Arabic For Dummies
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Know how to ask for help in Arabic before you have an actual emergency. By learning a few simple Arabic words and phrases for emergencies, you can save valuable time in a crisis.

The simplest way to ask for assistance is to say saa'adinii!, which means Help me! Of course, different situations require different kinds of help. For example, if you're experiencing a legal emergency of some kind, you want to ask for the police (shurTa), a police officer (shurTii), or the police station (markaz ash-shurTa). If you're experiencing a serious legal emergency you might also want to say "Where is the American Embassy?" (ayna as-sifaara al-amriikiiya?).

Most emergencies that happen in foreign countries, however, are medical. The most efficient way to get the help you need is to know how to ask for the right kind of help and to be able to explain what's wrong.

Getting the right kind of help usually depends on getting to the right person. You can use the following vocabulary words help you get to the right person for the situation.

  • To ask for a doctor say Tabiib.

  • To ask for a dentist say Tabiib al-isnaan.

  • To ask for a hospital say mustashfaa.

  • To ask for a pharmacist say SayDalii.

    In most Arab countries, pharmacists often have medical training and can recommend and provide suitable medicines for common ailments, so people often go directly to the pharmacist for common problems, instead of a doctor.

  • To ask for a nurse say mumarriD (M), mumarriDa (F).

Once you are able to talk to the right person, you can use the following words to explain what's wrong.

Sudaa' (headache)
Huruuq ash-shams (sunburn)
zukaam (a cold)
alam (pain)
iltihaab (inflammation)
al-is-haal (diarrhea)
mariiD (sick)

The following phrases might come in handy when you need medical help in an Arabic-speaking country.

  • anaa mariiD. (I am sick.)

  • 'indii zukaam. (I have a cold.)

  • ayna al-mustashfaa? (Where is the hospital?)

  • hal hunaaka Tabiib hunaa? (Is there a doctor here?)

  • anaa biHaaja ilaa Tabiib. (I need a doctor.)

  • anaa biHaaja ilaa dawaa' li . . . (I need medicine for . . .)

  • hal 'indakum dawaa' li . . . ? (Do you have a medicine for . . . ?)

  • ayna aqrab SayDaliya? (Where is the nearest pharmacy?)

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