10 Tips for learning Arabic

“How can humankind resist the beauty of this language, with its logic and unique brilliance? Even the Arab’s neighbors, people they’ve conquered, have fallen under the charm of this language.”

Sigrid Hunke (1913-1999)

                 Arabic is the origin of languages and one of the most beautiful languages all over the world. It is the language of the Arab nation, the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) traditions. No one can deny the importance of the Arabic language in reciting the Holy Quran and performing prayer; the matter which is only available through Arabic.

          Those who love Allah love his Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and those who love the Prophet love the Arab, and those who love the Arab love Arabic, the language of the best books ever, the Holy Qur’an and those who love Arabic care about it and exert their efforts to learn it. As Arabic is one of these languages that are considered extremely difficult for foreigners to acquire, here are some tips to learn it easily:

1/Decide which Arabic to learn and commit to a dialect

           For linguists, Arabic is a diglossic language that uses two forms in a community. There is one form for reading and writing which is known as the Modern Standard Arabic, MSA, or fusha and another form for speaking with several dialects that differ from one country to another such as the Arabic dialect being used in Egypt, the Gulf, etc. The basic form used in teaching Arabic is the MSA, but for natural Arabic comprehension, one should learn any dialect.

2/Do not avoid the MSA

                     If you have a good listening skill of languages, you will easily be able to grasp the basics of any dialect, but if you are a person who need to see written phrases in order to comprehend them, you will find a difficulty in learning the dialect because there are not many available sources for dialects. On the contrary, the MSA has various valuable sources that will help you in learning it. In addition, you will be able to read any written word easily.

3/Build crazy mnemonics

                     Unlike any other language, it may be more difficult to remember words in Arabic so you have to create strange ways to improve your memory. Creativity stands alone as the first flame of any achievement. You can connect the Arabic words or phrases with things related to your own Language to remember them. For example, you can connect the Arabic phrase (mafeesh fulus), which means “I have no money” in the Egyptian dialect with “My fish feel loose”. This is a great creative way to make the new phrase stick to your mind. Another way is to use the mental visual imagery of the referents of these words, flashcards or stereotypes of them.

4/keep it easy and define your goals

            Why are you learning Arabic? Always remember that you are learning Arabic for the most important reason in your life which is reciting the Holy Qur’an and performing prayer. With this top priority in mind, you will always find it easy to achieve your goal of learning Arabic regardless of all the difficulties you will face. Thus, you will gain in the earthy life and the hereafter. Even if you are learning it for any other scientific, social, economic reason, etc., this will always urge you to keep going on learning it.

5/Start with learning the basics and using dictionaries

            When we learned English, we firstly learned the Alphabetical letters, then words and finally phrases and grammar. One should learn Arabic in the same way starting with the Alphabetical letters, words, phrases and finally grammar. This will make the process of learning Arabic easier. Furthermore, one should know how to use the Arabic dictionaries. Using dictionaries may seem easy, but it is not like this. One should know how to search for the word’s meaning by knowing its root. Thus, learning how to use dictionaries correctly makes learning Arabic enjoyable.

6/Always memorize phrases

            One of the effective ways in learning any language is memorizing new words in phrases or sentences not as individual words. When you read a new sentence or phrase in a book, magazine or newspaper, memorize it as a whole expression. As any other language, Arabic also has collocations that are always used together so memorizing them as a whole without breaking them down into single words will help you a lot in learning smoothly. Even if you have single words, try to make up a story or conversation with them to be able to remember them again.

7/Listen, watch and read a lot

          Two of the four skills of learning any language are listening and reading. Listening to radio, news stations, the Holy Qur’an, broadcasts, etc. and watching the Arabic movies, shows and TV series train your ears to hear Arabic and by the time, you will be able to grasp words and understand their meaning. In addition, reading articles, newspapers, magazines, books everyday has a great role in improving your reading as well as speaking skills. When you listen and read you will revise the phrases you already know and learn new words and expressions that lead to improving your language.

8/Speak with confidence, no matter how little

                  The most important thing in learning any language is practicing whatever you learnt in order to remember it. Always speak Arabic with others even if you do not know a lot. If you do not have an Arabic native speaker near you, you can use online phone applications to contact anyone in the Arab world and follow the Arabic writers and speakers on the social media. This is a good way of practice. The Arab love their language a lot and when they see a foreigner speaking Arabic, even just few words, they become very happy and this will urge them to help, praise and encourage you to continue learning Arabic.

9/Do not over focus on grammar

             The Arabic grammar is somehow complicated and has so many subjects so when you start learning, you should get a quick grasp of grammar and move on. This will help you not only in learning language, but will also protect you from getting bored of learning and stopping it. When you reach a higher level in language, you can return back to study the whole grammar with its details.

10/Never stop learning

        It is easy to start learning something new, but the challenge is to continue what you have started. Learning a new language and mastering it requires great efforts, patience, passion and takes much time, so be patient and go on achieving your goal through following the above- mentioned tips that aim at helping you.

The key words: Brilliant Tips, learning Arabic, Fusha, MSA, crazy   mnemonics.

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