Arabic is a fascinating language made up of different dialects and written forms, and is the 5th most spoken language in the world.
Having just a conversational level whereby you can communicate with a native speaker by using only a few key Arabic words or Arabic phrases and expressions will stand you in good stead if you want to visit an Arab country, either socially or professionally
Therefore learning this Semitic language is an enriching process at any age, but it is also an investment.
Arabic initiation classes, private tutorials to improve your level, language schools or language study vacation to become bilingual, are all costly options that will require sacrifices to your leisure time.
Perhaps the Arabic language and culture appeal to you but you don’t know about the different forms or dialects. Maybe you want to learn more about the language of the Quran and the Islamic faith. Or it might be that you just want to be get a better cultural understanding of this ancient language.
Whatever it is, you will need to learn the alphabet, and how to read and write Arabic. Then, it will be important to know about Arabic grammar and vocabulary, and to understand the difference between Arabic dialects in order to increase your fluency and proficiency.
To do this, there isn’t a quick fix; you need to take lessons.
Here are Superprof’s tips on how to begin taking Arabic classes.
What better time to pick up a new hobby or activity than right now. An intensive Arabic course could be what you are looking for. But how much will it cost?
During your research to find your teacher, you should know the different prices and rates of private Arabic classes.
The cost of Arabic classes will vary dramatically in price
Of course, it would be good to know that the price of a one hour lesson can vary according to several aspects:
In the US, the price of a half-hour private lesson can vary, but on average you will find them for around $20.
Unlike Math teachers or English teachers, Arabic teachers are more rare to find depending on the place of residence, which can affect the hourly price.
Therefore, costs are higher in the big cities (from $15 to $40) because of the cost of living in the region, which logically reflects in the professor’s pricing.
The price of a one hour course fluctuates according to the level of the teacher and therefore their experience. This seems logical: the teacher whose mother tongue is Arabic will, a priori, give better quality classes than a student in Eastern languages and civilizations.
Generally, a teacher should have at least three years’ worth of education above his / her pupil. The level of education in the specific language varies and is sensitive to the price of a one hour course: the hourly rate of a course increases with the level of competence.
At school, prices for introductory courses for children in elementary school will be lower than those at the secondary and university levels.
It is also logical that the teacher requires a higher expense when the breadth of knowledge and the difficulty to be transmitted increases. In addition to grammar and spelling in Arabic, students need to acquire a particular methodology in high school and university.
Some private lessons are set at $30 net per half-hour for university-level lessons.
Finally, depending on the type of course required, prices also change. The market for private tuition in the US is very wide, as evidenced by the range of courses available for pupils, from the cheapest to the most expensive:
However, the price of one hour of Arabic lessons should not be the only criterion of choice.
Language training does not respond to rational logic; what is cheaper isn’t necessarily going to be the best.
You can find poor quality teachers charging $60 an hour, just as they charge $10. In contrast, super tutors and teachers vary from all prices! What counts more is the human relationship, and that the relationship that is maintained so that something is exchanged between tutor and pupil.
So, how do you find the Arabic teacher who will match your wishes?
Five things should be taken into account for anyone wishing to take Arabic classes who needs to find an Arabic teacher:
Before you do anything else, try to get the best idea about your level in Arabic. This will help you to target your ambitions – why learn this language? -, and find the right teacher.
Would you like to be intermediate? Become bilingual? Take intensive courses to obtain a diploma, win a competition, land a job interview? Extend your general culture and language skills?
Do you want to have an Islamic education? Do you already know basic Arabic? Would you like to learn the Arabic alphabet, grammar and vocabulary? Can you write in Arabic and read it?
Try to pass tests online to gauge your level of Arabic.
Private home courses and online Arabic courses will be inefficient if you want to become bilingual. Opt in this case for a teacher who is a native speaker in an Arabic language school.
However on the other hand, to acquire a low level, private tuition will be perfect.
What are the values that bring you and the teacher together? Choose the teacher who you believe can adapt to your level, and who does not hastily judge you. Maybe that also means not opting for the professional teacher that has a degree in language courses.
You will need to get along perfectly with your teacher and be comfortable to improve your speaking skills. The courses must be used to eliminate the blocking points, so an Arabic professor must be patient.
In order to perfect your Arabic vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, the “good teacher” you have found must also be listening. If they try to teach you the language in their own way and that doesn’t work for you, they are not the right teacher for you.
Other qualities can be listed, since the values of a good teacher are not exhaustive:
So once you have your teacher, the question arises: how many private lessons are necessary to learn to speak Arabic well?
First, the frequency of Arabic courses required to become an Arabic speaker varies from one student to another, from one teacher to another, and according to your ambitions.
