The UAE is not just about tall buildings and modern skyscrapers. It is also a rich host of cultural places that boast stories and experiences, transcending time and people. That is why the UAE has been tagged as one of the most visited countries in the world, projecting to gather 20 million visitors by 2020.

Here are 7 historic places that you should never miss when visiting the UAE:

1. Qasr Al Muwaiji (Abu Dhabi)

One of the most historic places in the UAE is the birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The place has been preserved by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. It also gives a picture of the lifestyle of the common folks before the country became what it is today.

2. Heritage Village (Dubai)

Built in 1997, the Heritage Village in Al Shindagah transports you back in time. Complete with photos and other displays, visitors are given the seamless view of old traditions and customs then and now.

3. Al Bithnah Fort (Fujairah)

Al Bithnah Fort is one of the oldest surviving forts with its long history of wars and battles that took place around the 18th and 19th century in the Middle East. It links to Central UAE and the Arabian Gulf from the East Coast city, and Emirate of Fujairah.

4. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization (Sharjah)

The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization keeps thousands of timeless artifacts showcasing the achievements of Islam throughout the years. It is a home to extensive historic collections that describe different aspects of Islamic faith, science, art and culture.

5. Dhow Yard (Ajman)

The UAE’s earliest sources of livelihood include fishing and pearl diving. Replicas and designs of old ships can be seen at Ajman’s Dhow Yard. It displays antique hand-built Arab sailing vessels and different types of traditional boats.

6. Umm Al Quwain Museum (Umm Al Quwain)

Umm Al Quwain, similar to Fujairah, also has forts to guard the entrance to the old town. The old fort located in Umm Al Quwain has been renovated and now houses several artifacts including relics from the excavated site Al Dur, which was a coastal city from 200 BCE to the third century CE.

7. Al Jazeera Al Hamra (Ras Al Khaimah)

The UAE’s geographical proximity to the Gulf meant that its people lived in coastal villages, especially those living in Ras Al Khaimah back in the day. Al Jazeera Al Hamra, also known as the Red Island, is one of the UAE’s coastal areas filled with beautiful historic forts, mosques, traditional schools and souqs that reflect the traditional Emirati lifestyle.

Tour these places with your Arabic skills. Learn the language in just 3 weeks with our Express Courses.


Speak to any Singaporean, and you will find a bit overwhelmed by words like “lahs”, “mahs” and “mehs”. Such language is called Singlish, a colloquial form of English that is familiar to Singaporeans everywhere in the world. Its features are unique and highlight Singapore’s multicultural demographic.

What is Singlish?

Singapore is a cosmopolitan melting pot of races. The Chinese, Malays and Indians, descendants of immigrants who arrived from China, the Malay Archipelago, and India comprise the majority of the population. Standard English is among the four official languages spoken in the country, owing to its British colonial past. The others, of course, are Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil.

Singapore’s cultural diversity has resulted in an informal, localized form of English. Singaporeans of all races infuse Standard English with the vocabulary of the languages they speak. They sprinkle it with Chinese, Hokkien and Malay phrases. The sentence structure of Singlish bears their influence as well.

5 Unique Features of Singlish

Singlish is a one-of-a-kind language, and its characteristics may require some explanation. Here are five which will tell a listener that a Singaporean is speaking.

1. Functional Particles
Singaporeans are heavy users of pragmatic particles. These are words borrowed from mostly Southern Chinese dialects, notably Hokkien. They serve different, practical purposes. The most common ones are “ah” (to indicate uncertainty), “lah” (to make an assertion or statement), “hah” or “mah” (to ask questions), Singlish speakers may end their sentences with “what” to contradict their conversation partners.

Examples of these sentences are:
a. Her dress is too short lah ( being assertive)
b. Take this away, hah? (asking a question)
c. The first door to the left ah? (indicating uncertainty)
d. Mary was the one who brought the food to you, mah? (asking a question for clarity or confirmation) .

2. Verb Groups with No Subjects
Singaporeans do not express the subjects of sentences when others can infer them. This habit stems, in large part, from the use of shortened Mandarin sentences. The Inferred or retrievable sentence subjects are in parenthesis. Examples of this are:

a. “(You) Go to airport,” from the Chinese sentence, “qu ji chang

b. “(I)Still got headache”, from the Chinese phrase “hai tou tong
c. “Don’t want lah”, from the Chinese phrase “bu yao

3. Conditional Clauses without a Subordinating Conjunction
You will find that a Singlish speaker often eliminates conjunctions such as “if” or “when” in sentences. These would be necessary when speaking Standard English. The missing words are in parenthesis. Some instances of these are:

a. You sit there, then where I sit? (if)
b. Shout again, I go (if)
c. I stand here, can hear also (if)

4. Missing Verbs
Singlish users remove the verb “to be” from sentences. This language habit is another derived from contracted Chinese phrases. The missing verbs are in parenthesis. Examples are:

a. “She scared. (is)”, translated from the Chinese phrase, “ta pa”

b. “Today, I going shopping (am)”, translated from the Chinese sentence “Jing tian wo qu guang jie.”
c. “Your book there (is)”, translated from the Chinese sentence “Ni de shu zai na

5. Vocabulary from other languages
Singlish borrows words from other languages, particularly Malay and Chinese. These words have specific functions. Some instances of borrowed vocabulary include:

a. Alamak, a Malay word to indicate dismay or surprise e.g. “Alamak! I already late!”
b. Sian, a Chinese word that shows a speaker’s boredom e.g. “This lecture is so sian.”
c. Susah, A Malay word for “useless.” e.g. “Fixing that spoilt car, susah lah”

The Great Singlish Debate

A perennial debate exists in Singapore over the use of Singlish, and it stresses the complex language environment of the country.

Code mixing or the merging of vocabulary from different languages is seen as an unacceptable norm in Singapore. The government discourages Singlish in the mass media and schools, viewing it as a non-standard, pidgin language that people from other countries find hard to understand.

To encourage the use of Standard English, it has introduced the Speak Good English Movement. It favors the use of Standard Mandarin as well. As such, Singlish does not have an official dictionary. Its proponents suggest that it emphasizes Singapore’s cultural diversity. They argue that it is an integral part of people’s lives, and is a hallmark of Singapore’s culture. This local language allows Singaporeans to identify with each other, even on foreign soil.

Eradicating Singlish is impossible regardless of the contention; its unique features make it an important part of Singapore’s national identity.  Despite its controversial nature, Singlish is here to stay!

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Being able to speak, read and write swiftly and smoothly is what defines being fluent in a language. Theoretically speaking, fluency is an essential part of the whole process of language learning and is almost always a top priority for learners. Sociologists stress the significance of the first few seconds when building social ties – our fluency, therefore, can make or break potential friendships or business deals.

To build and improve your language fluency, here are 15 very effective tips to get you on your way:

1.  Perfect Your Pronunciation

Good pronunciation is essentially the most important element for speaking and understanding a language. The more you practice, the better your pronunciation will become over time. After all, practice makes better!

Tip: Watch foreign movies with subtitles to listen and understand the pronunciation of words & phrases as spoken by a native speaker!

2.   Select Words Carefully

When speaking, your choice of vocabulary impacts the message, its context, and its pronunciation. Choosing words you’re comfortable with when conversing will help improve your language proficiency. Therefore, try to select each word carefully and deliberately, keeping the message of your sentence in mind.

