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Things To Know In Preparation for Learning Arabic

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Arabic > Tips Before You Start an Arabic for Beginners Course

Do you want to learn Arabic? It’s an ambitious project.

Sometimes it only seems feasible to learn languages such as French, Spanish or Italian. Arabic feels a bit different. But why is this?

With an alphabet completely different from ours, and phonetics very different to those of English, is it even possible to try your luck in this language? Yes…Yes and Yes!

Here are some very common wrong assertions:

“Arabic has too many exotic sounds that are impossible for foreigners to learn.”

FALSE. There are only two or three sounds that are not found in English and these can be learned easily by imitation.

Arabic has a crazy vocabulary, with 400 words for a camel, 200 for a lion, and so on.

FALSE. Ancient poetry has a very complex and varied vocabulary. But the vocabulary of modern standard Arabic is no more complex than the vocabulary of another modern language.

Arabic Grammar is incredibly complicated.

FALSE. Its verb system is quite easy. For example, there are only two tenses, past and non-past.

So wait no more and go forth towards learning the Arabic language!

Is It Difficult to Learn the Arabic Language?

Before starting to learn Arabic, you may anticipate something so difficult that you’ll possibly slam on the brakes. And it’s true, Arabic can’t be learnt by snapping your fingers.

There is a long road to learning Arabic You can’t just walk right through the doors of Arabic–a little practice goes a long way!

Learning a language always means running into some difficulties!

Will you be able to overcome them in order to learn the Arabic language?

How Difficult Is It to Learn Arabic?

The US Department of State estimates that 80-88 weeks (approximately one year in the classroom and one year in the country) are required to achieve an Arab language education. This includes both oral and written levels.

In theory, it would take 2 years of intensive learning to be able to speak Arabic.

Easy Basics to Remember and Use

However, the first Arabic classes could seem easy.

If you want to learn the basics of Arabic, a few courses will probably be sufficient.

Make studying Arabic fun Can you learn Arabic with a smile?

One student, for example, noticed that some elements of the Arabic language are easier to learn:

  • It is extremely easy to pronounce the nominal genres of modern standard Arabic (the official language you learn at school). All female words end with tet marbuta (ة)
  • Direct and indirect objects are simple (just add a suffix to the verb)
  • The adjective versions are EASY, you just add tet marbuta at the end.

Conversely, once these notions have been learned, you could encounter certain difficulties:

  • A vocabulary very different from the Indo-European languages
  • Spoken Arabic is very different from written Arabic, and Arabic dialects from between the Arabic speaking countries
  • Reading from right to left
  • Foreign sounds and pronunciations

Can You Read the Quran On Your Own?

Reading the 114 suras of the holy book of Islam may seem arduous, especially when you don’t speak the Arabic language perfectly.

To study the Quran in its original form, it’s best to work on oral pronunciation; with a phonetic transcription, it will be easier to assimilate the vocabulary of the language of Ishmael.

The most practical?

Download the suras in an MP3 format on your laptop and listen to them in a loop in a calm atmosphere. Then, you will have to consult the English translation of the Quran to compare the two versions. With some practice you will retain the meanings without even realizing it!

Classical Arabic is the language of Islam and the Quran Studying the Quran allows you to discover the Arabic culture but also to develop linguistic competences.

Learning has to be broken down for it to be easier: begin by learning one verse a day and in one year you will have already retained more than 300 Quranic verses!

Studying the Quran makes it possible to practice the 3 methods of memorizing:

  • Reading the Quran puts visual memory to work,
  • Writing the Quran puts motor memory to work,
  • Listening to the Quran puts auditory memory to work.

Students must first test their own brain before choosing the method that suits him or her best.

Some prefer writing, whilst others prefer sounds…

The road to memorizing the Quran is a long one so you don’t worry if you are struggling to memorize all of the Quranic verses; it takes an average of 30 years to completely do this.

4 Tips on How to Learn Arabic On Your Own

Have you missed the window to sign up for Arabic at your local mosque or language institute? Naturally you’re upset. Especially if you have to wait until the next school year to finally start the Arabic language learning adventure you’ve been waiting so long for.

What can you do?

And why not tackle the language on your own? A senseless challenge when you think about it, but is it impossible? Recently, we wondered how long it would take to learn Arabic. Let us now turn to learning on your own.

