A Glimpse of Everyday Emirati Culture

NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Lecturer of Arabic Nasser Isleem is the book's author.

"Yalla Narmis: The Top 2,000+ Words and Expressions for Understanding Emirati Dialect" aims to give language learners a natural feel for spoken Emirati Arabic

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Lecturer of Arabic Nasser Isleem has published a book that highlights aspects of the UAE’s rich heritage and culture, and identifies more than 2,000 Emirati common words and expressions, introducing readers to the everyday spoken Emirati dialect.

Titled Yalla Narmis: The Top 2,000+ Words and Expressions for Understanding Emirati Dialect, the book’s content was initially taught to non-Arab students at NYU Abu Dhabi. It is now available at the University’s campus bookstore and Amazon, and is aimed at Arabic language learners with a particular interest in the Emirati dialect.


“Looking up words in a dictionary is not efficient. Learning vocabulary and phrases in their natural context is efficient. This book will give learners a smooth, natural feel of the language. Learners need to understand how words can come together, making them sensible in Emirati Arabic. This is how you become fluent in Emirati Arabic; it is not about studying all the grammar rules, but rather knowing what phrases and expressions to use.” 

NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Lecturer of Arabic Nasser Isleem

Isleem is a native of Palestine and brings a wealth of experience in teaching all levels of Arabic language and culture. He joined NYU Abu Dhabi as a senior Arabic language lecturer in spring 2012. Throughout his professional career, he participated in several academic conferences where he addressed the importance of Arabic culture integration. Isleem is a pioneer in applying studies that examine the impact of using songs, proverbs, and other cultural expressions and components in teaching the Arabic language.

His previous publications include: Ramsah: An introduction to Learning Emirati dialect and culture, Popular Proverbs: An Entrance to Palestinian Culture, Perspectives: Arabic Language and Culture in Film, Popular Proverbs: An Entrance to Emirati Culture, and Arabic Language in the Emirati Films, Linguistic and Cultural Window on Emirati Films, among several others. More about Isleem's publications and work can be found on www.arabiyyaat.com.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.