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Language barriers are less of an issue for newcomers than in most countries. Dubai is effectively bilingual, with road signs, maps and daily newspapers in English and most Emiratis speaking the language well.

Some public sector staff and other officials don’t have the same language skills and as a result can come across sounding quite brusque, though.

However, this usually has more to do with the imprecise art of translating Arabic into English than a desire to be rude. It is also worthwhile tuning your ear to the mix of Hindi or Urdu and English that you’ll commonly hear being spoken on the city’s streets.