Let’s be real, studying Arabic on your own will be very hard. Especially if you come from an Anglo-Saxon culture and you have to start from zero. But difficult is not impossible!

Here are some tips to make your life easier …

1. Learn the Arabic Alphabet First

If we were to choose a rule to remember first and foremost, it would obviously be this one! To be able to read Arabic, write Arabic and enrich your vocabulary with beautiful Arabic words, the alphabet will always be your starting point.

Tackling the Arabic language also means giving up the Latin alphabet that has served you all your life. Here, learning the Arabic language comes with a whole new alphabet for you to master.

The Arabic alphabet is the foundation for writing Arabic script The base for everything: the Arabic alphabet and its pronunciations.

Learning Arabic on your own means learning the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet. It’s a question of literacy. In addition, you will also need to memorize the pronunciation of these different letters. Visual memory, as well as auditory memory, are therefore solicited in this undertaking.

Finally, it is important that you also know that each letter includes 3 forms according to its place in a sentence: beginning, middle, and end.

2. Forget English Grammar

Your thoughts have always been in English, but you’ll have to quickly stop doing one thing if you’re going to learn Arabic fast; thinking in English.

This is true for any new language that you discover. Arabic does not escape this fact. Learning Arabic, whether it’s on your own or not, means above all having to start thinking in Arabic.

We cannot literally translate English into Arabic. It will therefore be necessary to do some serious learning of the grammar and syntax which is specific to the Arabic language.

3. Create Your Own Worksheets

Another tip you  when learning Arabic solo: make flashcards.

Let’s talk about the new alphabet first. Writing and rewriting the letters will allow you to memorize them faster.

But beyond that, the cards will allow you to accumulate Arabic vocabulary. We invite you to proceed as follows: write the vocabulary on flashcards, each according to a particular theme.

Arabic language flashcards are a good way to learn Why not add pictures to your letters with these colorful flashcards?

Obviously, you should start with the most important topics for your daily life. Some action verbs, for example. Then the human body, fruits and vegetables, crafts, numbers …

Once you’ve done this, you will only have to learn a dozen words per day in order to quickly enrich your  Arabic vocabulary.

4. Telling the Difference Between Dialectal Arabic and Literal Arabic

Finally, the importance of differentiating between dialectal Arabic and literal Arabic:

  • You will probably need the latter in order to familiarize yourself with the Arabic language. Literal Arabic includes classical Arabic and modern standard Arabic.
  • Dialectal Arabic is a “derivative” of the Arabic language and of neighboring languages that are found in the Maghreb or the Middle East. Dialectal Arabic differs from country to country and therefore Egyptian Arabic is different to Moroccan Arabic, and Lebanese Arabic is not the same as Syrian or Iraqi Arabic.

Arabic for Beginners: 3 Apps to Help You Learn Arabic

In the digital age, you can imagine that many smartphone and tablet applications have been created to allow you to learn Arabic quickly.

There are many advantages of apps for learning Arabic, and for those who do not necessarily prefer the “private tutoring” option, apps are often the preferred option for students who want to learn Arabic on their own.

There are many, but to make your life easier, we have selected some for you.

1. Free Arabic Phrases by Em0

This app offers Arabic language flashcards on different topics. You could learn how to greet people, ask for directions, talk about food, etc… Its user-friendly, so will make you excel in Arabic language learning. It has a great lexicon and search option. It also has a cool recording feature that you can use to improve your Arabic pronunciation.

2. Learn Arabic – AccelaStudy

Learn Arabic – AccelaStudy is super well designed. It has a vintage feel that looks like paper flash cards. Select the topics you want to learn, and study flashcards that translate from English or Arabic. The app also offers verbs, vocabulary, pictures, statistics, favorite words, and written and audio quizzes. There are upgrades available for $9.99.

3. Keefak

Keefak a fun app for those of Lebanese descent or who are relocating to beautiful Lebanon. This app focuses on Lebanese dialect specifically. It’s pretty basic and this one does not have flashcards but a great conversation feature, which will enable reading and listening to Arabic language conversations.  Let’s not forget its vocabulary features.

3 Dictionaries to Learn Arabic and Its Words

To learn to speak Arabic, you must have a base in vocabulary (at least 200 words). What’s more, phonetics can help you to read and pronounce Arabic.

To help you, here are some available English Arabic dictionaries

Google Translation

Some of you may not agree with this recommendation. The Google translations were once super rough, but things have changed!

