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What language is spoken in Dubai and what is the official language?
Official language in Dubai
Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The city was born in the eighteenth century as a fishing settlement and has seen exponential growth in recent decades thanks to the discovery of oil and natural gas. Starting in the 1960s, Dubai became an important point of reference for trade, and in the 1990s also for international tourism. Today this city is known for its modern and technological infrastructure, luxury hotels and restaurants, and its enchanting beaches.
The official language of Dubai has been Arabic since the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Arabic is an important language in the Middle East and North Africa region and one of the most widely spoken in the world, and is the mother of a large part of the population of the United Arab Emirates. It is a Semitic language with a long history behind it and with numerous regional variations, even within the city of Dubai where in fact there are Egyptian Arabic, Syrian Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Lebanese Arabic, and various other less common. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Dubai, it is always helpful to know at least a few Arabic words and phrases to communicate with the local people.
Dubai: the main languages
The most important language spoken in Dubai, as well as the official language of the UAE, is Arabic. But what other languages are spoken in this multicultural and cosmopolitan city? Let's see together the major languages brought to Dubai by immigrant communities, which together with the language have enriched the city with different cultures, cuisines, customs and traditions.
Languages of Dubai
Some studies state that the Indian community is the largest in Dubai in terms of its size, with over two and a half million Indians. Hindi is the language most used by this minority, followed by other languages of India such as Malayalam and Tamil.
In Dubai, there are also many people (around one million) who speak Urdu, which is one of the official languages of Pakistan.
The Bengali language, along with other Bangladeshi languages such as Sylheti and Chittagong, is used by the half million immigrants living in Dubai.
The Filipino community is one of the largest in the city, numbering approximately 700,000 Filipinos. The language of this minority is Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, but there are also people who speak Cebuano and Ilocano.
Most of the Iranians living in Dubai, who number around 400,000, speak the Persian language.
There are an estimated 200,000 Chinese living and working in the city of Dubai and most of them speak Mandarin Chinese, but there are also several Chinese who speak Shanghainese and Cantonese.
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Dubai is, according to the World Migration Report, the most cosmopolitan city in the world with 83% of its population coming from other countries. In addition to the communities we have talked about so far, there are also linguistic minorities of considerably lesser extent, such as Korean, Russian, Japanese, and German.
Languages spoken in the UAE
The UAE is home to expats of over 200 different nationalities. In addition to the language of Dubai, which is the most populated city in the country and also the most cosmopolitan in the world, it is useful to know what the main languages are within the entire nation. First, the official language of the UAE is Arabic, which is followed by English in number of speakers. Indians and Pakistanis represent the largest immigrant groups, with their languages being Hindi (as well as Malayalam and Tamil) and Urdu, respectively. As in Dubai, then, there is the Bengali language of Bangladeshi immigrants and the Filipino of the Philippines. Followed by the Persian language, spoken by immigrants from Iran, and Chinese, brought by immigrants from China.
Working in Dubai: Which languages do you need to know?
If you want to work in Dubai, knowing Arabic is certainly an advantage. It is the official language of the city and of the entire nation, therefore the language most spoken by the local population. Some companies may require Arabic to manage their business operations and to be able to communicate more easily with customers, so if you are planning to look for employment in this large city it is advisable to improve your language skills in this language. Learn Arabic with us at Sprachcaffe by setting off on unmissable study holidays, during which you can relate to other students from all over the world, with trained and qualified teachers, and even with native speakers.
However, nowadays, it is known, English is the most used language at a working level. The English language opens many doors all over the world in the most diverse sectors, such as tourism or finance, information technology and entertainment. There are many companies that require their employees to have a good knowledge of the English language, both written and spoken, in order to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and international customers; therefore, we advise you to study or improve it. To learn English you can choose a study holiday, as with Arabic, or a comfortable online course to follow at home.