Speaking Arabic at Work and School

Speaking Arabic at work and school doesn't have to be complicated. Whether you're looking for a job in an Arabic-speaking country or just need to talk with your coworkers or classmates there, you'll need to know some key words and phrases to help ease your way.

Using Arabic at work

The following are some common words that you'll hear at work on a daily basis.

ijtimaa' (meeting)
mu'tamar (conference)
maktab (office)
waDHiifa (job)
kull yawm (every day)
kull usbuu' (every week)
qalam (pen)
qalam ar-raSaaS (pencil)
kursii (chair)
kumbuutur, Haasuub (computer)
makaatib (desks)
daftar (notepad)
haatif (telephone)

Some common job-related phrases include:

  • adhhab ilaa-l-ijtimaa' (I am going to the meeting.)

  • maa waDHiifatuka? (What is your profession?)

  • maadhaa ta'mal? (What do you work [at]?)

You can answer this question by saying anaa . . .) (I am a . . .) and then add the noun for your profession, such as anaa mudarris (I am a teacher). The following words describe many common jobs. Just add an -a to the following words to change it to feminine.

muwaDHDHaf (white-collar worker)
shurTii (police officer)
muHaamin/muHaamiya (lawyer)
SiHaafii (journalist)
jundii (soldier)
najjaar (carpenter)
kahrabaa'ii (electrician)
saa'iq (driver)
Hammaal (porter)
musaa'id (assistant)
muHaasib (accountant)
mudiir (chief, director)
kaatib (writer)
bawaab (doorman)
The doorman (bawaab) plays an important role in running an apartment building and is, therefore, an important person to know.

Using Arabic at school

The following are some common words that might come in handy if you're studying abroad in an Arabic-speaking country.

madrasa (school)
madrasa thaanawiya (high school)
kulliya (college)
jaami'a (university)
Taalib (student)
mudarris (teacher)
ustaadh (professor)
Saff (class)
ghurfat Saff (classroom)
imtiHaan (test)
al-'uluum (sciences)
al-'uluum as-siyaasiya (political science)
al-handasa (engineering)
at-taariikh (history)
al-adab (literature)

Some common school-related phrases include:

  • anaa Taalib fii jaami'a . . . (I am a student in . . . [university].)

  • adrus at-taariikh. (I study history.)

  • huwa ustaadhii. (He is my professor.)

  • 'indii imtiHaan. (I have a test.)

  • hiya fii Saffii. (She is in my class.)

  • uHibb al-handasa. (I like engineering.)

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