"Arabic is very twisting, very beautiful. The call to prayer is quite haunting; it almost makes you a believer on the spot." -John Updike
Arabic is a beautiful language that first emerged in the Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the most commonly spoken language in the Arab world.
Classical Arabic is the "sacred language" of over 1.8 billion Muslims according to a 2015 estimate which makes Islam the second most practised religion after Christianity concerning followers. On the other hand, Modern Standard Arabic is widely spoken across the Middle East and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations along with Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
It is estimated that there are over 422 million people who speak Arabic, native and non-native, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world.
Since Arabic has ancient roots, it has influenced many modern-day languages such as Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Spanish, Bosnian, Hindi, Malay and Indonesian.
Due to social issues, many Arabic speaking people have immigrated to European countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Germany seeking a better life. As a result of immigration, many nations all over the world have been blessed with the savoury foods from Arabic-speaking countries, (who's craving a Shawarma or some falafels right about now?), and the unique elements of Arabic culture such as their language, literature, art, music and philosophy.
For political, social and economic reasons, or pure interest in the Arab tongue, many individuals all over the world are learning Arabic as a second or third language, and citizens of the United Kingdom are no exception. Therefore, to meet the needs of interested ones, Brummies will be pleased to discover that many places and tutors offer Arabic lessons in the Greater Birmingham area.
Benefits of Learning Arabic
"Learn the Arabic language; it will sharpen your wisdom." -Umar
Umar your ancient is completely right; learning a new language is very beneficial and has been scientifically proven to boost brain power, improve memory, enhance multitasking abilities and ameliorates performance in other academic areas.
Learning Arabic is no exception; there are many social, economic and political benefits of becoming fluent in Arabic. The following are some of the significant benefits of starting to learn Arabic today:
- Job opportunities: as a young professional fresh out of university with a Bachelor's or Masters in Business, it would be a wise decision to start thinking about your future. Since the development of modern-day technology, the world has become a global village, and there are work opportunities everywhere. Growing fluent in another language makes you stand out among fellow applicants and widens the possibilities for jobs all around the world. Of all potential tongues to learn, Arabic is highly recommended since many countries in the Middle East, where Arabic is predominantly spoken, like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have become significant players in the world economy and international business,
- More accessible to Travel: while some residents of Arabic-speaking countries are fluent in English, the majority speak Arabic. Even if your patience only allows you to learn how to say everyday words and phrases, the residents will appreciate your efforts, you will feel more absorbed in the culture and more thoroughly enjoy traditional villages or points of interest while travelling through the Middle East and parts of Africa where Arabic is spoken. Think of how cool you'd feel conversing with your guide in Arabic while riding on a camel to visit Petra in Jordan. Did I just help you plan your next trip?
- Cultural Richness: the Arab culture dates back many centuries, and by learning Arabic you will be fully able to absorb yourself in their way of life, music, literature and cuisine. You'll appreciate the Arab culture's practices that are not usually open to the Western world such as the values that matter much to them like hospitality, dignity and honour.
If the previous three benefits are not enough to convince interested ones in learning Arabic, I don't know what will!
Why not start learning Arabic in London?
Where to Study Arabic in Birmingham
Birmingham is the second most populous city in the United Kingdom with the wider Birmingham metropolitan area having a total population of 3.7 million inhabitants.
It is consistently referred to as the UK's "second city" and is home to many immigrants from all over the world. A large portion of Brummies was born outside the UK, and there are significant populations of Asians, Blacks and Arabs living in Birmingham.
According to a 2013 article published by the Telegraph, Birmingham has one of the youngest populations in Europe and students come from 87 different ethnic groups with many pupils speaking Polish, Arabic or Afrikaans at home.
As a result of the wide variety of ethnic groups, many instructors are now teaching their foreign tongues to interested ones; which means that Arabic can be learnt in public institutions or by taking courses with a private tutor.
Lookup for Arabic classes here.
The following are a couple of public institutions where students can learn Arabic:
- Brasshouse Languages: located on the first floor of the Birmingham Library, Brasshouse Languages offers courses in over 30 modern-day languages such as French, German, Italian and, of course, Arabic. Classes are extended to beginner and advanced students. The highly qualified staff comes from all over the world. Students discover the invaluable power of learning a foreign language,
- University of Birmingham: at this distinguished university, there is the opportunity for interested ones of all ages to take part in Arabic courses via the Languages for All programme on an extracurricular basis. There is even the option to attend the Arabic Level One as a free course. Learning Arabic at a professional level has never been so accessible or enjoyable in the city of Birmingham!
Check out Arabic lessons in Belfast!
Professional Arabic tutors can be found in the Greater Birmingham area using a few brilliant tutor finding resources. The following are the best online resources to find an Arabic tutor near you:
- Superprof: a fantastic online resource designed for finding tutors specialising in any subject near you. There are a few Arabic tutors near Birmingham that offer competitive prices for students who want to learn the basics of the Arab language. There is also the opportunity to learn Arabic remotely with qualified teachers offering online classes who are located in other parts of the United Kingdom.
The beautiful Arabic language is challenging to master; however, with caring, charismatic and credentialed private tutors the whole learning experience becomes rewarding and unforgettable.
Tips for Studying Arabic
Learning or becoming fluent in Arabic is no simple feat. According to some linguistic experts, Arabic is the second most challenging language to learn for English speakers, after Mandarin.
Arabic is difficult to master since most letters are written in four different forms depending on where they are placed in a word. Adding to the complication, the vowels are not included when writing, and Arabic has many different dialects.
James Craig celebrated Arabist and former ambassador to Saudi Arabia would often joke about learning Arabic and say, "The first 20 years are the hardest."
Nevertheless, the previous challenging reasons should not discourage you; nothing great and rewarding comes without its challenges.
The following are some of the best tips and tricks to make learning Arabic more attainable to all:
- Flashcards Will Save Your Life: Arabic has an endless pit of vocabulary and even if you think the word is insignificant and that you will never see it again, write it down! It will come back, and the flashcards will help you effectively remember words from a wide range of categories such as entertainment, cuisine or travel,
- Set Goals Before Starting: why are you learning Arabic? For business? For travel? For pleasure? Having realistic goals will motivate you to keep learning and prevent you from getting discouraged during hard times. Knowing your goals also helps you to choose key vocabulary,
- Don't Be Afraid to Speak: when learning a new language, many beginners are often too shy to practise their newly acquired words or phrases with native speakers. This tendency needs to be avoided like the plague. Even with Arabic's strange grammar rules and weird words, saying a little bit of what you know is better than remaining silent. It is also important to mention that native Arabic speakers are probably the world's most avid supporters of foreign language students. They'll cheer you on and invite you a piece of baklava to motivate you to keep going!
Learning Arabic is highly recommended for all residents of the United Kingdom. Brummies should motivate themselves to learn a second or third language to keep up with all the different ethnicities moving to Birmingham.
Whatever your primary reasons for studying Arabic may be, private tutors and teachers in the Greater Birmingham area would be overjoyed to help you learn your first Arabic words!
Glaswegians would also be pleased to hear that they can find Arabic classes in the Greater Glasgow area.