Depending on your ambitions, your level and your teacher, the frequency of Arabic courses will be different.
Nevertheless, what matters for optimal learning is to bring together motivation, time, budget, and stimulation of your cognitive skills.
Despite very disparate cognitive abilities from one pupil to another, no two people are equal when it comes to language learning.
Thus, for Arabic classes, it might take you a year to internalize what might take another almost three years to assimilate.
For example, a student who already speaks English, German, Spanish or Portuguese, will probably learn more quickly than a person who is learning Arabic for beginners and knows no other language other than their mother tongue.
There is also a link between the practice of an instrument and the learning of languages: a musician (pianist, guitarist, flutist, violinist, etc.) will usually be able to learn a language more rapidly than a student who has never learned to read or play music. Music is a bit like a language of its own.
For Arabic introductory classes, one hour per week is a minimum.
For individual tutoring, in order to improve your academic results, or acquire a correct level of Arabic, you should probably allow two hours of classes per week.
Finally, the intensive courses, concentrated in time, can be anywhere from five to ten hours a week.
It all depends on the goal set by the student. This will control the volume of personal work done and the level of self-investment.
A good Arabic teacher will give you all the more desire to progress. As well as motivating you, a good teacher will help you with your Arabic pronunciation, whether they speak Egyptian, Moroccan, Lebanese or any other Arabic dialect.
If your teacher has a pedagogy and an effective learning method, then you will need less Arabic lessons than with a teacher who has no course progression.
You have motivation, an excellent native Arabic teacher, who has a very open-mind, and your thirst for learning about the culture of the Arab-Muslim world is inexhaustible.
But after a while, as in any sport or practicing a hobby, your level seems to improve less quickly than at the beginning. Why? How can you optimise your Arabic lessons?
Properly preparing your body, revising and practicing regularly, are the tools for to optimize your Arabic classes.
Start by preparing your body. And yes, just as it can be during your sports training, your brain is very much required in language classes.
It’s important to:
To be able to listen actively during private lessons, your body needs to be in its best shape.
Because a student who listens to his teacher has already done 80% of the memorization work.
If one is tired, distracted and dispersed, if the work environment is noisy, if one is hungry and the body is stiff – stretching is important – the student’s concentration will be constantly lacking during the session.
Asking questions without fear and working regularly in your lessons are the keys to optimal and effective learning.
Eliminate the idea from your head that there are stupid questions. If your brain is new to Arabic, all the teacher’s answers are welcome and useful.
Do not push back your questions, because the pedagogical teacher is there to make things click into place and to to wake up the bilingual Arabic that is dwelling inside you!
Are you considering choosing the Arabic language and civilization option in the first and last year?
If so, you are a step ahead of your friends. Arabic is a fascinating language made up of different dialects and written forms. Your private lessons will help you learn about Arabic language and culture, Arabic literature and civilization and its dialects (Arabic dialect, literary Arabic).
Your native Arabic teacher will get more involved in the course if you are interested in it.
If they speak Egyptian Arabic, or if he comes from a Maghrebi country, etc., ask them about their own culture of origin – you will instill a climate that will be a win-win interchange.
But beware! It will be necessary to work and review your lessons diligently. Find thirty minutes or an hour a day to read the alphabet, write vocabulary words and revise the grammar.
This effort and determination will only benefit you.
And perhaps at the end of the school year, after having practiced your new dialect orally and assimilated the writing of the Arabic alphabet, you will want to practice the language of Ishmael outside the courses:
Maybe you have decided to spend the summer in Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, or any other Arabic speaking country in the Middle East and North Africa, to perfect your level of Arabic. But before thinking about holidays, you need to study for your exams.
The Arabic program in high school is quite voluminous. You will probably have to work hard to meet the objectives set by the official program, but these efforts are spread over several years of study.
Pass your Arabic exams by using special tutoring outside of the classroom
There are a total of six objectives to be mastered for your Arabic exam:
Overall, Arabic courses in high schools aim to:
Also ask your private teacher to bring you Egyptian press articles to analyze: reading newspaper articles will improve your level of Arabic reading and, in addition, expand your general culture.
Students must master the alphabet and reading.
So work with your teacher on the methodology of writing, and optimize your classes with weekly training in Arabic writing.
At the beginning of your private lessons, learning the alphabet, reading and writing Arabic, grammar and Arabic vocabulary seemed the equivalent of climbing Mount Sinai (2285 m).
Today, after a few years of study and hard work, your efforts are rewarded because you are equipped with all the tools to speak this language well.
So thank your teacher who has followed you and guided you to your success!