11 Arabic Expressions You have Definitely Heard (But Probably Do not Know the Meaning Of)

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 wish, you 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!

About the Author: Randa A. Loves experimenting and being creative with food and recipes. She is passionate about nature, learning languages, and exploring different cultures. Randa speaks English, Arabic, and some Spanish.

Top 10 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

In a globalized world, where mobility is facilitated, learning a language is a wonderful benefit. Not only does it help when traveling, it is also a great advantage for studying in general and for career prospects abroad. Acquiring a second language enables us to develop various mental abilities at all ages.

1. Boosts brain power

A foreign language is a whole new intricate system of rules, structures, and lexis. Learning a new language means your brain has to cope with complexity as it makes sense of and absorbs new patterns. As our brains work out the meaning, endeavoring to communicate, we develop key learning skills such as cognitive thinking and problem-solving. Highly developed critical thinking skills are a significant benefit both personally and professionally.

2. Improves memory

Use it or lose it. How many times have you heard that phrase? It is a simple fact – the more the brain is used, the better its functions work. A new language requires not only familiarity with vocabulary and rules, but also being able to recall and apply this knowledge. Learning a language gives your memory a good work out in the brain gym. This means that multilingual people have brains that are more exercised and quick to recall names, directions, facts, and figures.

3. Enhances the ability to multi-task

Multi-tasking is very stressful for those who are not used to it or don’t do it well. According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University, people who are multilingual and proficient at slipping from one language system to another are practiced at this very demanding work for the brain. People who have developed the ability to think in different languages and move from one to the other become much better multi-taskers, reducing stress levels.

4. Sharpens the mind

A study from Spain’s University of Pompeu Fabra revealed that multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings. They easily spot anything that is irrelevant or deceptive. They’re also better at spotting misleading information. The study was conducted comparing multilingual and monolingual subjects and the former notably had the edge. Is it any surprise that famous, fictional detective characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are skilled linguists?


5. Keeps the mind sharper for longer

Several studies have been conducted on this topic, and the results are consistent. Language learning keeps your brain healthy. For monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4. For adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5. Studies considered factors such as education level, income level, gender, and physical health, but the results were consistent.

6. Enhances decision-making

According to a study from the University of Chicago, decision-making ability becomes an easier process for multilingual people. Aside from the rules and vocabulary that go with learning a foreign language, there are nuances and regional expressions that a student of language frequently judges for appropriateness and hidden meanings. Multilinguals are more confident in their decision-making choices as a result of practice, practice, practice!

7. The first language is improved

Learning a new language makes you more conscious of the nuts and bolts of your own language. Terms such as vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, comprehension, idioms and sentence structure become everyday phrases, whereas your own language is probably absorbed more intuitively. Learning a new language also makes you a better listener as you are used to having to interpret meaning and judge nuances.

8. Improves performance in other academic areas

As a result of higher cognitive skills, studies show that the benefits of learning a new language include higher scores on standardized exams in math, reading comprehension and vocabulary by multilingual students compared to the scores of monolingual students. Children may ask why they have to learn this language, but parents and teachers know better! Language skills boost your ability to do well in problem-solving tasks across the board, a fact recognized through compulsory foreign language learning curriculum in schools.

9. Increases networking skills

Opening up to a culture allows you to be more flexible and appreciative of other people’s opinions and actions. As a result, if you are multilingual, you have the advantage of seeing the world from different viewpoints, enhancing your ability to communicate in today’s globally connected world.

10. Provides better career choices

According to Eton Institute’s Language Development in the Workforce survey (September 2014), 89% of our clients stated that multilingual employees add value to the workforce and 88% stated that recruiting team members with language skills is important to their organization. A multilingual ability is definitely a competitive edge in today’s world.

Language learning helps develop strong cognitive skills, such as a better concept formation, mental flexibility, multitasking, listening skills and problem-solving, in addition to improving social interaction and encouraging connection between peers. What’s your next language?

Learn a new language and start enjoying the benefits of a sound mental health.

17 Common Spanish Words and Phrases

Melodic, beautiful, historical and one of the world’s most romantic languages – that should sum up the Spanish language for you.

