Arabic is the official language of Qatar. Qataris also learn English in school and many foreign workers speak their own language, such as Urdu or Hindi.

There are two forms of Arabic: the classical written form and the colloquial spoken form. Every literate person in the Arab world can read the newspapers of any Arab country because they are written in classical Arabic, the language of the Qur'an (the holy book of Islam). However, within the Arab world there are many regional dialects and accents. Arabs from different regions may have difficulty understanding each other.

Arabic is written in a flowing cursive style from right to left. The alphabet consists of 28 letters, all consonants. Vowels are expressed by arrangements of dots and dashes above or below the letters. The letters take different shapes depending on their place in words.

When Arab men meet, they usually shake hands. However, a man does not shake the hand of a woman acquaintance. Close friends of the same sex often link arms or hold hands while walking together.

When a Qatari family receives guests, it is traditional to serve qahwa (freshly brewed coffee). Qatari qahwa is similar to Turkish coffee. The coffee is served black and unsweetened. Fresh dates are offered to accompany qahwa. The fruit is 55% natural sugar, which refreshes and sweetens the palate between sips of qahwa.

   Did you know?
In 1995, the Qatari government lifted censorship of the media, and since that time, the press in Qatar has been essentially free from government control.
  English Arabic
  Yes   Aiwa/Na'am
  No   Lah
  Please (to a man)   Min fadhlik
  Please (to a woman)   Min fadlich
  Thank you (to a man)   Shukran/Mashkur
  Thank you (to a woman)   Mashkura
  Welcome   Marhaba
  Hello (literally, "peace be on you")   As-salaama alaykum
  Hello (said in response)   Wa alaykum e-salaam
  How are you? (to a man)   Kef halak?
  How are you? (to a woman)   Kef halik?
  I am well, thank you   Al-hamdulillah
  Goodbye   Ma'al salaama