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Qatar’s Language Scene: Which Languages Spoken in the Country

Languages Spoken in Qatar

The State of Qatar is a West Asian country with a populace gauge of 2,672,522. The populace varies broadly in culture and origin, with different groups speaking different dialects. Apart from the ethnic dialects of the local occupants, there are several foreign languages, and ethnic languages from other non-native communities, spoken by the expatriate community.

Qatar has a wide range of population in terms of culture and origin, and with different groups using different languages. Being a West-Asian country, it has its own ethnic languages of its native inhabitants but apart from these, there are so many foreign languages. These foreign languages are spoken by emigrant community. These communities use their native languages too within the Qatar.

However, Arabic is the official language of Qatar. English is the second language that remains to be the language of businesses. Apart from that, there are numerous other languages spoken. These languages are Urdu, Hindi, Balochi, and Pashto to name a few. Let’s discuss these languages in brief

Is it compulsory to speak Arabic language in Qatar?

This is Qatar’s official dialect which is categorized into two – Gulf and Standard. The standard Arabic is referred to as AI Fus-Ha and AI Arabia. 

On the other side, The Gulf Arabic is referred to as Khaliji and Qatari which is further divided into two forms i.e., North and South Qatari. Both these categories are used and understood by other nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Dubai, Iran, UAE, and nations close to the Qatar border. 

Being an official language of Qatar, Arabic is the local dialect of country. It is the mother tongue of majority of the population in Qatar. There are two distinct and mutually intelligible dialects of Arabic spoken in Qatar – which are standard Arabic and native Gulf Arabic. Due to the migration and interaction of people with foreigners, these dialects happened. In order to preserve the Arabic language in Qatar, several actions have been taken by the government. The language of the Qatar University has been changed from English to Arabic. All government offices, business purposes, learning institutes and even daily communication has started to use Arabic for official purposes and method of instruction.

Do people speak English in Qatar?

Qatar’s widespread use of English can be traced back to its history as a former British protectorate. The government has even promoted English as a secondary language alongside Arabic. Furthermore, English has become a de facto language among both Arabic and non-Arabic speakers due to the presence of guest workers from various countries such as Canada, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, and many others. As a result, English is widely used as a means of communication between locals and workers. It is, however, advisable to learn a few words of the dialects used in the country, as this can be very beneficial. Knowing some Arabic phrases can make interactions with locals more pleasant and help them feel appreciated.

English is utilized broadly in Qatar and this can be credited to the way that Qatar was once a British protectorate. The government has even supported it as the second tongue after Arabic. English allows both locals and immigrants to communicate, as a result, it is widely spoken

Malayalam in Qatar

Malayalam should not be confused with Malay, which is a dialect spoken in Malaysia. Malayalam is a language belonging to the Southern division of the Dravidian language family. While it is related to Tamil, it has been significantly influenced by Sanskrit rather than Tamil. Malayalam is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India and is spoken by approximately 38 million people, especially in Kerala and the Laccadive Islands in Southern India. It is also used in other countries such as Israel, Bahrain, United Kingdom, Fiji, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Qatar.

Malayalam speakers in Qatar are primarily guest workers who have migrated from India. As a result, they have brought their language with them, thus contributing to the spread of Malayalam in the country.

Urdu language in Qatar

Urdu is another widely spoken language in Qatar, which, like Hindi, is a form of the Hindustani language. Its origins can be traced back to the 8th to the 13th century, influenced by Arabic and Persian languages. Both languages have significantly contributed to Urdu’s formal speech and vocabulary. Around 99% of Urdu verbs can be traced back to Prakrit and Sanskrit. However, it is essential to note that the term “Urdu” does not adequately describe the Urdu-speaking people, as it is just a linguistic distinction. The speakers are not an ethnic community but rather a group of ethnic groups dispersed globally.

