Arabic is an intimidating language to learn, but taking your first steps on this journey can open up a whole world of travel, culture, and understanding — and a better understanding of your deen. The hospitable reputation of Arabic-speaking countries means you’ll be welcomed with open arms if you travel to further your understanding of the language, and if you’re interested in deeper study of the Qur’an, then Arabic is the language for you.
Don’t be intimidated by learning a new language — anyone can learn Arabic, even if it’s not a familial language for you. Here are the first steps to take on your journey to learning Arabic.
first, Pick A Form Of Arabic
Arabic is a big language, spoken across a vast geographic area. Like Spanish amongst Latin languages, it has evolved into a diverse range of dialects — not to mention the traditional forms of the language used in Islam and the Qur’an. From Marrakech to Amman, you can’t waltz into town assuming everyone will understand you. To master Arabic, you’re going to need to narrow your focus, and choose a particular form first.
How you’ll choose your form of Arabic depends largely on the purpose. Are you looking to get conversational in Cairo, or seeking deeper understanding of traditional Qur’anic texts? There are three main forms of Arabic to choose – Modern Standard Arabic, a generic Arabic understood broadly across North Africa and the Middle East, Classical Arabic for the study of the Qur’an and Colloquial Arabic – geographically specific Arabic. Choose wisely.
learn the Arabic Alphabet
Learning Arabic is intimidating at first, because it uses a foreign alphabet. Unlike picking up a new European language, if you’re a native English speaker, we don’t even have the basic building blocks in our hands. So start there! There are 28 characters in the Arabic alphabet, so start getting familiar with them.
“One common mistake Arabic beginners make is recognizing transliterations of words, rather than individual letters,” says Carlos Calhoun, an educator at Academadvisor and Simplegrad. “This might seem like quick progress, but you’ll only be playing catch up later.”
As well as a new and unique alphabet, Arabic features many sounds that are unfamiliar to Western ears. To quickly improve at Arabic, you need to be immersing yourself in it, learning how words and sentences are strung together, and the common sounds of the language.
Pick up a podcast, watch Arabic language TV and movies (with subtitles on), and generally surround yourself in this thriving language. You’ll be surprised by how soon you start understanding what’s going on.
Time To Practice
Nobody said this was going to be easy. Building your grasp of Arabic takes work, so once you’ve mastered the basics of the alphabet and immersed yourself in an Arabic speaking world through podcasts and movies, it’s time to knuckle down.
Start with basic, easy texts and work at your own pace to unravel the words on the page. If you’re studying alone, it’s easy to forget a crucial aspect of learning a language – speaking! So try talking aloud, reading the words off the page. This helps imprint in your memory everything you’re learning.
Find A Native Speaker
Finding someone to practice your Arabic on will not only strengthen the memory of what you learn, but they can also correct your mistakes as you’re learning. If you’re learning a variety of colloquial Arabic, for example, a native speaker can offer tips and tricks as well as local expressions that colors your learning experience. “Why not reach out to an Arabic speaker who’s learning English,” says Patricia Murray, a writer at Elite Asignment Help and Best Assignment Writing Services. “A language exchange is a fun way to learn, and to make friends in the process.”
It may seem obvious, but this is one of the hardest steps to follow. There will be times when you feel disheartened and like your Arabic practice is going nowhere – fight through these moments by learning just a little more each day.
Learning Arabic can expand your horizons, both spiritually and socially. With over 300 million Arabic speakers out there, you’re sure to find some you can connect with. Get started on your Arabic journey today by selecting the variety of Arabic you want to learn and start exploring the alphabet! حظا طيبا وفقك الله!
Lauren Groff is a linguistics specialist at Top Essay Services and Essayroo Review. Born in Toronto, Lauren is currently based in Amman, where she tutors English. She is also an editor at Student Writing Services.