This year the nation hosting the World Cup is Qatar. So we bring you some of the most important cultural and linguistic facts about the 2022 World Cup’s host country.
This will be interesting whether you want to go to the games or just watch them from the comfort of your home. And it’ll be especially important if you want to live and work there, as it could be your new home.
Qatar Customs and Rules
If you’re not used to covering your whole body, the clothing rules can be very restrictive for your taste. Women must cover their whole bodies with an abaya, a loose type of dress, usually black. They must also wear a shayla to cover their hair, and some women even cover all their faces except the eyes.
As for men, they use a thobe, a white, loose robe. Though the thobe covers all their bodies, they also have to wear a sirwal, which is a pair of white pants. They must also wear a gutra to cover their heads, with a type of rope called agal that holds the sirwal together.
Though if you’re going to the World Cup, that clothing is not applicable to you. Nonetheless, you still have to be careful and follow some rules, like covering your shoulders and knees, especially if you visit sacred places. Check the specific dress code for World Cup tourists.
Ramadan happens on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, specifically when the crescent moon appears. And it is one of the most important periods of the Islamic calendar. For Ramadan, people fast from dawn to sunset. It lasts for 29 to 30 days and finishes when the next crescent moon appears.
Before fasting, they have the suhoor, a pre-dawn meal that ensures they have enough energy to last throughout the day. But it’s not just about fasting, it’s a moment to reflect, pray, and give to charity.
On the 14th day of Ramadan, children celebrate the Garangao. They wear traditional clothes and go out to ask their neighbors for sweets and nuts, which they receive in some bags hanging from their shoulders. All while singing the Garangao song. So, it’s an exciting celebration even for kids.
After Ramadan finishes, they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which means “the festival of breaking the fast”. As you can imagine, they happily celebrate the end of their fasting. Eid al-Fitr is so important that people don’t work and schools are closed that day. They pray, wear new clothes, donate money to charity, and eat a feast.
Public Displays of Affection
Public displays of affection are not well seen and are completely forbidden. There are some cultures that are used to being very passionate or affectionate in public, even with people that are not their partners.
But in Qatar forget about kissing, hugging, or any big gesture of affection, even if it’s your husband/wife. If someone does that, they could be arrested.
Language of Qatar
Arabic is the official language of Qatar. There are different types of Arabic; in Qatar, people speak Gulf Arabic, also called Khaleeji. This Arabic dialect is also spoken in many other countries, including the United Arab Emirates.
If you want to learn Arabic to travel to the World Cup, or for any other reason, you should know some basic things. Like the fact that Arabic people use verbs first and then adjectives. This might be particularly difficult if in your native language it works the other way around. But you’ll get used to it with practice and by listening or reading it repeatedly.
Another fact is that they write and read from right to left. Which might be confusing at first if you’re not used to it. Also, their alphabet is called Al-abjadiyah, and it has 28 letters, all of which are consonants. Because they only write consonants, but vowel sounds do exist, you just have to guess where they are pronounced in a word.
Pronunciation might be tough for some people, but there are some general keys that will help you out. Like the fact that in Gulf Arab, the Qatari people pronounce the ‘p’ sound as ‘b’. Or when there are double consonants, you must pronounce them stronger and longer than you would pronounce a single consonant.
For example, for the pronunciation of Qatar you just have one “raa” (ر), so you say that letter softly. In contrast, in the word marra, where you have a double consonant, the ‘r’ sound is stronger.
For some people, especially native English speakers, Arabic is one of the hardest languages to learn. But there are many English words that come from Arabic that can help you understand or learn more easily.
Here are 12 English words with Arabic roots:
- Algebra – al-jabr
- Algorithm – al-ḵawārizmiyy
- Alcohol – al-kuḥl
- Coffee – qahwa
- Sorbet – šarba
- Sofa – ṣuffa
- Safari – safar (سفر)
- Syrup – šarāb
- Zero – ṣifr
- Lemon – laymūn
- Mattress – maṭraḥ
- Giraffe – zarāfa
If you still have trouble understanding Arabic, you must know that English is the second most spoken language there. So, you can get your way around the country by speaking English. Though it’s always cool and interesting to try to learn the official language.
But if you’re not an expert, you can use English for the most difficult things to speak. And use your basic Arabic for easy things.
Enjoy the World Cup by Learning Languages with Fluency Corp
You should learn another language if you want to keep enjoying this year’s – or any other year’s – World Cup. Like we said in the beginning, this event is made to celebrate football but also cultures. And as the World Cup continues, you’ll keep seeing many different countries, fans of many nationalities, international news, and football players from around the world. If you want to understand their cultures better or what they’re saying, take some language classes with Fluency Corp.
Our native teachers will make sure you speak during classes, so you achieve language fluency. They’ll also teach you useful vocabulary. This way you’ll be prepared to discuss the matches with fans from around the world. Or take a business meeting with a potential Qatari business partner. If you’re unsure about which language to learn, pick the mother tongue of your favorite player. Or pick a language that will help you do business in this country, like Arab or English. It all depends on your goals.
But the benefits of learning with Fluency Corp don’t stop there. We’ll also help your company thrive in international markets. Who knows? You might even start doing business with Qatari companies.