The majority of Urdu speakers are located in Pakistan, where Urdu is the official language. However, many have migrated to Persian Gulf countries, including Qatar, in search of employment and economic opportunities. Most of these migrants are highly skilled and educated experts, as well as experienced laborers. These individuals have not only brought their talents to Qatar but also their language, culture, and customs. Presently, there are approximately 117,000 Urdu speakers in Qatar’s population.

Sign Language of Qatar

The deaf community of Qatar use the Qatar Unified Sign Language. This sign language is also use in the natives to Qatar, which are part of the Arabic sign language family. The government recognised this sign language in 2001. The initiative was taken to create a common language that can unite the deaf community of Qatar with the other Middle Eastern countries. But it is not successful yet as a standard sign language is not established even yet.

Balochi Spoken in Qatar

The Balochi language is spoken by the Baloch people who originate from Southern Pakistan, specifically the southern regions of the Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Many Baloch people have migrated to nearby countries, such as Oman, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Iran, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, bringing with them their language and culture. The Balochi language is divided into three categories: Southern, Western, and Eastern Balochi, and each group speaks different dialects with distinct characteristics.

The Balochi language is categorized as – Southern Western, and Eastern Balochi. All of these groups have different dialects with distinguishing characteristics as well. The Balochi language people are having a population of about 37,000 in Qatar. 

Pashto Language Spoken in Qatar

Pashto is an Indo-European language that belongs to the Iranian branch of the language family. It is the official language of Afghanistan and is sometimes referred to as Afghani. Historically, it has been associated with the Pashtun people who live in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan. Around 50 to 60 million people in the world speak Pashto, and it is not only spoken in Qatar but also in countries such as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Russia, and Japan.

It is possible that Pashto speakers in Qatar come as guest workers from Afghanistan and neighboring countries, and as a result, their language is spread in the country.

Tagalog Spoken in Qatar

This language is spoken by the Filipino people group in Qatar. The vast majority of these individuals are either migrants or progenitors of the Philippines residing in Qatar. The population of Filipinos in Qatar is around 200,000 and they generally work as a domestic helper, in construction, or in travel industry.  Moreover, the Filipinos here are believed to be the second-biggest community of guest workers in Qatar.

Sinhalese Spoken in Qatar

Sinhala, also known as Sinhalese, is the native language of the Sinhalese community, which is the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka. It is also used as a second language by other ethnic groups in the country. Sinhala belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family and has a unique writing system called the Sinhala alphabet. This writing system is part of the Brahmic family of scripts and has evolved from the ancient Indian Brahmi script. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese speakers have migrated to Qatar in search of job opportunities, and their population in the country is estimated to be around 37,000.

Nepali Spoken in Qatar

The Nepali language is spoken by the Nepali community in Qatar, which is made up of guest workers, permanent residents, and descendants of Nepali immigrants. It is estimated that there are around 400,000 Nepalis living in Qatar, and Nepali is one of the languages spoken by this community.

According to the latest available data from the Nepali embassy in Qatar, there were around 400,000 Nepalis in Qatar as of 2021, making them the largest community of foreign workers in the country. They are employed in various sectors such as construction, hospitality, healthcare, and domestic work.

it is likely that with an increase in the number of Nepalese immigrants in Qatar and their involvement in various sectors of the economy, the Nepali language will continue to spread and become more prominent in the country. This is a common trend in many countries with large immigrant populations, as people tend to hold onto their native language and pass it down to future generations. In Qatar, this is reflected in the presence of Nepali language schools and community centers, which cater to the needs of the Nepalese community and help them maintain their cultural and linguistic identity.

What other non-Arabic languages are spoken in Qatar?

Apart from Arabic and English, South Asian and Southeast Asian languages such as Bahasa, Baluchi, Indonesia, Hindi, Farsi, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Urdu, Nepali and more spoken in Qatar. These languages are used due to the majority of the immigrants from these regions.

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Written by Saleh wasim

Blogger who writes topics such as Employment, News, travel, sports, events and life in Gulf.

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