Which Arabic Language do you wish to learn?
In this post we are gonna be discussing the following points:
1- Explore the culture
2- Ways to Learn The Alphabet ( MODERN STANDARD ARABIC vs Spoken Arabic)
3- Listen to Arabic Music
4- Try language classes.
5- befriend native Arabic speakers.
6- Flashcards are your friend.
7- Start speaking Arabic as soon as possible even if it’s grammatically terrible
8- Reward yourself
9- Have fun
The world is big enough to have hundreds of different languages and thousands of different dialects.
Some people learn Spanish, some people learn English, and then come a proportion of people that want to learn Arabic. This is amazing and actually kind of courageous that this group of people wants to learn Arabic because Arabic is considered one of the hardest languages out there. This is because it has a totally different alphabets and letters and it is also written from right to left (I know, what kind of sorcery is this?!)
Nowadays, since technology is literally at the end of our fingertips, it has become way much easier for anyone to learn anything online. Do you remember when it used to take days to travel for city to city? Yea, the good old days. This has the same perspective in the approach of learning something in the old fashion or the new fashion.
All Arabs in the Arab world learn Arabic in the school. It is obligatory because it is our mother tongue.
However, the Arabic that we learned in schools is way different than the Arabic that we talk on the streets. I am not saying that it is a different language, it still is, but the Arabic that we learned in schools is only spoken on the news or written on the newspapers.
That’s why ever since I launched my Youtube channel showing more and more about the Lebanese culture, I started getting emails from students from all over the world that they want to learn the Lebanese dialect and not the Arabic language aka. MSA, which also means Fusha.
Since two years I have officially become a Lebanese dialect teacher. That doesn’t mean I don’t concentrate on the Arabic language, I have to actually, because I have to explain how certain words are said, since they are derived from the original Arabic language.
Now that you know the difference in the Arabic language and an Arabic dialect and to stop rambling on and actually get to the point on why you clicked on this article, I am going to give you ten tips on how you can improve yourself in learning an Arabic dialect and how to start speaking it fast.
Which Arabic do you wish to learn?
The first thing you should do is to know what dialect you would like to learn. Levantine Spoken Arabic is a general term that covers a continuum of spoken dialects along the Eastern Mediterranean Coast of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.
However, there is still a bit of a difference in the dialects of these 4 countries. Lebanese Arabic is well known and almost every Arabic country understands it. Fun fact, in Lebanon, we watched all our cartoons in Egyptian Arabic. Yes, Mufasa in the Lion King used to speak in Egyptian and not in Arabic ‘’Tazakkar Inta Meen’’ aka. ‘’Remember who you are’’… What a scene.
There is also for instance the Moroccan Arabic or the Algerian Arabic that the Middle Eastern can understand no word of it, although it is officially called Arabic! So go do your research and figure what you dialect you want to learn and then dive in!
Explore the culture
After you pick a dialect that you want, you can then dive in into the culture. If you are learning a language of a country but you are actually not interested in the culture, then you can forget on actually becoming fluent in this language because you will lose interest faster than Britney Spear’s marriage that only lasted 55 hours.
You might think that all Arabs have the same culture, uhm you can say so but let me correct you on that point. All Arabs might have the same culture but not the same traditions and mentalities. In Saudi Arabia the women were recently just allowed to drive (thank God) however Lebanon is considered to be the most open Arab country.
The traditional food is also different. There are some dishes in Morocco that are called Bastilla and Besarra soup that Lebanese people have never heard of it. So every country kinda has an identity of it and not all Arab countries are the same!
I am offering a free book that I wanted to charge $50 for it since I want people to get a taste on how the Lebanese dialect is supposed to be and how different it is than Fusha. In the book I introduce the different sounds (vocals) we have and also a ton of vocabulary with pictures related to them. It is incredibly helpful for your daily life.
Ways to Learn The Alphabet (MODERN STANDARD ARABIC vs Spoken Arabic)
I know that you will now become more excited and start having this mentality that you are now mixing with the Folk of this country and diving in into their mentality and becoming one of them, which is great.
