Gulf Arabic Sounds


Group A – with approximately the same pronunciation as their English counterparts.

b – bagar (cattle), baachir (tomorrow), il-baHreyn (Bahrain)

d – daftar (notebook), Hamdaan (an Arab name), dostuur (constitution)

dh – dhimma (protection), tadhkara (ticket), dhahab (Like ‘th’ in ‘that’, ‘those’.) (gold)

p – panka (ventilator), panchar (puncture), parda (curtain)
The 'p' sound appears only in foreign loan words, like the ones above. Most Gulf Arabs actually say 'b' instead of 'p'.

ch – chayf (how), cham (how much), chidhii (so; this way; like this) (This is a distinctly Bedouin sound, used many times (but NOT always) where ‘k’ would be used in Standard Arabic, e.g. cham instead of kam, chayf instead of kayf.)

f – firiij (neighbourhood), kilaafa (difficulty, burden), aal xaliifa (the ruling family of Bahrain)

g – gaam (he stood up), rigad (he lied down), gilt (I said / you said)

h – haadha (this), ihni (here, as pronounced in Bahrain), dhahab (gold)

j – juuti (shoes), bi-l-jumla (wholesale), jaasim (an Arab name)

k – il-kuwayt (Kuwait), kisabna (we won/gained), yaktib (he writes)

m – malik (king), madrasa (school), mumayyaz (special, distinctive)

n – naashif (being dried), minhu (who), alwaan (colours)

s – islaam (Islam), saalim (an Arab name; safe, whole), dars (lesson)

sh – yishfi (he is recovering), shiyar (trees), sh gilt? (what did you say?)

t – tooba (repentance), gilt (I said, you said)), tadris (you study)

th – thaalith (third), ithnayn (two), thoor (bull)

w – wiyyaana (with us), ward (rose), wujood (existence; presence)

y – ya salaam! (Oh, peace!, said when you like something), mayz (table), daray (stairs)

z – azyan (better), zoor (difficult), zaytoon (olive)