Looking for a new way to learn a language? Why not try music? Listening to music in your target language gives you pronunciation guides, colloquial language, and easily repeatable words and phrases; all in about three minutes! Don't believe us? Well, let's give you some guidance. Here are some great tips for using music to learn Arabic. Which can you fit into your day?
Find your music
Use a site like Popnable, giving you access to top music charts from countries around the world. And not only are there charts; scroll to the bottom of the page to find suggestions for artists who sing in Arabic.
If you're just looking to have some Arabic on in the background to get used to the pronunciation and pick up the occasional lyric, then this is a great way to start. Try Maghboun Wahdi by Cheb Djalil Ft Hichem Smati to get your ear into some great music in Arabic. You'll be spoilt for choice!
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Lyric videos are your friends
Languages which do not use the Latin alphabet can be harder to find translations of for music. But there are some dedicated YouTubers out there who can do that job for you! Look for lyric videos that will give you the English translation alongside the Arabic on the screen allowing you to read as you mumble along to become familiar with the words. Some will even come with approximate pronunciation using the Latin alphabet, like Waheshni by Jannat. We would say happy listening, but this song is sad!
Type into Google a search like best Arabic songs, and all sorts of incredible suggestions will come up for you. This is how we discovered LM3ALLEM by Saad Lamjarred, a 2015 hit that has been viewed on Youtube more than 723 million times! And what does such a popular song mean? You are more likely to find great quality translations. Try sites like Lyric Translate who use side by side translations between Arabic and English.
Choose a song that starts to stick in your mind, like Ya Lili by Balti did for us! If you can, note down the words or phrases you are familiar with, and try to guess the gist of the rest of the lyrics as you listen again. This is repetitive but in the best possible way, exposing you to the best pronunciation and Arabic in its real form. Then find the translation on a site like Music Match. Read the Arabic first to see what you already knew, then compare with the English. Do this a few times over and you will soon have the song word perfect, and probably a whole new vocabulary list!
The American Idol format is a long-established global phenomenon, with so many of us tuning in on a weekly basis for fresh talent on our screens. Arab Idol is no different, showcasing some of the most talented people you will ever see. Check out Idols Global on Youtube for some true inspiration.
Create a search like Arab Idol Best Singers and see what comes up for you. Not only will you get to hear music in Arabic, but you will also have the conversations between the contestants and judges to listen to. So there are even more opportunities to hear Arabic spoken naturally.
A quick search online will tell you who are some of the most successful Arabic singers in the world. Amr Diab has our vote, an Egyptian singer with an extensive discography. Not only does listening to a popular artist mean you are more likely to get good translations and a huge amount of music to listen to, it means a large fanbase as well. You can follow Amr Diab on Twitter and connect with other fans who are possibly doing the same as you! And you will find their music everywhere; Youtube, Spotify, and Deezer just for starters. Happy listening!
The key to using music as a tool to help you learn Arabic is to immerse yourself in it. Find radio stations to play in the background as you go about your day, or download music on to your phone or iPod so you can listen wherever you are. You'll get to learn a language and pick up some great new songs in the process. What better way to learn is there than that?