New free app helps residents learn to speak Arabic like a Qatari

Georgetown University in Qatar

The GU-Q designed App

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to speak like a local, a new app designed in Qatar could help.

The Qatari Phrasebook aims to teach non-Arabic speakers more than 1,500 common Arabic words and phrases, all in the Qatari dialect.

The brainchild of Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) Arabic instructor Hany Fazza, the app provides pronunciation of handy phrases. It also has the actual Arabic text and their phonetic spellings.

Shenghung Lin/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The app is divided into sections such as Travel, Shopping, Food & Drink, Emergency and Weather.

It also works offline so you don’t need to have a data connection, is searchable and allows users to star their favorite phrases for easy retrieval.

Authentic Qatari dialect

Five Qatari GU-Q students volunteered to read the phrases for the app. This was to ensure that the pronunciations are as authentic as possible.

Georgetown University in Qatar

Qatari students recorded the phrases for the app

Fazza, who is a mobile learning specialist, came up with the idea after speaking to expats who were frustrated that they couldn’t communicate in the local language, but had no time to attend classes.

He said he decided to focus on the Qatari dialect after realizing that it hadn’t been taught in app-form before.

“The common mobile applications we have are for Modern Standard Arabic – you will find very few applications that have something to do with the dialects,” he added.

The app, which is free to download from the Apple App Store and on Google Play, was funded by a GU-Q faculty research grant.

Have you tried it yet? Thoughts?

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