You might ask me about learning the alphabets if it makes sense to learn a spoken dialect and not the modern standard Arabic. Well, this is the new formula that I am talking about now. All of these dialects came from the Arabic language but we were able to create a new learning curve that has a different approach on the matter. Yes, there are also letters that do not exist in English which you have to learn in Arabic.
I cannot speak for other Arab countries but in Lebanon, we assigned numbers for these words. That means, when we text on WhatsApp in Lebanese, we use the numbers 2,3,5 and 7 in order to be able to pronounce the word correctly. True story. We have a solution for everything
Listen to Arabic Music
In my philosophy, there is no better way in learning a language than to listen to their music. When I came to Germany and started learning German, I used to listen to a lot of German music, which includes Rammstein, Die Toten Hosen, Annenmaykantereit and many others.
So when I catch an earworm from these songs I would go on Google to see what these words mean (Rammstein was somehow always 18+) plus, is there better thing than listening to music all day? I mean come on.
The Lebanese bands that I can recommend are: Mashrou’ Leila and Meen The Band. These are the bands that are modern and not traditional. If you want to go traditional however, just type Fairuz or Wadee’ el Safi on Google and listen to one of their songs, a lot of songs will start popping up in the recommended page.
There is one Jordanian band that I like it is called Jadal, my favorite song from this band is called ‘’Ana Bkhaf mnil Commitment’’. It is amazing, go check it out!
Try language classes.
After you have taken my advanced course on teaching the Lebanese dialect dived in into the culture, listened to their music, watched their films, etc., you can improve yourself more by taking online tutoring or having an online Arabic tutor.
In my humble view, online tutoring is the best approach for learning an Arabic dialect. You can learn the basics from an online course but it still remains a spoken language and not a written one. So if you are not learning a spoken language by speaking it, then let me ask you, what are you doing?
Online tutoring not only helps you a lot with improving in a language but also with building friendships with the tutors! (This is my next tip so you can this is a teaser for the next one)
Having conversation lessons with your tutor makes you discover a lot of things of the targeted dialect that you didn’t know. Having conversations with an insider makes you know more and more about the mentality and the history of the country. So whatever your political or religious views are, you can discuss them with your new friend online!
That’s why I also provide weekly live call videos FOR FREE when purchased with the course to improve on your language, correct your mistakes and even answer your questions if you have any!
Befriend native Arabic speakers.
I know I talked about this in the past tip but this is really important! When people ask me how I managed to speak Germany fluently in just one year (Yes, German, one year) my answer is always, I spoke German!
I lived only with Germans and talked only in German even though my German really sucked at that time. Every time I would say a word wrongly, I would tell them to correct me.
Say what you want to say about Germans, but my friends were more than happy to actually teach me and correct me every time I make a mistake. And it is okay to make mistakes. That’s how you learn!
Again, that’s what we offer in our WEEKLY LIVE CALLS
Leave Sticky notes all over the place.
This is practical for every language you want to learn. If you want to learn Spanish, French or Arabic, sticky notes are your study buddy. Leave sticky notes all over the apartment with the name of the object in Arabic on it. Write under the word how you pronounce it and start including them in your daily life!
Your friends might think that someone broke into your house and did a prank on you by leaving sticky notes all over the place but you know, worth it.
Start speaking Arabic as soon as possible even if it’s grammatically terrible
Yes, do it! I told you that before and I say it again. Do mistakes! Say everything wrong that’s okay! The important part is to know how to say it right and to not leave it in the wrong.
I know this tip might sound silly and we are not in the fourth grade but rewarding yourself actually gives a big boost to thrive for more! Complete a lesson with your tutor, do a test and get a good grade! When you do that, go out and get a Baklawa, or even better, a Falafel sandwich. Build it in your head that you can only reward yourself after you have finished the task that you need to finish.
The last and most important tip: Have Fun! We as humans, when we get caught up with a lot of stuff to do, we start reflecting on the thing that we like to do as having a negative impact on our life. It doesn’t! You are just caught up with a lot of stuff but you actually like them, because if you don’t, you wouldn’t have even done it in the first place! So don’t forget to have fun while learning! 🙂