3.   Read

Expanding your vocabulary improves your articulation and language fluency. When you understand how sentences are structured, speaking is not as challenging as it may seem. Additionally, learning new words is fairly easy! You can start the process by simply learning the foreign language words of things or places that are part of your daily life and ease into the language.

Tip: Paired reading with an experienced reader helps a lot!

4.   Write

The more you write, the better you comprehend and the more fluent you become. Writing will help you understand and become familiar with the language. Don’t forget that fluency comes through practice, and writing is a key part of learning a language thoroughly.

5.   Listen, Listen, Listen

…and listen some more! The more you listen to the language you are learning, the more familiar you become about using appropriate words according to the situation you’re in.

6.   Practice Long Speeches

Using long speeches and recording them at the same time will enable you to gauge fluency in the language you are learning and come back to it at a later time for review. This also improves confidence while communicating in the language you are learning.

7.   Examine Unique Characteristics of the Language

Each language has various unique features about it. Unlocking these is crucial to being a fluent language speaker because it allows you to be aware of where and how to put stress in a sentence or a word, especially as these nuances differ from language to language, and from culture to culture.

8. Look for a Language Buddy

One of the fastest routes to fluency is finding a language exchange partner.  Your language buddy can be a native speaker or your classmate. Collaborating with them will help build confidence in learning the language. Simple corrections on pronunciation, sentence structure and vocabulary can be noted and corrected to help you improve and become a fluent speaker.

9. Communicate with Yourself

It may feel a little strange but communicating with yourself can help in evaluating if the tips are working or not. Self-directed learning helps you evaluate your own skills and make corrections prior to venturing into a formal or professional communication.

Tip: Read out loud to improve verbal fluency.

10. Travel

Although this may be a costly option, but traveling to areas where your target language is spoken gives a different take on learning the language. For example, roaming the streets of Venice or keeping up with fast-paced Tokyo will enrich your Italian and Japanese learning experience in more ways than one.

11. Using Technology to Assist Learning

Technology is a valuable tool in achieving foreign language fluency today. Whether it’s a phone application with audio tutorials to practice your pronunciation or interactive resources & games to enhance your vocabulary, technology is essential for learning a foreign language today.

12. Imitate other Fluent Speakers

If you’re not sure how to pronounce a word, observing native or fluent speakers can be a great guide. Imitating them and learning from their mannerisms will help you become proficient as well as motivate you to learn more.

13. Learn in a Classroom

Classrooms are considered to be an effective learning environment for students across the world. Language fluency can also be improved by actively participating in the classroom, and practicing the accent and pronunciation of words and phrases. Additionally, conversations among peers in the classroom help develop your skills further.

14. Learn through Music

Music and learning go hand in hand and can be an effective tool for learning a foreign language. Songs are a unique way of memorizing language concepts, pronunciation and structure. A learner is more likely to retain and memorize a language by singing a song rather than by just speaking the words or sentences as part of routine practice.

15. Good Grammar

G…for Good Grammar! It’s no secret that grammar improves the development of fluency. When you learn the grammar structure of a language, organizing and expressing ideas in your mind will enable you to become a fluent and proficient speaker of the language.

It takes time to be fluent in a language you are learning. However, with the right amount of commitment and focus on practicing more every day, you can be a fluent speaker in no time. Remember better fluency leads to greater understanding.

Add these handy tips to your day-to-day language learning and start learning a foreign language today!


The Arabic language is classified into three different forms: Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and Dialectal (Colloquial) Arabic.

Classical Arabic (CA) or Quranic Arabic is more common in literature and writing. It is the language used in the Holy Quran as well as ancient literary texts from the 7th century AD to the 9th century AD. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) fuS-Ha; فصحى is the “official” Arabic taught in schools and universities, used in books, magazines, media, legal documents, etc. MSA is the standard form of Arabic that nearly all native speakers uniformly understand. It is the language of writing and formal speaking. Dialectal Arabic, on the other hand, is the informal language that Arabs use to communicate in their daily lives. The basics of the language are fundamentally the same, yet Arabic dialects are not mutually intelligible because each Arab country has its own dialect. Let’s look at how 5 unique dialects differ from around the Arab world.


Of all dialects, Egyptian, or Masri is by far the most widely used and understood Arabic dialect across the majority of the Arab-speaking nations. Masri is comprehensible for many Arabs due to the huge influence and historical presence of Egyptian media industry; be it music, movies or drama. Egypt has dominated the Arab cinema from as early as the mid 1920’s spreading its films and dramas extensively across the Arab countries. That explains why most Arabs are to a large extent familiar with the dialect! There are also historical influences on the dialect by languages such as French, Italian, Turkish and Greek. Below are some examples:      

aywa – أيوا – Yes

la mu-akhza – لا مؤاخذة – Excuse me 

ezzayyak? – إزيك  (m) ; ezzayyek? – إزيك  (f) – How are you? 

kowayyes, shukran – ًكويس شكرا (m) kowayyesa, shukran – ًكويسة شكرا (f) – I’m doing good, thanks!

Haseb – حاسب  (m) ; Hasbi – حاسبي  (f) – Look out!

kiteer – كتير – A lot 

:Eeyal – عيال – Kids

merci awi – مرسي أوي – Thank you very much! 

Note: Shukran is used in all Arabic dialects; however, merci (borrowed from French) in Egypt is more common.


The Emirati Arabic dialect or Al Ramsa Al Emaratia is a branch of the Gulf dialects family spoken in the United Arab Emirates. Languages including Farsi (Persian), Urdu, Indian and English all had a linguistic influence over the years on the Gulf dialects, including Emirati. With that being said, there are a lot of words borrowed from Farsi (Persian), Urdu and Hindi, including “khashugah”, meaning spoon (originally came from Persian) and the word “seeda” taken from Urdu, which means straight (for direction).

Here are a few words and phrases in the Emirati dialect that you can practice pronouncing:

heh – هيه – Yes

kaif Halak? –  كيف حالك؟ (m) ; kaif Halich? –  كيف حالج؟ (f) – How are you? 

zayn – زين (m) ; zayna – زينة (f)  – I’m Okay

wayed – وايد – A lot

Tarrish – طرّش – Send

abaa – أبا – I want

ilHeen – الحين – Now

yahal – جهال – Kids (j is pronounced y)


There are three main ethnic groups in Iraq: Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. The dominant ethnic group is, however the Arabs. From Mesopotamia to the Ottoman Empire, Iraq’s history and multicultural inheritance heavily influenced its spoken dialect. Hence, there are extensive borrowings from the Turkish and Persian languages. On the contrary, it is also closely linked to the Khaleeji (Gulf) dialect, but it has its own distinct vocabulary. Iraq is the only country that uses anee; أني for I (first person). The rest of the Arab countries use ana; أنا. Pick up on some common words and phrases unique to the Iraqi dialect from the list below:

hallaw – هلاو – Hi

eey– اي – Yes

shaku maku? – شكو ماكو؟ – What’s up?

hessa – هسة – Now

howaya – هواية – A lot

areed – أريد – I want

shwakit – شوكت – When? 

jahal – جهال – Kids


The Lebanese dialect is a branch of the Levantine Arabic spoken in Lebanon. It is somewhat comparable to the Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian Arabic dialects spoken in the rest of the Levant region. Despite the regional dialect similarities, the Lebanese dialect closely resembles the Syrian dialect for the most part. Many Lebanese people are trilingual; fluent in Arabic, French and English. The dialect is so unique due to the multilingualism in the country. People tend to mix the three languages when speaking. If you hear a Lebanese person speaking, you’ll most likely hear some French words and phrases! For e.g. bonjour (good morning), bonsoir (good evening) and bonne nuit (good night) are very commonly used. Let’s look at how the dialect is different:

kifak? (m) – كيفك؟ ; kifik? (f) – كيفيك؟  – How are you? 

mneeH (m) – منيح ; mneeHa (f)  – منيحة – Good 

eza bit reed (m) – إذا بتريد  ; eza bet reedeh (f) – إذا بتريدي – Please

:an jad? – عن جد؟ – Really? 

yemkin – يمكن – Maybe/Perhaps

pardon – باردون – Excuse me

oo:aa – اوعى – Look out!


