Daily Archives: 13 March, 2013

It’s Quite Literal


The official language of the UAE is Arabic, and English is the second and generally business language.  But when you have tons of people speaking English as their second language, not their native tongue, things tend to get lost in translation sometimes.  Or you’ll get a *very* literal response to a comment or question.

First, some chocolate eye-candy.  See those gorgeous silver tins?  I got one.  They’re full of traditional Arabic sweets.  And the lovely sales clerk wrapping up my purchase??  Well, she’s the topic of this post……


Follow along with my conversation in a chocolate store I visited and drooled in……

“Lovely accent you have, madame, where are you from?”

“I am from the US, the southern part, Alabama.  Do you know it?”

“Sorry madame, I do not know it.”

“How long have you lived here in Dubai?”

“I have lived here in Dubai only sixteen months, madame.”

“Do you like it here?”

“Oh, very much madame.”

“What brought you to Dubai, anyway?”

“Well, madame, my place is very small, my uncle took me to the nearest village.  From there, I was on the bus for many hours.  We arrived at the city, and I rode another bus to the airport.  The airplane brought me here to Dubai.”

*sigh*… .yes, TheBigGuy wandered off after hearing “my place is very small and my uncle took me….”  He was trying not to laugh, I’m guessing.

It taught me that the questions I ask may be taken QUITE differently than I’d intended.