Saudi Arabia–Language


There are many foreign workers in Saudi Arabia and they speak their own languages (Ethnologue’s entry on the languages of Saudi Arabia lists Bengali, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Rohingya, Somali, Tagalog, Urdu, Uyghur, Western Cham, Western Farsi), but Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and, according to the government, the only one. The public discourse in Saudi Arabia is in Standard Arabic, which we discussed in our featured country e-mail about Lebanon, but on the street you’ll also hear dialects like Najdi Arabic (which you’ll mainly find in Riyadh and the Central Region and is also spoken in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Syria), Hejazi Arabic (which you’ll hear in Western Saudi cities like Jeddah, Mecca and Medina, as well as in the African country of Eritrea) and Gulf Spoken Arabic.

Let’s pretend we’re on a sojourn in Riyadh and say hello and goodbye in Najdi Arabic, as brought to us by this page offering useful phrases in Najdi Arabic:

Hello (welcome): Halaa
Goodbye (with safety): Ma’as-salaama

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