Some dialects might be harder to understand; Moroccan, a North African dialect is known to be extremely different from other Arabic varieties. It has moderate phonological compatibility compared to other dialects. The spoken dialect is still considered Arabic, but with a strong Berber (a branch of the Afroasiatic language family)French and Spanish influence. Generally, Moroccans tend to find it easier to converse in French when communicating with others.

:aafak – عافاك – Please

iyyeh – إييه – Yes

bezzaf – بزاف – A lot

wakha – واخا – Okay

Bghit – بغيت – I want

Mezyan – مزيان – Good

Daba – دابا – Now

The question remains, can all Arabs understand each other? The answer is: it depends. However, I’d definitely say that all Arabs can understand one another, more or less. At the end of the day, “continuum understanding” plays a big role. Although communicating in one’s own dialect is ideal, yet I sometimes feel the need to ‘adjust’ my spoken Arabic with speakers of a different dialect. In fact, the majority of Arabs are somehow able to manipulate the way they speak – thanks to pan-regional TV channels and programs, of course.

Want to learn Arabic? Choose from one of the many Arabic dialects or learn MSA to be widely understood.


Learning a new language has proven to have various benefits time and again. More so than it has any disadvantage. From the biological part of training your brain and improving memory, to helping in landing a job abroad, being multilingual opens many doors to many far stretched opportunities. Aside from this, learning a new language also has its benefits when it comes to travelling. In fact, knowing the language of the country you’ll be visiting can positively impact the trip as a whole!

Here are a few points to back up how learning a language improves travel experience:

1. Makes Getting Around Easier

Learning the basics of the local language will help you get around places and make travel so much easier, turning it into a fun and memorable experience. It can be of great help, whether it’s for reading signs or asking directions – it saves you from the likelihood of getting lost in a foreign country. Apart from that, knowing phrases and words in the local language enables you to confidently order food in a restaurant, check into a hotel and better yet negotiate a cheaper price at the market!

.. And remember that you don’t have to be fluent,  you just need enough to get by.

Planning a trip to Japan? Use these 12 common Japanese words and phrases to help you start a conversation.

2. Understanding A Different Culture

No amount of research or watching documentaries or reading travel diaries will give the raw knowledge of a culture that would be gained from seeing it with one’s own eyes. Isn’t that one of the obvious underlying reasons for travelling in the first place? To see, hear, experience and create memories that bring happiness upon reminiscence, which will provide a sense of learning and self-growth that no amount of books can give.

Knowing the native language is probably the best way to have a richer, more personal experience with the native cultures. Why? Because the heart of a culture lies in the hands of the locals and the events and beliefs they maintain. The most effective way to communicate with a local person in their own country is in their native language. They’ll surely appreciate the effort you’re putting in to talk to them.

3. Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas

This goes back to learning about the local culture. With learning culture comes learning behaviors and a level of appropriateness in that culture. This helps in not making any big mistakes that might potentially bring in trouble, or doing something that is considered disrespectful. Knowing the language means you have taken the time to learn a place’s traditions and culture, and a language reflects a lot about the societal colors of its native speakers. Ultimately, it could just save you from an ever itching memory of embarrassment.

4. Creates New Connections

First and foremost, travelling introduces a lot of diversity. The experiences of such diversity lie within the people and their actions more than the place itself. Getting to know the native people that you might never again come across holds an excitement that just can’t be missed. Making friends from a foreign land, isn’t that a pride for a traveller? Having connections with a variety of people from a land that’s not your own. What better way to have a genuine understanding of a person than by talking to them in their own language?

5. Exploring Local Spots

Your new language skills will allow you to have a local knowledge of the country you’ll be visiting. This will give you the best holiday if you want an authentic local experience. You’ll be using your new language to discover all the finest hidden places and attractions of your holiday destination (besides the touristy spots and landmarks, of course). There’s nothing like discovering a country’s national uniqueness and feeling the local traditions.

Have your skills in hand! Learn the language of your holiday destination by choosing from over 160+ languages offered.


The Training & Development Show ME 2016 had so much to offer, to visitors and exhibitors from unique learning methods, improved talent management solutions and many other strategic development variables.

Here are our 5 most prominent takeaways from the show:

1. Online & Blended Learning is the Latest Trend

It was easy to conclude through many seminars and keynotes that e-learning through videos and gamification is ‘in’! Showcasing our online learning partners, Learningonline.xyz, was delightful as they exhibit all the tools that makes e-learning a competitive and effective resource.

2. The Fun Zone: Where Theory Meets Practice


The Fun Zone was one of the most engaging and fun part of the show. Visitors had the opportunity to experience how theory is applied to real life learning and training through enjoyable games and activities, a novel way that engaged us as well!

From the Lego building group challenge to the ‘memory testing’ brain friendly activities (courtesy of us!), the Fun Zone truly lived up to its name.

3. Hot Topic: The Science of Learning for Employee Engagement

Engaging employees to achieve high productivity and profitability is a top priority for businesses across the globe. During the Training & Development Show, we had the opportunity to attend seminars and keynotes on topics such as the neuroscience of coaching, that showcased the science-based aspects of thorough mentoring to learning, and the tricks to transform the next-gen trainee into an motivated learner gave a glimpse into the many ways of scientifically engaging employees for the better.

Our seminar on Top 3 Ways to Make Learning Brain Friendly at the Workplace demonstrated how a few changes in training can make learning a lasting and truly enjoyable phenomenon

4. Spotlight: Employee Well-Being

It is no doubt that human capital is an irreplaceable resource for any organization; therefore an emphasis on employees’ well-being should be of utmost importance. The seminar on mitigating stress at the workplace through emotional intelligence was not just informative but also a practical method to improve the process of taking care of your employees, a simple yet often underrated gesture.

Also, the show saved the best for last! Dubai Drum’s de-stressing session was the perfect way to wrap up the two day event and an incredibly fun way to engage employees and enhance team collaboration

5. A Variety of Employee Development Options

Understanding employees and their needs is a key aspect of effective training and with exhibitors focusing on development through non-traditional methods such as improvised acting, drumming and learning a new language.


A sophisticated and poetic language that is closely related to the Hindi, Farsi and Arabic languages. Urdu is a member of the Indo-Aryan group within the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken as a first language by approximately 70 million people and as a second language by over 100 million people, mainly in Pakistan and some parts of India.

You’re probably thinking “but where else is Urdu spoken?” Well, guess what? It is also spoken by large communities in North America, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates!

Try to use the below 19 common words and phrases to introduce yourself to your Pakistani friends or your colleagues at work in Urdu.