Did you know that native Spanish speakers love when people learn to speak Spanish? Even if you speak a little bit of it, it is appreciated! Besides, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers; much of the vocabulary in the Spanish language is quite similar to English.

The Spanish language is very expressive and has far more words dedicated to expressing feelings and emotions compared to other languages. It is also regarded as a very emotional language for having so many words associated with positive emotions.

There you have it, now let’s take a look at 17 common words and phrases to help you get started.

1. ¡Hola! – o-la – Hello!

2. Buenos días – boo-eh-nos dee-as – Good Morning

3. ¿Qué tal? – keh tal – What’s up? (Tip: it can also be used for how are you?)

4. ¿Qué haces? – keh ah-thes – What are you doing?

5. ¿Cómo se llama (usted)? – koh-moh se yama oos-ted (formal)/

    ¿Cómo te llamas? (informal) – koh-moh teh yamas – What is your name?

6. Hola, me llamo ________ – o-la meh yamo ________– Hello, my name is ________

7. ¿Cómo está (usted)? (formal) – koh-mo eh-sta oos-ted /

    ¿Cómo estás? (informal) – koh-moh eh-stas –How are you?

8. Estoy bien ¡Gracias! ¿Y tú? – eh-stoy bee-en gra-thee-as ee too? – I’m doing well, thank you! And you?

9. Yo no comprendo – yoh no kom-prendoh – I don’t understand

10. Por favor, hable más despacio – pohr fah-vor, ah-blah mas dehs-pahs-ee-oh – Speak slower, please.

11. ¿Puede ayudarme? – pwe-day ay-oo-dar-meh – Can you help me?

12. Lo siento – low see-ehn-to – I’m sorry

13. No tengo ni idea – no ten-go nee ee-day-ah– I have no idea

14. ¿Qué hora es? – keh ohra es – What time is it?

15. ¿Cuánto cuesta eso? – kwanto kwesta eso – How much is that?

16. ¿Dónde está el baño? – don-deh es-ta el ban-yo – Where is the bathroom?

17.  – see – Yes ; No – no – no

Begin your Spanish language journey and discover the diversity of the Spanish culture!

Why get the CELTA or TESOL certification?

Looking to boost your language teaching skills and learn the best practices to support different learning needs and styles? Here are 5 reasons why you should get the CELTA or TESOL certification:

  • Good job prospects

You will often hear English language teachers moan about how they never make enough money, or how they never have any savings, but you will never hear an English language teacher complain about not having any job prospects. If you look at any online job website that lists vacancies for teachers of English as a foreign language, you will always see CELTA or TESOL being some of the key qualifications required. The biggest markets at the moment are China, and other Asian markets such as Taiwan and Singapore, but one can constantly see jobs posted anywhere from Poland, to England, and even Western Europe is now exploding with opportunities.

  • Flexible work schedule

The salaries for English language teachers aren’t always the highest in the world, compared to other jobs, but then again neither are the stress levels. Most of the time if you do enough research of the country you will be going to, and google the average salary in that country or city, you will see that English language teachers often get above-average salaries. You may choose to work more hours, or you may choose to work fewer hours, and have more free time. Teaching can be a very flexible working schedule, so you should be able to balance it out as you see fit. 

  • Travel while you work

If you are adventurous and would like to travel the world, but are looking to fund your trip while you are travelling TESOL or CELTA is definitely for you. Teaching English pays more than if you were to pick up some odd jobs in the country you are headed. Not only is the pay better, but it is probably the only job you can get in a foreign country if you don’t speak the native language. Additionally, English language teaching as a career is one of the few careers that actually encourage changing jobs regularly especially if you can pick up valuable experience teaching to a wide array of students in a variety of situations. This will also give you a good feel and understanding about your own teaching, for example, it will help you decide if this is something for you to pursue long term, and which kind of students you prefer to teach, such as kids versus adults versus more corporate oriented classes. 

  • Learning and interacting with different cultures

Teaching English is one of the best ways to learn about different cultures. You meet people from various cultures and backgrounds. You can meet business students who can give you valuable information on how business is conducted in their country and culture. You can meet wives and husbands and learn how the family dynamic works in different cultures. You will most certainly pick up local food and drink knowledge and will most probably be invited to attend some authentic meals with your students. If this sounds interesting to you, then the best way to learn about cultures is through teaching English, and don’t forget your students will be learning your culture through you, so it becomes a very rewarding experience. 

