Take a guess. In Cardiff, which is the language most commonly spoken after English and Welsh? It’s a bit of an easy one, isn’t it? Yes, of course, it is Arabic!
Whilst the numbers aren’t huge – we’re talking 1.1% of Cardiff residents who speak Arabic as their native language – it’s quite an interesting figure. It bucks the trend across the rest of the UK, where, in general, the second language most commonly spoken is Polish.
This is because of the communities of mainly Yemeni and Somali Arabs who came to our port city back in the nineteenth century. And after a century and half, they have come to call Cardiff their home too.
Lucky you guys, we guess, because it makes Cardiff the perfect place to take Arabic language classes! With options to learn Arabic with a private tutor or in a formal Arabic language course, you’ll be bowled over by the opportunities that Wales’s beautiful capital has in store.
You may well be asking, why would someone like me want to learn Arabic? And, honestly, like most questions, it’s a legitimate question to ask.
Yet, it is worth stressing just how important a language Arabic is these days.
With over four hundred million native speakers, it is one of the top six most widely spoken world languages.
It is one of the official languages of the UN – meaning that it is a global language of government – and it is thought that it is going to be one of the top ten languages in the world that will be most influential for the UK in the coming century.
As you can see, a lot is expected of Arabic in the coming years as a major international language.
Some of the richest countries in the world are in the Arab world.
And besides the growing influence of the Arabic language across the world, you might want to consider the things to which you would have access if you were to understand it.
Arabic script, sure, is notoriously hard. Yet, having a greater understanding of this foreign language would open up all sorts of doors for you. From the beauty of Arabic poetry and Arab calligraphy to the historical contributions of the Arab world to science, medicine, and philosophy, classic Arabic learning has changed the way that people of the world think.
It is worth noting that you can unlock so much merely by taking the time to learn other languages.
You have probably heard spoken of before the importance of learning languages. And we’re talking importance for you, as an individual and as a body.
Because learning languages changes the way you think. It literally changes the way your brain works.
Learning a new language can make you live longer. It can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It makes you literally just cleverer, allowing a greater dexterity in your brain and a greater focus.
And then you have all the benefits that your teachers probably told you in school. Employers love people who can speak a second language – particularly in this ever-increasingly globalised world. You can communicate, make friends, and fall in love with millions more people if you can speak their language too.
All in all, it’s a pretty good idea. We’re endlessly surprised that more of us Brits don’t do it.
Learn how to read Arabic in Cardiff
Yet, Arabic, in particular, is one of those languages that you can’t really just pick up. Unlike the European languages – which will probably be at least a little familiar to most people – Arabic is probably going to be a little alien for you.
Arabic letters, Arabic vocabulary, and the difficulties of Arabic pronunciation will all pose a challenge. And it is unlikely that you’ll get through these challenges just by yourself.
This is the importance of Arabic lessons then. A good teacher will walk you through all of these struggles, ironing out the creases in your reading, your speaking, and your understanding.
And, when the going gets tough, they’ll remind you that it is all worth the effort in the long run.
So, here are some of the best places in which you can learn Arabic in Cardiff.
There are a range of options – but this is only because there are a range of different types of learner in the world too.
Whichever you pick, there is no right way to learn. Just make sure, before you take the plunge, that the course or tutor you’ve found feels right for you.
Unfortunately, the University of Cardiff does not yet offer the opportunity to study Arabic to degree level – even though it boasts quite an impressive languages department.
What it does do, however, is run regular part-time courses for adults who want to start out in their journey into a new language.
This includes Arabic, and the classes run in parallel to the University’s academic term time. So, you can start in September, January, and sometimes April.
The silver lining to the lack of an Arabic degree is the fact that you won’t be required to sit any examinations. What you will have instead is fun, social, and interactive classes focusing on the Arab script, reading and writing in Arabic, and speaking about the basic Arabic features you might need: numbers, greetings, and descriptions of yourself.
It is an entry-level – complete beginner – Arabic course. And, as a result, you won’t be flailing around in Arabic grammar or exploring the depths of Arabic literature. Rather, you’ll be focusing on managing to talk to Arabic speakers, when – say – you are in the Arab world on holiday.
Welcome to the world of Arabic!
If you are studying Arabic at a different university and want a helping hand during holidays – or you are seeking to learn the language from scratch or to just brush up on your language skills – you might find that the best option for you is private Arabic language instruction.
At Superprof, we pride ourselves on hosting a global community of passionate private tutors and enthusiastic students like you – whom we connect through our online platform. Through Superprof, over eight million teachers guide students in over a thousand subjects across the world.
You can have lessons at your home, at your tutor’s home, or have language lessons online. In any case, you will find a tutor who is committed, professional, and friendly – and guaranteed to improve your fluency and your knowledge of Arab culture.
We have three tutors available for private tuition in Cardiff. And it’s about time you got in touch!
One of the great institutions that Cardiff boasts is the Fayza Arabic Centre, a dedicated place for learning Arabic. Besides translation, interpretation, and a bit of cultural advocacy, Fayza is entirely set up to teach people of all ages this most important of languages.
Among the language courses that they offer, from the centre in Cathays, are classes in Modern Standard Arabic, GCSE Arabic language training, and language programs for those who are just seeking a basic knowledge of Arabic.
The classes are entirely tailored to your specific needs in language learning – and you’ll find yourself speaking Arabic in no time at all.
For those of you who don’t necessarily want formal face-to-face tuition, the world these days is full of novel ways of becoming fluent in a different language and culture.
One of these is the conversation class – or the ‘language meet up’ as they are often called – which sits you down with a native speaker for the sole purpose of developing your own spoken language.
The point of these is entirely communicative. You won’t necessarily be looking at the Arabic alphabet, or Arabic writing at all. You’ll rather focus on becoming more proficient in Arabic speaking.
My Language Exchange is a platform that organises such meet-ups, and there are many people involved in Cardiff. It’s a really important initiative – social, challenging, and mutually supportive – and it will help your spoken Arabic no end.
One of the things about Arabic is that it is an increasingly important language for business, international relations, and commerce.
This means that, if you are a businessperson hoping to take your organisation worldwide, you might want to train your staff in the art of speaking Arabic.
Luckily enough, there are plenty of organisations offering language programmes to corporations. And one of these is the UK Language Project.
Across most of the UK’s major cities, the UKLP has been working with businesses and individuals for ages. And, in Cardiff, they are based on the Newport Road.
So, whether you are the managing director of a company with global ambitions, or an employee who has been tasked with finding a language school for the business, you should consider the UKLP.