8 Arabic Words You Might Be Pronouncing Wrong


Whether you’ve been in Saudi a long time or you’re a relative newbie, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve developed our own Expat language. Unfortunately, due to our 26 letter English alphabet, many of our sounds and letters do not feature on the Arabic alphabet – so we’ve kind of just ran with it. It should be said, however, that there are many ways to pronounce these words – depending on your accent and where you’re from, but here is a list of the faux pas we tend to make on the regions commonly used phrases. 

1. Hummus

Commonly pronounced as Hmm-us.

Properly pronounced as Hoo-moss.

This one is a little tricky as it depends where you’re from, the H is more Kh and the OO is more Ogh. Get it?

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2. Tabouleh

Commonly pronounced as Ta-boo-lee

Properly pronounced as Ta-boo-leh

Like meh. Which is perfect because that’s what life is without tabouleh.

3. Doner

Commonly pronounced as Do-nur

Properly pronounced as Don-na

(Not technically an Arabic word) But we’d probably recommend not going into a kebab shop asking for a donor. 

4.  Muslim

Commonly pronounced as Muz-lim

Properly pronounced as Mooss-lim

Of course this depends on what news organisation you work for…

5. Khalli Walli 

Commonly pronounced as Ka-lee wa-lee Properly pronounced as Hha-lee wa-lee Or just say it however you like, khalli walli.

6. Kareem

Commonly pronounced as cream

Properly pronounced as Ca-Ree-m

For all those weird looks you get when you tell your friends you’re bringing cream to a party.

7. Yahya

Commonly pronounced as Ya-ya

Properly pronounced as Yah-hee-ya

Mesa Yaya Binks?

8. Shadi

Commonly pronounced as Shay-dee

Properly pronounced as Sha-dee

Will the real Slim Shadi please stand up?


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