  • Making a difference

When people are studying a new language, especially English, it is usually to improve their life in some way. Maybe they want to further their studies or immigrate to an English-speaking country or advance their career. It can be really rewarding when you can sincerely feel the appreciation of your students when they learn and grow with you as their teacher. If you do a good job and are passionate about teaching, some old students may reach out to you after many years and tell you how you helped them change their lives.

Learn more about the CELTA or TESOL courses offered at Eton Institute 


Valentine’s Special: Popular Terms of Endearment in 5 Languages

Love knows no boundaries, and sometimes you can find yourself falling in love with someone who doesn’t speak your language well. This Valentine’s week, why not fall in love with a new language and surprise your better half with a multilingual valentine? 

  • French

Definitely one of the most romantic languages in the world, French speakers are spoilt for choice when it comes to expressing their feelings for their special someone. 

Oh mon amour! – Oh my love!

Mon chéri – My dear

Je t’aime plus que tout au monde! – I love you more than anything in the world!

Je t’aime – I love you

  • Spanish

Spanish users are very big on using terms of endearment in their speech. Some commonly used phrases include: 

mi amor – My love

corazón – Sweetheart (literally, heart)

guapo/guapa: Handsome/beautiful

  • German

While most German speakers sound serious most of the time, they do fall in love just like anyone else. Here are a few terms of endearment in German: 

Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt I’m head over heels in love

Ich liebe dich – I love you

Du bist die Liebe meines LebensYou are the love of my life

  • Japanese

When using expressions of love in Japanese, being indirect is advisable. 

 愛してる Aishiteru – I love you (a serious expression that is usually reserved for couples)

好きです Suki desu – I like you (use this if you want to confess your feelings for someone)

  • Korean

안녕, 내 사랑~! (annyeong, nae sarang) – Hello, my love!

난 네 거야 (nan ne geoya) – I’m yours

넌 내거야 (neon nae geoya) – You’re mine

This Valentine’s week, we are offering up to 20% off all French, Italian & Spanish group, one-one and duo learning courses. Check out our Valentine’s Week Offer now!

Five Interesting Facts about the French Language

French is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful languages in the world. The popularity and reach of the French language are indisputable. It is a language of romance, poetry, food connoisseurs, business, politics and is embraced by teachers and students all over the world. Here are 5 interesting facts about the French language: 

  • French is the sixth most spoken language in the world: 

French is the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. With nearly 80 million native speakers and over 274 million speakers worldwide, French is the official language of 29 countries and is the sixth most spoken language in the world. It is also a working language of the UN and the EU as well as numerous other international organizations. Approximately 40% of French speakers reside in Europe and significant populations in Africa, Canada, and many other countries.

  • 29% of English vocabulary comes from French

Owing to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 A.D, roughly 50,000 English words come from French. A few examples of English loanwords from French are “déjà vu,” “naive,” and “cul-de-sac”.

  • French doesn’t have any words with “W”

The only French words with “w” in them are borrowed words from a foreign language. 

  • Learning French gives you a head start for learning the other romance languages

The romance languages, derived from Latin origins, all share similarities, so if you are fluent in French, you may find yourself picking up the other languages – Portuguese, Romanian, Italian or Spanish much faster! 

  • Counting in French gets harder after you hit the number 70! 

Counting in French is pretty straightforward i.e. until you hit the number 70, which translates to soixante-dix (sixty-ten). Then you keep counting up and it gets slightly harder. For eg, 74 is soixante-quatorze (sixty-fourteen). Eighty-five translates to Quatre-vingt-cinq (four-twenty-five).

To celebrate French Language Day, we are offering up to 20% off all French group language courses from March 19-20. Check out our French Language Day Offer now!

Eton Institute redesigns language courses with digital-first in mind

Dubai, UAE – 3 May 2021: Eton Institute, UAE’s largest language and training provider, today announced that it is ready to launch the next phase of its online digital teaching and learning journey with enhanced digital course content to drive learner engagement and student success. 