1. Hello (general greeting)  asalam u alaikum – السلام عليكم

2. How are you? – aap kaisi hain (f) – آپ کیسی ہيں؟ – aap kaise hain (m) – آپ کيسے ہيں؟          

3. I’m good, thank you! And you?  – main theek hoon, shukriya! Aur app?  میں ٹھیک ہوں، شکریہ! اور آپ؟

4. What is your name? – aap ka naam kya hai? – آپ كا نام كيا ہے؟

5. My name is _______ – mera naam _______ hai – ميرا نام _______ ہے

6. Nice to meet you!  – aap se milker khushi huwi!  !آپ سَے ملکر خوشی ہوًی

7. How was your day? – aap ka din kaisa tha – آپ کا دِن کيسا تھا؟

8. What are you doing?  aap kya kar rahe hai – آپ کيا کررہے ہو؟

9. See you later – phir milain-gai – پھر مليں گے

10. Goodbye – khuda hafiz – خدا حافظ

11. Take care of yourself – apna khayal rakhna – اپنا خيال رکھنا

12. Do you speak English? – kya aap angrezi bolte hain? – كيا آپ انگريزی بولتے ہیں؟

13. Where are you from? – aap kahan sai hain – آپ کہاں سے ہیں؟

14. I’m from  __________  – main __________  sai hoon  ميں __________ سے ہوں

15. How old are you? – aap ki umr kya hai? – آپ کی عمر کيا ہے؟

16. I’m ___ years old – meri umr ___ saal hai – میری عمر ___ سال ہے

17. What is this? – yeh kya hai? – يہ کیا ہے؟

18. No – nahi – نہيں yes – ji – جى

19. Congratulations – mubarak ho – مبارک ہو

Why not choose to learn Urdu and dive into rich literature?


The below colloquial expressions are sure to come up in most everyday Arabic conversations. The literal translations will make you laugh out loud, but you’ve got to read on to know how each one is used.

1.  من عيوني

Transliteration: min ouyou-ni

Literal Translation: “from my eyes”

Dialect: all Arabic dialects

When someone asks you for a favor and you fulfill it out of kindness, you say ‘min oyouni’. In other words, it is the equivalent of ‘of course’, ‘my pleasure’ and ‘I’d do anything for you’. Surprise your Arab friends and text them ‘min 3youni’. If you’re wondering why number 3 replaced the ‘ou’ in ouyouni (my eyes), this is how the Arabic letter ع (:ain) is written in the Arabizi alphabet or the informal Arabic chat alphabet.

2. على راسي

Transliteration: ‘aa-la rasi

Literal Translation: “on my head”

Dialect: mostly Levantine (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine) but it is said in other Arabic dialects as well.

You’d say this phrase when you convey courtesy and respect for someone i.e., when you hold a person in high regard.

…It’s kinda like “I’d do anything for you”.

3. فولة وانقسمت نصين

Transliteration: foo-la wu-enasamet nouss-een

Literal Translation: “a peanut split into two”

Dialect: Egyptian

Any two things that are exactly identical. For e.g., you can say it if you see two people who resemble each other (so much!). Talking about ‘looks’ here.

4. كلامك عسل على قلبي

Transliteration: kalamak ‘aa-sal ‘aa-la galbi

Literal Translation: “your words are honey on my heart”

Dialect: all Arabic dialects

Conveys what’s been said to you is genuinely sweet. This one can be a flirting phrase for your special someone too, *wink wink*.

Hint: kalamak (m) ; kalamik (f)

5. دمه خفيف

Transliteration: damah khafeef

Literal Translation: “his blood is light”

Dialect: all dialects

You’d say this phrase to someone who’s adorable, sweet and likeable.

Hint: damah (m) ; dam-ha (f)

6. تقبر قلبي

Transliteration: tu’bir albi

Literal Translation: “you’ll bury my heart” 

Dialect: Levantine (Lebanese mostly)

The literal meaning may sound horrific, but it’s NOT AT ALL. It’s, in fact, a term of endearment (believe it or not!) said to a loved one to express your love to him/her. It can also be used with anyone special to you; your son/daughter, a friend and so on.

Hint: tu’bir (m) tu’biri (f)

7. حديقة

Transliteration: hadee-qa

Literal Translation: “Garden”

Dialect: Iraqi

As odd as it may sound and surely you’re asking how’s this one funny?! Well, wait until you read how this one is used in a conversation.

“Hadeeqa” is popular among young people in Iraq and it is said to refer to someone who’s broke, unemployed, unproductive and has no life! Hence, ‘hadeeqa’ because they have nothing to do and most of the time hang out in public gardens.

8. بط جبدي

Transliteration: baat chabdi

Translation: “popped my liver”

Dialect: Gulf

So, now you got the hang of it. Most of these colloquial Arabic sayings involves a body part/organ be it eyes, heart, liver, etc. So, this one is said when you’re telling someone how annoyed you are with another someone or situation.

Here’s one for you: “the taxi driver baat chabdi, he doesn’t even know the location!”

Interested in learning everyday Arabic phrases and vocabulary? Check out our course options!


Did you know? The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels and it literally takes only one session to learn how to read and write it! The Korean language is becoming more and more popular around the world because of Korea’s booming economy and of course it’s popular and addicting K-pop, K-drama and delicious food.

Join the wave and start learning Korean with these 12 common words and phrases.

1.       안녕하세요 – an-nyeong-ha-se-yo – Hello

2.      저는 ______ 입니다 – jeo-neun _______ imnida  – I am _______

3.      반갑습니다  – ban-gap-sum-ni-da – Nice to meet you

4.      잘 지냈어요? – jal-jinae-sseo-yo? – How are you?

5.      감사합니다 – gam-sa-ham-nee-da – Thank you

6.      ______ 주세요 – _______ ju-se-yo – Please give me ______ (I’d like ______)

7.      안녕히 계세요 – an-nyeoung-hi-gye-se-yo – Goodbye

8.       – ne (formal) /  eung (informal) – Yes

9.      아니요 – aniyo – No

10.    죄송합니다/미안합니다 – chwe-song-ham-ni-da/mi-an-ham-ni-da – I’m sorry

11.     얼마예요? – eol-ma-ye-yo? – How much is it?

12.     제일 가까운 시장 어디 있어요? – jeil-ga-gga-oon shi-jang uh-di isseo-yo? – Where is the nearest market?

Make Korean the next language you learn by joining a group or one-to-one course today!


Arabglish, also known as “Arabizi”Arabish (Arabic plus English) or Arabglizi is the informal Arabic chat alphabet which became a popular phenomenon among younger generations with the introduction of technology between the mid-1990s to early 2000s. It is generally mixed with English and particularly popular in informal settings: when communicating with friends and family via text messaging or chatting and on social media platforms.

This widespread language variant is basically Arabic text written in its transliterated form using Latin characters and numbers that represent certain alphabets in Arabic, i.e. writing Arabic in English. The Roman numerals are used to symbolize the Arabic letters which don’t exist, or rather, the ones that have no phonetic equivalent in English. For e.g., the Arabic letter “ح” (Haa) can’t be accurately represented with Latin characters and it is, therefore, represented by the number “7”. Do you see the resemblance between the shape of the letter ح and the number 7? Pretty cool, eh!

