DUBAI //Older Emiratis will tell you a barkhees is unlikely to buy you so much as an aranjous.
That will not mean much to many young Emiratis, as barkhees (miser) and aranjous (orange juice) are old slang terms unique to the Arabic spoken in the UAE.
Realising many such words could soon be lost if not recorded, Faisal Jassim and Thani Al Shafar, both 25, have launched a virtual dictionary of Emirati terminology in Arabic and English.
Their iPhone application Thikrayat (at www.appthik.co) collates these words for posterity and often pairs them with illustrations.
The name of the application is an old word meaning things remembered from the past.
"We started by accident," said Mr Al Shafar.
"We were getting to know words through the elderly in the family that we had never heard of before. We realised that we no longer used such words, so we started collecting them."
Mr Jassim said this disconnect between generations was "a tragedy, because these words give flavour to the Emirati dialect".
So far, 100 words have been included and 300 more with illustrations are to be released soon. Among the words that were fading from the language are nomlait, for lemonade; dahdeeha, meaning quick; and pankah, for ceiling fan.
"Our society has been established based on an oral history and our ancestors didn't read and write," Mr Jassim said. "When they pass away, their history and memories will be gone as well.
"If we don't preserve them now, they'll be lost. These words are what gives us a flavour. It's like our saffron, our spices."
Mr Al Shafar said the app was also aimed at engaging expatriates.
"The application can be accessed globally and foreigners can download it before coming to the UAE, and know the language and learn about the UAE culture," he said.
The two also accept feedback and suggestions from the public.
"We want the application to become a community project," said Mr Jassim. "This is the Wikipedia of Emirati culture."