Nouakchott - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can survive with English but your life will be much easier and your experience much more rewarding if you can speak French. So much of the news, information, menus, signs, tips and tricks for getting around here is in French. It is important to note that Arabic (in reality, Hassaniya) is the most widely spoken language and the country's official language. French is secondary. Most (but not all) Mauritanians speak French but it's their second/third/fourth/fifth language. Interestingly, Spanish is more common than French in the northern city of Nouadibou. - Aug 2021


French and Arabic. More so French everyone speaks French, seldom does anyone speak English. - Aug 2021


Local language is helpful but one can get around with a smile and a friendly way. Mauritanians are very welcoming and ready to help. - Sep 2020


Arabic is extremely useful here. French is also good for some people. Tutors are available you can find them through the yahoo group ExpatRIM. - Apr 2019


Not too much. If you speak French you can get by making change in the store or shopping. Aside from shopping I don't know how much interaction you would do with locals, really. - May 2016


French or Arabic is necessary to get around the city. Most of your household help does not speak English. - Dec 2015


You will need to speak French and it helps if you speak Arabic. - Apr 2014


You need to know some French if you want to talk to people. - Aug 2011


French is useful. - Dec 2009


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