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Middle East Phrasebook
(Lonely Planet) ISBN 978-1864502619

Find useful phrases, translations, dictionaries and pronunciation guides to eight Middle Eastern languages in this palm-sized, 255-page book. This Lonely Planet phrasebook is a must-bring language guide for Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Cyprus.

The straightforward language guide is eight color-coded phrase books in one. The introduction discusses Middle Eastern facts, e.g., The League of Arab States is comprised of 22 member states from the Middle East and Africa with its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

Arabic languages

The book explains the differences between classical Arabic, modern standard Arabic and regional dialects, such as Egyptian Arabic. A pronunciation guide follows, with vowel and consonant sounds and information on which syllable is stressed.

Each language guide is subdivided into sections including numbers, times, dates, border crossing, directions, signs, accommodations, sightseeing, shopping, photography, eating out and health. A dictionary follows, with translations from English to Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew etc.

Key Middle Eastern phrases

There are no photographs but there are color illustrations of Middle Eastern foods, drinks, art and architecture. Color-coded edges and print denote the various languages.

Each language section begins with a language difficulties section with phrases like: Do you speak English? I don't understand. Could you please speak more slowly?

The Tunisian Arabic section states that the second-person singular verb doesn't distinguish between masculine and feminine, unlike other varieties of Arabic, so males and females are addressed the same way.

The back of the book contains a culture section with a chronological history of the Middle East, information on Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish foods and notable festivals (e.g., the Bosra Festival in Syria and Holy Week in Jerusalem).

Pronunciation guide

The Lonely Planet Middle East phrasebook lists the following pronunciations for:

What is this called in (...)?
  • Arabic modern standard: maa 'is.mu haa.dhaa bil.lu.gha.til 'a.ra.bee.ya
  • Farsi: een ro dar faar.see chee mee.gan
  • Hebrew: ekh kor.im le.ze be.iv.rit
  • Turkish: boo.na tewrk.che.de ne de.neer
Middle East: Lonely Planet Phrasebook


  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Gulf Arabic
  • Levantine Arabic
  • Tunisian
  • Farsi
  • Hebrew
  • Turkish
  • Culture
    • history
    • food
    • festivals
    • sustainable travel


Lonely Planet publishes phrasebooks for more than 120 languages.

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