Communication is so important in all aspects of life, but could you benefit from branching out and learning the basics of another language?
Parlez-vous français? Hablas español? Sprichst du deutsch? Well, do you speak any other languages?
The UAE is said to be home to over 200 nationalities, which creates a diverse mix of languages and cultures together in one place.
So if you work in business or come into contact with people from other parts of the world frequently in your day-to-day life, you’ve probably felt at times that you would benefit from knowing another language. But where do you start, is it as challenging as you think and is it worth the effort?
“Living in a multicultural city means that you have to interact and communicate with people from various nationalities and ethnic backgrounds,” says Maya Mazloum, learner experience manager at Eton Institute.
“Making the effort to learn a few phrases or words in another language goes a long way. It is a gesture that is greatly appreciated by natives.”
If you work in an occupation where you have regular face-to-face interactions, having another language up your sleeve can really help.
Showing an interest and taking the effort to make a deeper connection than may be otherwise achievable, knowing another language can be a great benefit, especially in business.
“The most popular languages to learn in the UAE are Arabic and English,” adds Maya.
“Knowing the local language is essential to nurture business relationships and grow your social circle in Arab speaking countries.
“English, on the other hand, is the most spoken language in the UAE; it connects people with different language backgrounds.”
As with most things, people who are taking on a new language are encouraged to persevere and learn at their own pace.
“Learners can pick up basic phrases right from the first lesson, and within a few weeks, they would be able to construct simple sentences,” Maya says.
“No two people learn the same way or at the same speed but through constant practice, one can become confident in their new language.”
For more information on classes at Eton Institute, contact: 02 449 9649, etoninstitute.com
Talk the talk
Struggle taking tests and repeating words in unison? Don’t worry, there are ways to learn a lingo outside of a structured classroom environment.
Taking an informal approach to language, AD Speaks is a weekly meet-up group and language exchange where you can learn the basics and meet new people at the same time.
“It all started seven years ago and since then we’ve been meeting every Tuesday to share languages with one another,” explains Mohamad Juma, organiser of AD Speaks.
“We bring people together from different backgrounds, cultures and countries to learn something new.”
With the group helping to teach applicable phrases and words that could be used in real-life situations, you could be speaking another language before you know it. Plus, it’s free.
So how does it work?
“We go into groups or pairs and we start teaching the other person a language; for example, I could teach Arabic and the other person could teach me Spanish.
“It’s a different way to learn and it’s completely informal. It’s friendly and it’s a lot of fun, plus you can meet people and make friends.”
The group is open to new members if you want to take part and pick up some useful phrases in another language. All you have to do in return is share something yourself and help someone else come to terms with your native tongue.
WORDS Colin Armstrong