In 2016, the American giant modified their translation algorithm by adding neural machine techniques. The goal being precision!

Lexilogos English Arabic Dictionary

Ideal for learning the Arabic language and a multitude of words, this website offers more than 28,000 translation articles!

It’s also great if you are abroad in Arab countries: the app works offline.

Glosbe

Before you learn to read Arabic from right to left completely, you will have to assimilate many words, verbs, and other Arabic expressions.

The Anglo-Arabic Glosbe dictionary will prove very useful for this task!

A specialist of foreign dictionaries and foreign languages, Glosbe.com offers almost 90 000 translated sentences! For every translated Arabic word, you can also access contextual examples.

Also please note that online you can use a virtual Arabic keyboard to impress your Arabic teacher or friends.

Use an Arabic keyboard to learn Arabic script Online keyboard for Arabic letters.

Examples:

= 3araby = عربي

5 = 5arita = خريطة
7 = 7olm = حلم
9 = 9alami = قلمي
A = Arab = عرب
B = botola = بطولة
C = clavier = كلافي
D = dafatir = دفاتر
E = elbotola = البطولة
F = facebook = فيسبوك
G = google = جوجل
H = hespress = هسبرس
I = instagram = إنستجرم
J = jazeera = جزيرة
K = kooora = كورة
L = lala moulati = للا مولاتي
M = massar = مسار
N = nokat = نكت
O = outlook = اوتلوك
P = panet = بانت
Q = quran = قرآن
R = radio = راديو
S = startimes2 = ستارتايمز2
T = tarbawiyat = تربويات
U = utorrent = أترنت
V = video = فيديو
W = wadifa = وضيفة
X = xbox = اكسبوكس
Y = youtube = يوتيوب
Z = zina = زينة

Different Ways to Learn Arabic: 2 Websites to Perfect Arabic Learning

Learning Arabic at a young age is a good idea If these kids can do it, then so can you!

As you can imagine, the internet abounds with methods to learn Arabic online. Not all of them are to be adopted.

We’ve sorted through them for you.

Speak

The Speak Language site is also in English.

You can log in using your Facebook account, and this language learning platform allows you to have fun whilst you learn the Arabic alphabet.

The site also gives you the opportunity to meet native Arabic speakers, as well as to consolidate your Arabic vocabulary with the help of linguistic games.

Great for learning Arabic online for free, and side by side with linguistic partners who are native arabophones and have Arabic as their mother tongue.

Not bad, don’t you think?

Al-Kunuz

More than just a simple website, this is an online learning language institute in order to learn to speak and write classical Arabic, standard Egyptian Arabic and Quranic Arabic and the science of its pronunciation, called Tajwid (the art of reciting the holy book).

Al-Kunuz started in 2006 and has long been considered a pioneer of learning Arabic online.

With classes for both students and adults of all levels, classes are available for beginners all the way through to students of a more advanced level.

One great thing about this site is that the teachers are all Arabic native speakers, mostly of Egyptian origin. They have all studied how to teach Arabic as a second language to non Arabic speakers.

There are a wide range of options available depending on what you are looking for, from one-on-one classes to group lessons.

Studying Arabic Alone Thanks to MOOC

MOOC (meaning Massive Open Online Course) are online lessons available to everyone for free. Here, the lessons are written by qualified teacher-researchers from French or ivy league schools.

As an outsider, it is entirely possible to access the MOOC language courses without having done extensive studies: revision worksheets are available to everyone.

These free virtual schools allow students to get in touch directly with teachers or other students to discuss the academic difficulties encountered during the language lesson.

Online Arabic courses are a useful tool A computer and a good internet connection are all you need in order to learn Arabic in just a few months.

MOOC courses sometimes give a student the opportunity to pass a language certification: this certification does not replace a formal diploma, but can be a huge asset on your CV!

Be careful, however: all MOOC courses have a deadline!

Please visit the website to find out about all of the available courses on MOOC.

So this will be your way to learn the Quranic language free of charge while meeting other students who have already been through the learning phase!

5 Tips to Learn Arabic While Having Fun

There are a number of fun ways to learn Arabic. Here are our top choices.

1. Practise With an Arabic Speaker

Gone are the days of searching for a language partner in the classifieds of the newspapers…

Today, thanks to the Internet, English students can have long-distance friendships with Arabic-speaking friends!