In an increasingly digitized world, the skillful deployment of digital technology in learning settings is paramount. The institute is leveraging Blackboard’s fully integrated cloud-based learning management system (LMS), Blackboard Learn, and virtual classroom solution, Blackboard Collaborate, to deliver engaging and dynamic content developed with learners’ needs in mind. Via Blackboard’s modern, intuitive, and fully responsive interface, students have access to interactive e-books alongside a wide range of exercises, interactivities as well as detailed reporting to track their progress throughout the course.

“We believe in an outcome-based learning path with relevant and digital content to support carefully selected goals in any course. With interactive and auto-gradable content to guide and support high-quality lessons given by our qualified instructors, our language courses have been redesigned for better delivery, efficacy, and learner engagement. Thanks to Blackboard, course content will be available for all our learners whether online or in the classroom, and accessible on desktop and mobile. This is just the beginning of our journey to make learning compatible with the needs of today’s learners, and we are even more excited about the next stage of development”,  said Tanja Radivoevska, General Manager at Eton Institute.

“We are proud to support the mission of Eton Institute. The integrated features of our leading LMS and virtual classroom will help Eton continue to deliver high-quality instruction. Whether online or via mobile, students and faculty will have access to our teaching and learning solutions,” said Oleg Figlin, Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Blackboard

Since its genesis over 15 years ago and after amassing thousands of successful learners whilst building a reputable track record, Eton Institute has cemented its position as the preferred choice of language learners in the UAE. The institute resides in two of the most global cities of the Middle East – Dubai and Abu Dhabi  – and enjoys a strategic location in the prime locations of Dubai Knowledge Park and twofour54. Its key beliefs consist of promoting the importance of languages, communication, and culture with interactive and student-centered learning. 

Join the conversation on Twitter: @EtonInstitute #EtonInstitute


About Eton Institute:

Eton Institute operates with the understanding that languages, communication, and culture are fundamental to the human experience and necessary for individuals’ and organizations’ future success. Since 2006, it has helped thousands of individuals and companies resolve communication challenges through customized language solutions, with operations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Eton Institute has developed unique, proven engagement methodologies and techniques, and is proud to be associated with top international organizations, to successfully connect people and global businesses to opportunity.

Eton Institute is an Approved Center for the delivery of Cambridge Exams, TOEIC, DELE, ÖSD, CILS, and a test venue for the IELTS exam. Additionally, all language courses offered by Eton Institute are EAQUALS-accredited and meet Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) standards set by the Council of Europe.
For more information, please visit: www.etoninstitute.com

Aanchal Dhawan
Brand Manager
Eton Institute
T: +971 4 438 6821
E: aanchal.dhawan@etoninstitute.com

© Press Release 2021

12 Common Russian Words and Phrases

Russia has a long and rich cultural history, steeped in literature, ballet, painting & classical music. The Russian language is the most geographically widespread Slavic language of Eurasia, spoken by an estimated 258 million people worldwide. It is the official language of Russia and the largest native spoken language in Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is also widely spoken in Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan.

New to learning Russian? Attempt to learn the following 12 basic Russian words and phrases to help you communicate with ease.

1.       Добро пожаловать! – Dobro pozhalovat’! – Welcome!

2.       Здра́вствуйте! – Zdravstvuyte! (formal) / Приве́т! – Privet! (informal) – Hello!

3.       Доброе утро! – Dobroe utro! – Good Morning!

4.       Как ваши дела?  – Kak vashy dela? (formal) / Как дела? – Kak dela? (informal) – How are you?

5.       Спасибо, хорошо. А у вас? – Spasibo, horosho. A u vas?  (formal) – I’m good, thank you. And you?

          Спасибо, хорошо. А ты? – Spasibo, horosho. A ty? (informal)

6.       Как вас зовут? – Kak vas zovut? (formal) – What’s your name?

          Как тебя зовут? – Kak tebya zovut? (informal)

7.       Меня зовут ... – Menya zovut (…) – My name is (…)

8.       До свидания – Do svidaniya (formal) / Пока – Poka! (informal) – Goodbye

9.       Да – Da – Yes

10.     Нет – Net – No

11.      Я не понимаю – Ya ne ponimayu – I don’t understand

12.     Повторите, пожалуйста – Povtorite, pozhaluysta – Please say that again.

Do you want to learn more words and phrases in Russian? Join a group course today! Enjoy a 20% discount with our fabulous Russian Language Day Offer!