The Arabic language has generated a lot of interest in the last few years -being branded as “the language of the future” - but why? Arabic is an asset when it comes to professional opportunities, especially in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and many other countries in the Middle East and Africa. Since so few English speakers are fluent in Arabic, becoming proficient yourself will certainly make you stand out from the crowd.
Additionally, knowledge of Arabic will prove essential if you plan to travel to the MENA region and visit the less well-known cities, as you are not likely to encounter many English speakers along the way. Regardless of your reasons for learning Arabic, our teachers at Listen & Learn can help! Sign up for lessons and start acquiring the language from the comfort of your home or office. And, if you need more resources to boost your learning process in the most interactive way, keep on reading and learn more about Arabic and why you should start studying today.
How Many People Speak Arabic and Where Is it Spoken?
Arabic is not a homogeneous language. It is spoken in over 20 countries and has over 300 million speakers, with geographical changes that render the dialects very different. In fact, many varieties of Arabic are not even mutually intelligible! As a result, you cannot learn Arabic the same way you would learn Italian or German. Instead, you need to make a decision and start studying the variety you truly need! For instance, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is a great option if you want to access written resources, but it will be hard to find speakers of MSA who use the language for their everyday life.
The countries that have Arabic as their official language are:
Learn How to Write in Arabic
Arabic has a reputation for being difficult to learn, and why of the main reasons for this is because of its writing system, which bears no relationship to the English one. Arabic does not use the Latin alphabet and, to make matters worse, they write from right to left instead of left to right.
So, the first step to learn how to write in Arabic is understanding the alphabet’s basic features. There are 28 letters, but they are not static: most of them change depending on their position in the word (initial, middle, isolated, or final). Plus, vowels are never written (though they are pronounced), unless they are long.
These are the main Arabic characters:
You will only find 3 long vowels in Arabic
U as in book
A as in can
I as in with
Also, the Arabic alphabet does not have uppercase letters because the very form of the character changes when it appears at the beginning of the word. As you can see, learning the Arabic alphabet can be a challenging endeavour, which takes time and patience. But don’t give up! With the help of an expert tutor and the resources we are about to recommend below, you’ll quickly master the Arabic writing system!
Some Resources to Learn Arabic for Free
The key to success when becoming fluent in Arabic lies in being motivated and consistent when studying. In addition to having lessons with a native tutor, you’ll need to add some extra hours of practice to develop your skills fully. From podcasts to grammar exercises or even games, you’ll find a great variety of online resources to advance your Arabic skills without spending any money. Here are our top picks:
- Improve your reading comprehension skills with these amazing books to hone your skills in Arabic.
- Use online platforms in your favour. Learn Arabic for free by using Arabic channels on Youtube and discover new music, or look for these Netflix shows in Arabic to watch with or without subtitles!
- And if you want to learn Arabic with music but you’re not sure how to start, our expert instructors share their tips on how to use this resource to learn vocabulary and grammar while practising your listening abilities.
- Social media can also help you learn languages, especially if you start following influencers on Instagram or Facebook. Here are some suggestions of people you can follow if you’d like to learn more informal, colloquial Arabic.
- If you’d like to practise your Arabic a bit more after your lessons, you can also resort to apps like Memrise, Anki, or Busuu, which have free programmes to learn Arabic. They mostly focus on vocabulary, the alphabet, and simple grammar structures so you can drill new terms and remember them without resorting to boring memorisation.
Is Arabic Hard to Learn?
Unfortunately, yes, Arabic is hard to learn for English speakers. You need to get familiar with a whole new writing system, phonemes and tones are not really similar to ours, there are very few English words used in Arabic and the culture is also very different. Additionally, you have to consider there are over 20 Arabic dialects. Even if you learn Modern Standard Arabic, this does not guarantee you’ll be able to communicate with people who live in Morocco, Egypt, or other places.
But this doesn’t mean you should give up before starting. First, certain elements of Arabic are not that hard to learn (such as consonants, which are almost the same as in English). Second, with the help of an expert tutor, you’ll soon acquire effective techniques and get familiar with great resources to learn Arabic in an almost effortless way.
So, what are you waiting for to get started? Contact us today and find out more about our available Arabic courses! Our programmes are completely tailor-made and designed for anyone who wants to learn Arabic from the comfort of their home or office. Thus, you only have to decide whether you want to study alone, with a native tutor, or with a small group of other enthusiastic students. Then, contact us and we will start preparing Arabic lessons that consider your learning style, needs, and preferences.