Given that Kuwait is one of the world’s Arab nations, Arabic is inherently the predominant language in the country. Modern Standard Arabic is Kuwait’s official language, however, Kuwaiti Arabic is preferred for the day-to-day communication within the country. Kuwait is home to a large immigrant workforce who use English along with their native languages. Expatriates make up for about 70% of the population of Kuwait, which is why the country has such an increasingly diverse linguistic landscape.

Modern Standard Arabic is mainly used in journalism and education in Kuwait, with the spoken form of Arabic having evolved depending on the region where it is being used. Gulf Arabic is the variant of the Arabic language which is used in Kuwait, or more specifically, Kuwaiti Arabic. Kuwaiti Arabic features many loan words from Indian, Persian, English, Turkish and Italian, due to immigration and trade. Dialects used in Kuwait’s urban and rural areas differ slightly. Locally, Kuwaiti Arabic is known as Khaliji, Khamseh, and Al Hasaa in other Arab nations. Kuwait’s public, as well as private schools teach students in Modern Standard Arabic, and at university levels, lectures are conducted in Arabic in courses with a religious or historical focus. Official documents, newspapers, books and magazines all feature Modern Standard Arabic.

Major foreign languages spoken in Kuwait are English and French. French is a medium of instruction for students learning humanities for only two years, so it cannot be said that the influence of French is very strong in Kuwait. In comparison, English holds a significant position in the educational curriculum of Kuwait, and is taught along with Arabic in the schools all over the country. There has been a growing demand for western education due to factors such as the importance of an English foundation for advanced education overseas. Many students are not deterred from enrolling in schools operating on British and American curriculums, despite the high tuition fees. English in Kuwait is sometimes used in business, and is generally widely understood. There are many TV and radio broadcasts in Kuwait which use English, as well as many road, business and restaurant signs that are written in both English and Arabic.

The main immigrant languages spoken in Kuwait include Persian, Hindi, Urdu and Farsi. Other minority immigrant groups include Omani and Balochis. Tagalog has also been gaining ground in Kuwait due to large numbers of Filipino workforce which is being outsourced in the recent years.


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