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The Common English Mistakes that Arabs Make

posted on: Mar 7, 2018

By: Randa Necola/Arab America Contributing Writer

There are many things in life that are very different like: men and women, hot and cold, or left and right. English and Arabic are different languages that do not share a common alphabet or words. But before I describe the difference between English and Arabic, I want to ask if you ever heard the quote that says “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”? I assume that you heard or read it somewhere. With that in mind, I want to make up a quote from a fact that says “Americans read from left, Arabs read from right” to describe how different the two languages are. Arabs make common English mistakes that only Arabs make.

So that you can determine those English mistakes are Arab, this article highlights some of the common English mistakes Arabs and Arab Americans can make.

I will bark my car after I tell the beoble somesing (park/people/something) 

One of the most common mistakes that some Arabs and Arab Americans make is pronouncing the P as a B. This mistake occurs because there is no P in the Arabic alphabet, so Arabs pronounce it as a B. This mistake is very relatable to Arabs only because of the Arabic language. However, some Arabs feel awkward to pronounce the P because they think it will make them feel unfit and that would affect their reputation.

I ate za cake (the)

The Arabic language is not the one to blame for this mistake because Arabic does have the TH pronunciation. However, Arabs and Arab Americans still say “Za” instead of “the” for an unknown reason. Also, sometimes they will say somesing instead of something to not pronounce the TH. In general, many Arabs do not like to pronounce the Th and they replace it with Z or S.

I will call you on fiber when I get to my filla (viber/ villa)

Arabs sometimes confuse the F with the V and that changes some meanings. The best example of this mistake is the word Viber, Arabs and Arab Americans sometimes call it Fiber and that changes the meaning of the context completely. Some Arabs say filla and fiber, but they will never say a fase (vase) because it is pronounced as vase in spoken Arabic which distinguishes that the mistakes Arabs make are because of the language differences.

I will call an uper (uber)

Arabs try to say the P despite confusing it with the B sometimes, but they use it in the wrong situation. Some of them say Uper to make it sound fancy because it is a foreign or English word. The P mistake does not stop by the Uber (uper) word only, but they say sometimes ParPie (Barbie) or Justin PiePer (Bieber) just because these words are foreign and they think they are pronounced correctly with a P.

Saaraa and I ate toogezer (Sarah, together)

Because Arabic is different than English, Arabs pronounce words with an Arabic accent that make them easy to be recognized as Arabs. Sometimes Arabs and Arab Americans pronounce the letters as they read them that gives the words a rough pronunciation like the word toogezer (together). Not to mention, there are common names between English and Arabic that are pronounced differently like Sarah/ Saaraa and archive/arshive… etc.

Send me a what’sup


What’s app is a very common application that Arabs love to use and they call it What’sup. They say it that way because Arabs think the application is named after the question what’s up? This is what a person asks instead of saying how are you? Or what is going on? They confuse the word app with up. The funny thing is that the What’up mistake is a very common mistake in the Arab world that we can hear all the time from very famous Arab actors in Arab movies and TV shows.