Arabic is an official language in 22 countries and by learning it, English people of all ages can take the opportunity to discover a new culture and learn more about Arabic dialects.

Chatting online with an Arab person allows you to train your conversational skills and discover Arabic grammar thanks to a playful linguistic exchange!

Here, “real” Arabic prevails: you will train your ear to understand the Arabic language by learning the country’s slang or the idiomatic expressions of the language of the ḍād.

Try to practise with an Arabic native Have a meaningful cultural exchange with an Arabic friend!

 

Several online platforms offer linguistic exchanges between English and Arabic speakers:

  • Swapasap,
  • Students of the World,
  • Penpal Tradition,
  • MosaLingua…

Thanks to your friend from Algeria or Morocco, you may be able to organize a language exchange with a host family in order to completely immerse yourself in the Arab world and strengthen your new friendship.

This is great when you want to do an internship abroad in a North African country or in the Emirates!

2. Educational Games

Why not learn a new language in a playful way?

For children, but also adult beginners, free online educational games allow people who speak nothing but their mother tongue to learn while having fun.

Educational games are not just about the Arabic language: you can also learn Arabic geography by finding the capitals on virtual maps or discover Arabic first names that are the most used in North Africa.

Online games allow for improvement in the language of Ishmael, but also to have your brain work through memory training, linguistic analysis, and Arabic phonetics.

Traditional Arabic food can help you learn the language and culture Why not taste some traditional food at Jemmaa el-Fna Square!

On the educational Arabic websites specialized in games, several activities are being proposed to students:

  • Memo-letters for writing practice,
  • Memory games to learn colors,
  • Online activities to discover the Arabic names for animals,
  • The calculator is for memorizing Arabic numerals,
  • Musical games to retain Arabic sounds.

The main objective is to increase your final score each time. Without realizing it, children will naturally memorize the Arabic vocabulary and improve in English-Arabic translation.

If you want your child to become an English-Arabic bilingual, it is important for him or her to start learning before the age of 10, as this is when a child can best memorize a foreign language.

Teaching young children Arabic is a great idea, and online educational games are a gentle way of doing this.

3. Can We Learn Arabic through Videos?

Today Youtube and Dailymotion have hundreds of videos inviting you to learn Arabic. Great language professors will film themselves in order to share their lesson plans.

It is up to you to choose amongst this jungle of Arabic language solutions and courses.

However, if you are just starting your language learning, we trust the site edupediaworld.com which offers certain language learning videos.

You will find everything you need in terms of videos in order to learn the alphabet, the different letters and their pronunciation, as well as a tutorial to learn how to write vowels.

4. What About Arabic Language Learning Books?

Now that you’ve checked out digital tools (websites and apps), what do you think of hitting the books again in order to learn the Arabic language?

Are you tempted? One book recommended by many Arabic speakers for learning the language is Living Language Arabic, Complete Edition: Beginner through advanced course.

Thanks to this handy book, you’ll be introduced to the Arabic alphabet and the Arabic script through a great teaching method.

The best part about it? The book promises one thing: mastering the Arabic alphabet and writing in Arabic after just 6 weeks!

5. What about Traveling?

For those of you who are adventurers, there is one last option: learn Arabic abroad.

Immerse yourself in Arabic What about visiting Dubai?

You may not have considered the possibility before, but why not try immersing yourself in an Arab country in order to learn the language? The method always works, whatever the language.

Superprof’s advice is to learn the basics of the Arabic language before going on your trip. Focus on the alphabet and the pronunciation of the letters in order to progress quicker! The objective here is not to start from scratch when arriving in the country of your choice. You have to try to save yourself some time.

Once you are there you will be surrounded by native speakers both at work and in your social life.

Being completely immersed in a brand new linguistic environment can only stimulate and foster your abilities to learn Arabic solo.

Learning the Arabic Language by Listening

Every linguist will tell you the same thing: listening is very important to learning!

Yes, in order to learn the Arabic language, you have to learn to listen attentively and not just grasp the general meaning of things.

Discover the best audio out there to improve your Arabic!

 

The Best Arabic Series to Learn Arabic

In North African countries, series are watched as a family. Young and old come together to enjoy the shows that run every night on Hertzian cable channels.

The Ramadan period is particularly conducive to “binge-watching.” In North Africa, an average of 5 hours a day is spent watching TV during this period, which is twice as long as the rest of the year.