Since there are different dialects of the Arabic language, the Arabizi writing system is not standardized and there is no one “right” way to write it.  Therefore, some variation exists in the way Arabs write it because it is linked to the particular dialect they speak.

Let’s have a quick peek at the Arabizi alphabet:

A: Hi, 9ba7 el 5air! Sha5barich? (f.)

Hi, good morning! How’re you doing?

B: 9ba7 el 5air! Elhamdillah b5air .. shu el plans malich 7ag el weekend? (f.)

Good morning! I’m doing well .. What are your plans for the weekend?

A: Ana el yom yemkin aro7 cinema wu ba3dain shopping. What about you? (f.) or (m.)

I may go to the cinema today and then I’ll go shopping later. What about you?

B: Ma3endi ay plans.. bas ray7a lil mall bachir.. 5aleena nshofich tomorrow! (f.)

I don’t have any plans.. but I’m going to the mall tomorrow.. Let’s meet tomorrow!

Interested in learning Arabic? Choose from a range of Arabic language courses to suit you.


As a global, flexible and versatile language, English is capable of borrowing and altering words from other languages. That said, English speakers have unknowingly adopted many Spanish words. You may have come across some Spanish words that sound similar in English and some are even spelled alike with minute differences.

Below is a list of 15 English words loaned from Spanish with their meaning and etymological origin.

1. Breeze

Spanish word: Brisa

Meaning: A gentle blow or moderate current of air

Origin: 1560s; from Old Spanish briza

2. Ranch

Spanish word: Rancho

Meaning: A large farm to raise livestock or crops

Origin: 1800–10s; rancho – American Spanish originally means a group of people who eat together, like a mess room

New to learning Spanish? Take a look at these 17 common words and phrases to help you get started!

3. Guerrilla

Spanish word: Guerrilla

Meaning: A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces

Origin: Early 19th century; Spanish, diminutive of guerra war

4. Patio

Spanish word: Patio

Meaning: An open area or a courtyard attached to a house

Origin: Early 19th century; denoting an inner courtyard in Spanish

5. Stampede

Spanish word: Estampida

Meaning: A sudden frenzied rush of people or animals

Origin: Germanic origin; Mexican Spanish estampida, from the Spanish word “uproar or crash”

6. Macho

Spanish word: Macho

Meaning: To have manly characteristics and qualities such as being robust, strong, aggressive, unemotional, etc.

Origin:  Early 1920s; macho means male in Spanish

7. Cockroach

Spanish word: Cucaracha

Meaning: An insect with antennae and legs, usually the reddish brown kinds are found as household pests

Origin: Early 17th century; cockroach was derived from the Spanish word cucaracha

8.  Avocado

Spanish word: Aguacate

Meaning: A dark green pear-shaped fruit with smooth, light green pulp and one large seed in the center

Origin: 1690–1700; alteration of Spanish aguacate to avocado

9. Plaza

Spanish word: Plaza

Meaning: A public area, in a form of a building with shops and stores

Origin: Late 17th century; from Spanish, that means ‘place’

10. Mustang

Spanish word: Mestengo

Meaning: A small and lightly built American horse

Origin: Early 19th century; from a blend of Spanish mestengo (from mesta ‘company of graziers’) and mostrenco, both meaning wild or masterless cattle

11. Cargo

Spanish word: Cargo

Meaning: Goods that are transported through ship, aircraft, or motor vehicle

Origin: Mid-17th century; from Spanish cargo, cargar – to load

12.  Vanilla

Spanish word: Vainilla

Meaning: A sweet substance extracted from vanilla pods, used as a flavor in food or in perfume, etc.

Origin: Mid-17th century; in Spanish, vainilla little pod, equivalent to vaina – a sheath

13.  Lasso

Spanish word: Lazo

Meaning: A rope with a knot that forms a ring to catch horses and cattle

Origin: Mid-18th century; Spanish lazo, based on Latin laqueus ‘noose’

14.  Canyon

Spanish word: Cañón

Meaning: A deep narrow gorge with steep sides

Origin: Mid-19th century; from Spanish cañón tube

15. Tornado

Spanish word: Tornado

Meaning: A powerful, destructive windstorm that forms itself into a cone-like shape, capable of destroying everything on land

Origin: 1550–60; derived from the Spanish word tronada

Kick-start your Spanish with a group or one-to-one course today!


Marhaba is the simplest form of greeting that’s used across all the Arabic speaking countries. Yeah, you’ve heard it and if you’re living or have lived in the Middle East then you surely know it (and possibly use it too!).

In the Emirati dialect, the word el-saa’ is added after marhaba making it marhaba el-saa’, which
literally translates to “welcome at this hour of the day”. Alternatively, el-saa’ can also mean “seeker” (literally); as in ‘a seeker of good intentions’. The phrase is said upon the guest arrival (welcome to us).

Did You Know: Saa’ is a colloquial short form of Sa’aa (clock in Arabic).


2. شو اليديد؟

Transliteration: shu el-ydeed?


Meaning: what’s new?

This one’s easy, try saying it: shu el-ydeed? It’s pretty much like what’s up?/how’s it going?

Remember what was said earlier about the first two? Yep, now you can use them together: “marhaba elsaa’, shu elydeed?”

Did You Know: “j” is pronounced as “y” in several words in the Emirati dialect. Here, ydeed is the same as jadeed, which means new in Arabic.

3. ما شيَ

Transliteration: ma-shay

Meaning: nothing

We got two examples for you:

A: “What’s wrong?”

B: “Ma shay!” 

Ma shay fyda yakhi!” (There’s no point!)

…You get it, it simply means “nothing”/ “there’s no..”

4. هيه

Transliteration: heh

Meaning: yes

This is how you say “yes” the Emirati way, heh. 

A: “Are you free to talk now?”

B: “Heh”

Did you know that there are so many ways to say “yes” in Arabic, depending on the dialect a person speaks?

5. وايد

Transliteration: wayed

Meaning: a lot

Not only it means a lot, but also it’s used A LOT! .. On the daily.

You can even stretch it: waaaaayed! 

“This place is wayed helu!” (this place is very nice!)

6. طرش

Transliteration: tarrish

Meaning: send

Also heard very often in conversations: tarrishli (send me) tarrashtla (I sent him).

“Ana tarrashtlak risala yesterday” (I sent you a message yesterday).

7. أونه

Transliteration: awina

Meaning: as if

Awina will be your new favorite Emirati word. It’s added to sentences to emphasize boasting/sarcasm.

When you sense someone is showing off, simply say: awina! (you can think of it as a substitute for “pftt”/”as if”).

A: “She said I’m handsome”

B: “Awina!”

8.  جي

Transliteration: chee

Meaning: like this

Nope, we’re not talking about “likes” here, rather“chee wala chee?” (like this or like that?) ; (this way or that way?)

“I’d rather do it chee”.

9. خيبة

Transliteration: khaiba

Meaning: oh my!

The word khaiba is used to indicate surprise/shock: “khaiba! You’re going to eat all of that?!”

If someone is trying too hard to impress: “khaiba!”

10 Emirati Words You'll Hear (in almost) Every Conversation10. كشخة

Transliteration: kashkha

Meaning: fancy/elegant

When you see something that’s neat and elegant, you’d say “kashkha”. When someone is looking good, wearing a super cool outfit, or perhaps someone had a fresh new haircut… It’s all kashkha!

“Look at you! Kashkha!” 

