Arabic, the official language of Qatar, ranks sixth among the world’s major languages and is the native tongue of nearly 250 million people acround the world, as well as the language of the Holy Quran and thus, Islam. It is one of the United Nations’ six official languages.
The Arabic Language
Classical Arabic has preserved the language of the Quran for over 1,400 years. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is an adapted form of the classical language used in books, newspapers, on TV and radio, and at times, in conversation.
Classical Arabic and MSA are, to a large extent, learned languages and must be taught in schools, since nearly all Arabs grow up learning a colloquial form of the language. Local dialects vary with more than 30 different regional variations.
Arabic is written from right to left. There are 18 distinct letter shapes, which vary slightly depending on whether they are connected to another letter before or after them. There are no ‘capital’ letters. The full alphabet of 28 letters is created by placing various combinations of dots above or below some of these shapes. Other languages – such as Persian, Urdu and Malay – use adaptations of the Arabic script.
Taking a course in Arabic is an interesting way to learn more about the region’s culture and to meet new people. Arabic language courses in Qatar
offer a choice of colloquial Qatari Arabic or MSA.
Islam is the official religion in Qatar. Courses offer a chance to learn about the faith as well.
Courses in Qatar
Arabic for Non-Native Speakers (ANNS) Center is a specialised language centre at Qatar University that offers certificates of completion to international students whose mother tongue is not Arabic. A one academic year programme provides students with communicative skills of comprehension, speaking, reading, writing and pragmatics. 4403 3333
Berlitz Language Center Group and private conversational and written Arabic courses at levels 1 – 10. Evening classes are available twice a week at each level. Fees vary. 4455 0506/7, [email protected]
Institut Français du Qatar The official French Institute, is the successor to the French Cultural Centre (CCF), provides courses in MSA for French and non-French speakers. Private tuition and corporate courses also available. Fees vary. 4493 0862
Islamic Online University Courses online in English. Free programmes available. 4486 8458
Loghati Language Centre Private and group Arabic courses at various levels. Separate classes for men and women. 4488 8846
Qatar Guest Center Arabic lessons at levels 1 and 2 for women, in Doha and Al Khor. Hour-long classes are held in the evening, twice a week for two months and cost QR200 for the course.
ScorePlus – Inlingua International School of Languages in Qatar General English/Business English/French/German/Spanish/Arabic and more, for groups and individuals. 4413 1260
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (previously known as Fanar) Lessons in MSA with separate classes for men and women. Courses at levels 1 – 5 are intensive and last two and a half months, with classes twice a week. Classes in Islamic studies and culture in English, with assistance in Tagalog (Philippines), Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) and Nepali. 4444 7444.
Stenden Qatar Conversational Arabic classes. Three hours a week at QAR3,000. 4488 8116.
TII Arabic Language Program at HBKU, offers courses in MSA or the Qatari (Khaleeji) dialect with an emphasis on communication. Also available are courses in medical Arabic to help healthcare professionals communicate with patients. 4454 2578/993
All courses and fees are subject to change. Start learning Arabic with the simple words and greetings in Arabic Phrases in the Discovering Qatar section.