The United Arab Emirates are one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of culture and language, thanks to their history and their dynamic economy, attracting millions of expats from around the world.
But what are the most common languages spoken in the UAE? Continue reading to find out!
To fully appreciate the linguistic diversity in the UAE, it’s essential to understand the country’s demographics. Native Emiratis account for only 13% of the population, while the majority of expatriates hail from South Asia, comprising over 50% of the population. This includes over 2.6 million Indians, 1.2 million Pakistanis, and 700,000 Bangladeshis. Other significant ethnic groups include Filipinos (over 500,000), Iranians (450,000), and Egyptians (400,000).
As for European expatriates, the British community is the largest, with 240,000 residents. Other notable groups include the French and Italians, with around 10,000 community members each.
Languages in the UAE
Despite the vast number of non-Arabic speaking residents, Standard Arabic remains the sole official language of the UAE. It’s used by the Emirati government for ceremonies, official documents, and literature. Among the spoken Arabic dialects, Gulf Arabic is the most prevalent.
However, given the global nature of the UAE’s population, English has become the unofficial language and is widely spoken, especially in populous areas like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. In smaller villages, Arabic remains the dominant language.
Other languages spoken by large communities include Hindi (Indian community), Farsi (Iranian immigrants), Urdu (Pakistani community), and Tagalog (Filipino community).
In public schools, instruction is primarily in Arabic, but many private schools offer education in English, and some in Hindi.
Langpros Language Services
As a part of the Dubai business community, Langpros takes pride in facilitating multilingual communication through our translation and interpreting services. We serve government offices, businesses, advertising departments, and public-facing organizations like hospitals and airports.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, businesses in the UAE are choosing Langpros to relaunch their international activities. Our app, available for PC, smartphone, and tablet (both Android and iOS), provides access to hundreds of languages at your fingertips.
This solution is ideal for hospitals, airports, hotels, and other organizations dealing with a multilingual public. Businesses planning their next multilingual webinar or video conference can opt for our Remote Simultaneous Interpreting services, ensuring compliance with the best health and safety practices.