Intrigued to learn more about the Emirati dialect and UAE culture? Check out our Arabic course options!


ELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. In a nutshell, it is a testing system that grades your English language skills based on four key aspects of a language: speaking, writing, reading and listening. In most instances, preparation means many hours of sitting and reading. But, you could do more than studying lengthy IELTS study guides and review books.

Following these 5 tips can help you prepare and ace the IELTS Exam:

1. Study vocabulary

English learners are taught to put words into the proper context as much as possible. You can learn to do this by reading frequently. The more words you are exposed to, the better your vocabulary will be. As you read, pay close attention to words you do not know and underline or highlight them with a marker.   You should try to figure out their meanings from the supporting context. After this, look the words up in the dictionary. Read and listen to challenging materials like the English language news so that you will be exposed to many new words. Once you have learned the new word, practice using it.

Using new words frequently will help you to learn to speak English fluently. Research shows that it takes from 10 to 20 repetitions to make a word part of your daily speech.

✓ Record expressions that can be used in a variety of academic contexts.
✓ Record phrases (rather than individual words)
✓ Use a good monolingual dictionary to check proper word arrangement
✓ Avoid spending too much learning highly specialized words
✓ Record useful expressions related to these topics
✓ Practice talking and writing about them in English
✓ Use newspapers, magazines and news websites to learn more

2. Read, read and read

You need to have a credible English-English dictionary and work out the meanings of new words, making sure that you do not translate back to your language.

✓ Skim and scan to form a general picture of a text quickly
✓ Make sure you know exactly what’s required for each task
✓ Check all instructions carefully
✓ Use the work for further clues about the content and organization of the text
✓ Remember the key vocabulary may be explained for you in the text
✓ Don’t use a dictionary until you’ve done the task and checked your answers. You can read an English newspaper every morning and listen to the news in English

3. Enhance your writing skills

Record words as a consistent part of your English lessons. Compose both the definition and a sentence utilizing the word on a file card that you can check later for reference. You ought to say the word resoundingly to initiate your sound-related memory and relate the word to words you definitely know. For instance, “immense,” which implies tremendous, has a comparable intending to the words colossal, enormous and expansive.

✓ Practice timed writing to improve your speed
✓ Never write answers BELOW the minimum length
✓ Remember that Task 2 is longer and has more marks, so leave enough time for it

(Task 1)
✓ Describe the information, not the diagram itself (e.g. you don’t need to say exactly what’s shown on the vertical and horizontal axes of a graph)
✓ Select the important features and choose figures to support these
✓ To practice, look for diagrams, graphs, and charts in the newspaper or on the Internet and analyze them. Notice how diagrams are used on TV programs

(Task 2)
✓ Analyze the question carefully
✓ Make a paragraph plan before you write
✓ Check that all parts of the question are addressed
✓ Always leave time to edit your writing
✓ Know your common mistakes and check for them

4. Exercise fluency and pronunciation

The speaking component is divided into three parts. The areas include a structured interview, a short talk, and free interview. You will be asked about 2 to 3 brief concerns on familiar topics that will last 4 to 5 minutes.

Be ready to give a talk for 2 minutes in the brief talk section. You will be provided 1 minute to get ready for your discussion. The whole section will take 3 to 4 minutes. The following are tips on what is examined in IELTS speaking and how to prepare for it.

Consistent practice is all that it takes. By using a new word or a correct pronunciation, the student is reinforced to practice what he has learned, imprinting it in the mind. Also, it signals to whoever taught him the new skill, whether that be a teacher, a friend or a fellow-worker, and that he has made a conscious effort to memorize something that has been taught. It encourages his mentors to be more determined than ever to help him succeed.

For Fluency:
✓ Practice talking for a considerable long time
✓ Talk aloud in English to hear yourself pronounce the words
✓ Record yourself speaking on different topics as often as you can

For Pronunciation:
✓ Listen to spoken English (e.g. on radio/TV/ films) as much as possible
✓ Repeat phrases after the speaker in recordings to help you speak in word groups and use stress and intonation appropriately
✓ Record and listen to yourself speaking as much as you can

5. Practice your listening skills

One can listen to the news in English every morning and try to write them down and analyze later. The following are tips on how to prepare for listening skills.

✓ Use the preparation time to think about the task content and focus
✓ Make sure you know exactly what’s required for each task and check the instructions
✓ After checking your answers, listen again, and try to work out the cause of any problem

How to improve:
✓ Remember that you only hear the recording once. Don’t pause the CD when you’re practicing
✓ Finally, listen once more to the tapescript and highlight useful expressions

These helpful tips will equip you to be ready for the exam. However, your success rate depends on your commitment and practice. A combination of the two will give you a great chance of getting the desired grade for IELTS.

To find out more about our upcoming IELTS preparation courses and test dates, click here.


We’ve rounded up 14 of our favorite terms of endearment from different countries around the world. They’re sweet, romantic …and no, they aren’t “mi amor” [Spanish] or “habibi” [Arabic]  kind of cliché.

Maybe you’ll start using them with your loved ones, or *ahem* a special someone.

Have a read and take your pick!

1. روحي [Arabic]

How it’s said: rouhi

Meaning: my soul

“Rouh” means soul in Arabic. If you add ‘-i’ to the end of the word, it’ll make it possessive, and it becomes“rouhi”, which means “my soul”.

You can also say “ya rouhi!” …You’re my soul. But, reserve it only for those who are extremely precious to you.

Make it look even cooler by writing it as “rou7i” in Arabglish/Arabizi.

2. Balım [Turkish]

How it’s said: ba-lim

Meaning: my honey

In Turkish, “bal” means honey. The ‘-ım’ annex is added to refer to first person possession (my) i.e. balım or “my honey”. The term is mostly used for loved ones.

3. Jaan [Hindi & Urdu]

How it’s said: jaan

Meaning: life

You can say “meri jaan” (may-ri-jaan) which means my life. Mind you, the word “jaan” itself is a term of endearment. It can mean “life” and also “loved one”, “darling”, etc. in both Hindi and Urdu. People use it to express their loved one’s importance and how much they love them.

4. Καρδιά Μου [Greek]

How it’s said: Kar-Thia moo

Meaning: my heart

Well, love makes us all giddy and by calling your significant other “my heart” in Greek or “karthia moo”, you’ll surely warm his/her heart.

5. Mon Mignon [French]

How it’s said: mon min-yon

Meaning: my cutie

We can hear that “Awww”…Yeah, it’s a sweet and definitely cute one, plus it can be used for both men and women: “Salut (hello) mon mignon!”

6. Vita Mia [Italian]

How it’s said: vee-tah mee-a

Meaning: my life

This one is a very common (and powerful!) Italian term of endearment. In Italian, “vita” means “life” and “mia” means “my”. It’ll surely make your significant other melt.

Try to say this one: “tu sei tutta la mia vita”, which literally translates to “you’re my whole life” – or “you mean the world to me” …how sweet!

7. Süsser (M) ; Süsse (F) [German]

How it’s said: zu-sa (m) ; zu-se (f)

Meaning: sweetie

It can also mean “cutie-pie”. Süss means “sweet” in German.

Tip: you can also write it as süßer (m) ; süße (f)

“Mein Süßer!” (my sweetie!)

ß is a German letter known as sharp S or Eszett/scharfes S in German.

