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Just a question I was wondering: in the Middle East when meeting someone for the first time, do you automatically assume they will know Modern Standard Arabic? Arabic too me is slightly more confusing than many other languages purely on the basis of there being so many different dialects, many of which can almost count as languages in their own right! I assume conversations need to begin with asking which dialect to converse in. Toughts?

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It's a very hard question to answer. It really depends on the person. I would say it's safe to assume that most educated Arabs would know MSA but it really depends on the country. For example in Morroco you might have a better chance of getting around in French than MSA. But in the gulf countries MSA is probably understanable. I think it really depends, mots Arabs I've talked to have always told me to learn MSA and not mess with the dialects.

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