How to Speak With an Arabic Accent

Written by phil silverwitz
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How to Speak With an Arabic Accent
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Do you need to master an Arabic accent for a comedy routine or school play? It's not difficult, especially if you know a few basic facts about the Arabic alphabet. With only a few simple pointers, you'll be on your way to speaking English with an Arabic accent in no time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Pronounce your "p's" like "b's." Since there is no letter "p" in the Arabic alphabet, many English-speaking Arabs have difficulty pronouncing this sound. So instead of "Pepsi," say "Bebsi."

  2. 2

    Replace the "r" sound with a soft "d." Wlhile there is an "r" in the Arabic alphabet, it has a harder pronunciation than the Engish version and is sometimes rolled. But don't overdo the rolling; otherwise, you may sound more Spanish than Arabic.

  3. 3

    Pronounce the "th" sound like "s" or "z." Although many Arabs can pronounce this sound, a large majority of those from Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, cannot. So instead of saying "happy birthday," say "habby birsday."

  4. 4

    Sound out each syllable distinctly and intentionally. Arabic speakers treat the pronunciation of their own language very seriously. As a result, many Arabs are equally as reluctant to mumble or have words run together in English, as Americans sometimes do.

  5. 5

    Say "yanni" instead of "um" or "like" when trying to think of the correct word. Literally meaning "it means," this is the Arabic version of verbal clutter. However, many Arabs continue to use the Arabic version when speaking English. Feel free to use this one liberally, as often as you would "um."

Tips and warnings

  • Don't let your Arabic accent get too high-pitched, melodic, or singsong, or you'll risk taking on an Indian or Pakistani accent.
  • If you want to master the accent from a particular country or region, you may need at least a basic knowledge of the Arabic alphabet, as each region pronounces certain letters differently from the next.
  • Don't ever speak with an Arabic accent in order to make fun of or belittle someone. The person you are making fun of likely put a great deal of time and effort into learning your language. Know your audience---don't offend!

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