TV series are ideal for Arabic language improvement!

Start by watching the series in VO with English subtitles in order to retain the lines of dialogue and to understand the general background of the series. Progressively, attempt original subtitles in order to memorize the Arabic vocabulary.

Some Arabic series are only shown during Ramadan.

The most experienced of pupils can even do without subtitles and enjoy the show without having to look down every 5 seconds!

The series or films allow learners to study the language while having fun: by following passionately the intrigues of the characters, we learn undoubtedly more about the Maghrebian traditions and the customs of the country!

Among the most popular Arabic series are:

  • Nsibti La’ziza (Tunisia),
  • Day Bouzid (Algeria),
  • The couple (Morocco)
  • Omar (Saudi Arabia),
  • Arab Labor (Israel),
  • Sanaoud Baad Kalil (Lebanon).

Nevertheless, in order to learn Arabic through a series, you don’t necessarily have to go through a local series.

One of the most effective ways to learn Arabic is to watch an episode of a series that you know by heart!

If you know all of the words, you could choose to watch this same episode in Arabic to immediately link the responses you know with the Arabic terms used: thanks to the quick linking of vocabulary, you will build on your lexicon for everyday life.

Learn Arabic through Music

Whether it’s Arabic or English–everyone knows that children often learn their mother tongue through music!

How can we explain this phenomenon? Music is fun–and fun is perfect for learning!

Music is essential when you want to perfect your skills in a foreign language.

If you enjoy learning Arabic, the process will be easier You’ll hit that sweet spot of pleasure when you become fluent in Arabic.

In a 2013 study conducted on the link between music and memorization, Dr. Karen Ludke, co-author of the experiment published in Memory and Cognition, came to the following conclusions:

“The results suggest that a “listening and singing” learning method can facilitate memory for spoken language sentences. Most people have already remembered words from songs and songs can sometimes be used by language teachers when teaching young children.”

Yes, to learn Arabic, you have to…sing!

If you become addicted to an Arabic song, you will start singing it on the bus or in your car without realizing it. So take the time to check the lyrics on the Internet along with their translation: in 3 minutes, you’ll have enriched your Arabic vocabulary in a pedagogical and playful way.

Bonus for Arabic Learning

Depending on your expectations, it is important to choose the type of Arabic language teaching you’re going to partake in.

Modern Arabic is usually most recommended. It is a good supplement to learning classical Arabic.

Dialectal Arabic can be taught if one wishes to work, live, or teach in a specific Arabic-speaking country.

Choosing between modern standard Arabic, classical Arabic (Qur’anic), and dialectal Arabic is important.

There are a number of resources online to help you with this choice.

What is Modern Standard Arabic and Why Should You Learn it?

Unless your interest is limited to a particular country, the safest option is to learn a version of Arabic’s classical language known as modern standard Arabic.

Visit an Arabic speaking country to practice with the locals Why take Standard Modern Arabic classes?

It’s used throughout the Arab world, but is generally limited to writing with an international audience: literature, newspapers, education, radio/television news programs, political speeches, etc…

Among the Arabic TV stations, here are the ones available with cable packages:

  • MBC
  • Rotana Classic
  • Rotana Clip
  • Ennahar TV
  • Echorouk TV
  • Nessma
  • El Hiwar Ettounsi
  • Al Resalah
  • Baraem
  • Jeem TV

For the Moroccan, Tunisian, or Algerian chains, you’ll have to speak to your cable company.

What is Classical Arabic (Quranic) and Why Study It?

If your interest is more specific to Islamic or medieval Arabic studies, a classical Arabic or Quranic Arabic course will meet your needs.

This is the Arabic used in the Holy Quran, used in religious, intellectual, legal and classical texts.

This is also the basis of modern Arabic. For a thorough learning experience, it is therefore preferable to already have notions of classical Arabic.

What’s Dialectal Arabic and Why Learn It?

If you’ve decided to live in any part of the Arab world or visit a specific Arab region or country, you should learn their specific Arabic dialect.

The dialects differ a lot across different regions (Mesopotamia, Persian Gulf, Arabic Egyptian etc …).

Dialectal Arabic is a vernacular language spoken everyday. It can be transposed to “the expression of the local people’s appropriation of the language of the conqueror, a process begun in the early days of the expansion of Islam.”

If Arabic is not your native language, then we’d like to wish you good luck (“in cha allah”)!

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