8. Lieveling [Dutch]

How it’s said: lee-ve-ling

Meaning: darling

This Dutch word can be said to either a best friend or a significant other. It rhymes with “darling” and that just makes it easy to remember!

Tip: Dutch “v” is pronounced like a mix of English “v” and “f”

9. Mi Cielo [Spanish]

How it’s said: thee-e’-lo

Meaning: my sky

You can use “cielo” (sky) on its own. However, if you want to show more affection, you can say “mi cielo” which translates to “my sky”. Totally different and lovey-dovey.

10. Котёнок [Russian]

How it’s said: katyonok

Meaning: kitten

It’s just so adorable to think about this one! And oh, it’s used towards both genders. So, ladies feel free to call your guy katyonok.

11. Kochanie [Polish]

How it’s said: co-ha-nye

Meaning: darling/sweetheart

The term is derived from “kocham cię” pronounced as “ko-ham-che” meaning “I love you”.

Moje kochanie = my sweetheart

Tip: The Polish letter “j” is pronounced like the English letter “y” in yet.

12. Bebe Ko [Filipino]

How it’s said: beh-beh ko

Meaning: my baby

“Ko” in Filipino means “my” and the word “bebe” is taken from the English word “baby”. Try saying it. It’s so cutesy, hey?

13. 亲 [Mandarin Chinese]

How it’s said: qīn

Meaning: dear

If you were to literally translate “亲”, it would mean “dear”– but, wait for it! The English counterpart of the word is the slang “bae” and it’s one of the most popular terms of endearment used on social media in China!

14. こいびと [Japanese]

How it’s Said: koi-bito

Meaning: lover; sweetheart

You can use it similar to how boyfriend/girlfriend is used: “this is my koibito”.

Go beyond knowing a term of endearment. Let your language journey begin!

Learn a language for love. Get started here!


There are over 100 million people around the world who speak Persian, or as its native speakers commonly refer to it as ‘Farsi’. It is the most widely spoken language of all Indo-Iranian languages and spoken primarily in Iran (official language) and Afghanistan. The Farsi language is spoken by a significant number of people in countries including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan. It is also widely used in the Arab world, specifically in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries.

Familiarize yourself with the below list of common words and phrases to kick-start your Persian language learning.

1.       سلام  – salam – Hi

2.       صبح بخیر – sobh bekheyr – Good morning

3.       عصر بخیر – asr bekheyr – Good evening

4.       خوش آمدید – khosh amadid – Welcome

5.       حال شما چطوره؟ – haleh shoma chetoreh? – How are you?

6.       خوبم  – khoobam – I’m doing well

7.       ممنون خیلی – (kheily) mamnoon – Thank you (very much)

8.       خداحافظ  -khodahafez – Goodbye

9.       اسم شما چیه؟ – esme shoma chieh? – What is your name?

10.   شما اهل کجاید؟ – shoma ahl e koja hastid? – Where are you from?

11.   من اهل (…) – man ahl e (…) – I’m from ( … )

12.   ببخشید – bebakhshid – Excuse Me

Start learning the language of one of the oldest civilizations to ever exist in history. Join a group or one-to-one course today!


What is a Communication Breakdown?

Communication Breakdown is a situation where the communication taking place between two (or more) people is either inconceivable, wrongly comprehended or entirely absent.

It can be caused by any of the following situations between the two parties:

  • Conflicting opinions or actions
  • Unpleasant behavior
  • Ignoring or avoiding each other

The workplace runs on communication! More so, it runs efficiently and profitably on good, impactful communication. However, more often than not, it is a hub for communication breakdowns to occur, be it between colleagues, departments or the hierarchy.

How can you avoid communication breakdowns in the office?

Implement the following strategies to prevent and avoid communication barriers in your workplace:

  1. Use a common language for communication between all parties to evade being ‘lost in translation’. Generally, the official company language should be used. It provides consistency in the message as well as in its perception.
  2. Remove distractions! Whether you’re communicating in person or via email, make sure you’re in a quiet environment (without any music, external noise, your colleagues even!) to decipher the message accurately and really listen to what the other party is trying to say.
  3. Do not burden each other with excessive information or data. Strategize the information according to its level of importance.
  4. Be direct and concise in your communication. Research suggests that while details are important, messages that are short and ‘to-the-point’ are comprehended more easily.
  5. Do not hesitate to ask questions and encourage others to do the same! Asking questions, no matter how trivial, eliminate doubts and misconceptions in an effective and quick manner.


Avoid communication breakdowns at your workplace now! Train your diverse workforce to proficiency in the official company language right here. 


The Arabic language is known to have many words with innumerable different meanings. Some spoken phrases can express two or more different ideas. When it comes to country-specific conversational terms, the list of such is never-ending! There are over 22 Arabic dialects with slang words and phrases differing from one country to another. Nonetheless, with exposure to several varieties of the Arabic language and culture by means of mass media, socializing, traveling, etc., many Arabs are becoming more and more familiar with and are using expressions from other countries in daily life situations.

Here you have it, we’ve selected 11 Arabic expressions from across the Arab world and how they’re used in basic conversations. Yalla, let’s begin!

1. khalas

Translation: done / OK / alright / finish / enough / stop it

Dialect: All Arabic dialects

Depending on the situation, there are many different versions (and tones) of ‘khalas’ that Arabs use. As you can see above, the translations are endless! It can be used to end an argument “khalas now!!” and said when you finish a task, yell at your kids or even when you tell yourself to stop overthinking. Ok, khalas I’ll stop.

2. yaani

Translation: meaning / like / it’s like

Dialect: All Arabic dialects

In Arabic, yaani is the English word for the slang interjection “like”. It frequently comes up in any conversation. Tweak it up and write it in Arabizi, i.e., the cooler way: “ya3ni”.

3.  inshallah

Translation: God willing / hopefully

Dialect: All Arabic dialects

Oh, you’ve surely heard it because Arabs tend to use it so often when speaking. Whether you want to begin or end a conversation (you can add it in between as well) inshallah is your go-to word: “khalas, I’ll finish it today inshallah”.

4. hala wallah

Translation: hi there! / welcome/ my pleasure

Dialect: Gulf

This phrase is widely common in the Gulf countries. It is said when you meet and greet your friends, when welcoming a guest to your home, and …when flirting!

When someone says hi to you say “hala wallah!” (like saying hi back basically). If someone thanks you, you’d reply back with hala wallah, too.

5. khali wali

Translation: let it be/ forget about it/ whatever

Dialect: Gulf

Those who’ve heard it are most definitely laughing right now. “khali wali” has to be one of the most well-known expressions around the Gulf regions. If you live or have lived in the UAE, you’d hear Arabs, and non-Arabs say it to express annoyance with a person or situation. “Don’t reply to his messages, khali wali.”

6. akeed

Translation: sure! / of course

Dialect: All Arabic dialects

Usually used for confirmation, emphasis or to state something so obvious. “Yes, akeed!”

7. shaku maku

Translation: what’s up?/ what’s new? how’s it going?

Dialect: Iraqi

Shaku maku is literally a phrase that you’d hear throughout the day when Iraqis converse. All Arabs are familiar with this popular colloquial phrase that translates word-for-word to what’s there and what’s not?

It can be used as a casual greeting or when checking up on someone: “Hey! Shaku maku?”. If you wishyou can reply with “maku shi” (nothing’s new).

