone, esp. mutually)’
VII inkataba ‘he subscribed’ yankatibu ‘he subscribes’
VIII iktataba ‘he copied’ yaktatibu ‘he copies’
IX iḥmarra yaḥmarru
X istaktaba ‘he asked (someone) to write’ yastaktibu ‘he asks (someone) to write’


Example: the verb “to write” (Form I)

Tense/Mood Past Present
Future Imperative
1st katáb-t á-ktib bá-ktib ḥá-ktib
2nd masculine katáb-t tí-ktib bi-tí-ktib ḥa-tí-ktib í-ktib
feminine katáb-ti ti-ktíb-i bi-ti-ktíb-i ḥa-ti-ktíb-i i-ktíb-i
3rd masculine kátab yí-ktib bi-yí-ktib ḥa-yí-ktib
feminine kátab-it tí-ktib bi-tí-ktib ḥa-tí-ktib
1st katáb-na ní-ktib bi-ní-ktib ḥá-ní-ktib
2nd katáb-tu ti-ktíb-u bi-ti-ktíb-u ḥa-ti-ktíb-u i-ktíb-u
3rd kátab-u yi-ktíb-u bi-yi-ktíb-u ḥa-yi-ktíb-u