8. walaw

Translation: even if / it’s ok / of course/ don’t mention it (when someone thanks you)

Dialect: Levant

Lebanese people use this phrase to make someone feel welcome, express surprise, frustration and so on.

“Walaw, it’s on me, it’s my treat”.

9. ya haram

Translation: aww, poor thing

Dialect: Levant

Use it to express sympathy, i.e. when you feel bad for someone. “Ya haramare you ok?” It can be used when you’re being serious or sarcastic. Remember, it all goes back to the tone it is said in.

10. fahamit alyee shlon?

Translation: do you get what I mean?

Dialect: Levant

Almost every Syrian person you’d encounter would throw fahamit alyee shlon into a conversation! It is more or less a rhetorical question said to emphasize an important point (after an explanation or description of something or a situation). The next time you hear a Syrian talking, listen carefully and observe.

11. min sijak?

Translation: are you serious?

Dialect: Gulf

This question is used to express disbelief and frustration. It’s usually asked in a sarcastic tone to question someone’s actions or statement (it can be on a serious note, too).

A: The flight got delayed

B: Min sijak?

Do you want to practice these expressions and many more? Start learning Arabic!


Nola A., a Senior English Instructor at Eton Institute, provides a useful insight into the roles relevant to today’s teaching.

The 7 Roles of a Teacher in the 21st Century:

Think about the type of lesson you normally teach:

  • In which roles are you often involved?
  • Are there any roles in which you have less experience?
  • Are there any new roles you might try in the future?

It is clear that the 21st-century classroom needs are very different from the 20th-century ones. In the 21st century classroom, teachers are facilitators of student learning and creators of productive classroom environments, in which students can develop the skills they might need at present or in future.

However, before we begin to understand the evolving role of an ESL teacher, let’s outline some of the most popular teacher roles. Harmer, J. states that ‘it makes more sense to describe different teacher roles and say what they are useful for, rather than make value judgments about their effectiveness.’ So here are some of the most common teacher roles:

Teacher Roles:

Most teachers take on a variety of roles within the classroom, which role do you think most defines your role in the ESL classroom?

1. The Controller: The teacher is in complete charge of the class, what students do, what they say and how they say it. The teacher assumes this role when a new language is being introduced and accurate reproduction and drilling techniques are needed.

In this classroom, the teacher is mostly the center of focus, the teacher may have the gift of instruction, and can inspire through their own knowledge and expertise, but, does this role really allow for enough student talk time? Is it really enjoyable for the learners? There is also a perception that this role could have a lack of variety in its activities.

2. The Prompter: The teacher encourages students to participate and makes suggestions about how students may proceed in an activity. The teacher should be helping students only when necessary.

When learners are literally ‘lost for words’, the prompter can encourage by discreetly nudging students. Students can sometimes lose the thread or become unsure how to proceed; the prompter in this regard can prompt but always in a supportive way.

3. The Resource: The teacher is a kind of walking resource center ready to offer help if needed, or provide learners with whatever language they lack when performing communicative activities. The teacher must make her/himself available so that learners can consult her/him when (and only when) it is absolutely necessary.

As a resource the teacher can guide learners to use available resources such as the internet, for themselves, it certainly isn’t necessary to spoon-feed learners, as this might have the downside of making learners reliant on the teacher.

4. The Assessor: The teacher assumes this role to see how well students are performing or how well they performed. Feedback and correction are organized and carried out.

There are a variety of ways we can grade learners, the role of an assessor gives teachers an opportunity to correct learners. However, if it is not communicated with sensitivity and support it could prove counter-productive to a student’s self-esteem and confidence in learning the target language.

5. The Organizer: Perhaps the most difficult and important role the teacher has to play. The success of many activities depends on good organization and on the students knowing exactly what they are to do next. Giving instructions is vital in this role as well as setting up activities.

The organizer can also serve as a demonstrator, this role also allows a teacher to get involved and engaged with learners. The teacher also serves to open and neatly close activities and also give content feedback.

6. The Participant: This role improves the atmosphere in the class when the teacher takes part in an activity. However, the teacher takes a risk of dominating the activity when performing it.

Here the teacher can enliven a class; if a teacher is able to stand back and not become the center of attention, it can be a great way to interact with learners without being too overpowering.

7. The Tutor: The teacher acts as a coach when students are involved in project work or self-study. The teacher provides advice and guidance and helps students clarify ideas and limit tasks.

This role can be a great way to pay individual attention to a student. It can also allow a teacher to tailor make a course to fit specific student needs. However, it can also lead to a student becoming too dependent or even too comfortable with one teacher and one method or style of teaching.



Now that we’ve had a chance to look at some of the variety of roles let’s see how we can adopt these into a real classroom activity/task:

Team game energetic, clear, fair, encouraging
Role Play supportive, retiring, clear, encouraging
Teacher reading aloud dramatic, interesting commanding
Whole class listing efficient, clear, supportive

What we notice here is that the roles are often interchangeable. The teacher’s role is never static. One activity could see an experienced teacher smoothly transition from one role to another.

That said, the 21st-century classroom is created on the premise that students experience what they require to enter the 21st-century workplace and live in the global environment. The characteristics of the 21st-century classroom, therefore, sets it apart from the 20th-century classroom.

Lectures on a single subject at a time where the norm in the past. Today, collaboration is the thread for all student learning. For instance, the collaborative project-based approach ensures that the curriculum used in this classroom develops:

  • Higher order thinking skills
  • Effective communication skills
  • Knowledge of technology that students will need for 21st-century careers and the increased globalized environment.

While there is certainly a place for teacher-centered, lecture style learning, the evolving ESL teacher must embrace new teaching strategies that are radically different from those previously employed. The curriculum must become more relevant to what students will be exposed to in the 21st-century.


An interactive teacher is by definition one that is fully aware of the group dynamics of a classroom. As Dörnyei and Murphey (2003) explained, the success of classroom learning is very much dependent on:

  • How students relate to each other and their teacher
  • What the classroom environment is
  • How effectively students cooperate and communicate with each other
  • The roles not only the teacher plays but the learners engage in

Brown, H. Douglas (2007) mentions that “teachers can play many roles in the course of teaching and this might facilitate learning. Their ability to carry these out effectively will depend to a large extent on the rapport they establish with their students, and of course, on their own level of knowledge and skills.”

According to Harmer, J. (2007), the term ‘facilitator’ is used by many authors to describe a particular kind of teacher, one who is democratic (where the teacher shares some of the leadership with the students) rather than autocratic (where the teacher is in control of everything that goes on in the classroom), and one who fosters learner autonomy (where students not only learn on their own but also take responsibility for that learning) through the use of group and pair work and by acting as more of a resource than a transmitter of knowledge.

Facilitating learning is empowering for both the learner and the teacher and frees the teacher from many of the burdens that having to be an ‘expert’ might entail. It would traditionally have been seen as a weakness for a teacher to say ‘I don’t know, let’s find out’ or ‘I don’t know, do any of you students know the answer?’ But, times have changed and so must the role of the ELS teacher.

So here’s hoping the next time you teach a class you consider how your role might affect your students’learning. Are your classes teacher-centered, with you always at the center controlling everything? Or are you able to ‘let go’, and allow students to take center stage?

Regardless of the roles they assume, teacher’s shape the culture of their classrooms, improve student learning, and influence practice and production. Making the shift from teacher as an expert to facilitator is sometimes seen as diminishing a teacher’s power and authority, but this should not be the case at all.

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