In college, I chose Arabic to study as part of my course. Well technically, it wasn’t my choice. My friend, Abdul, forced me to take the course with him. He wanted to study the language of his forefathers, but he didn’t want to do it alone. At the start, I had reservations over studying a language, which straight-up looked mysterious and foreign. After all, it wasn’t the language of my forefathers! But, by the end of the course, I was in love with Arabic.
Today, Arabic is spoken by approximately 422 million speakers outside the territory of its origin, Saudi Arabia. From the land of Africa to the continent of Asia, Arabic is the official language of 26 countries. This makes it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Currently, it has 30 different dialects or varieties with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Literary Arabic being the most common while the language is simply growing.
Is Studying Arabic Easy?
Well, the answer is no. What a bummer! But, Arabic is not an easy language, especially if you are a native English speaker. You see learning a new language is not a one-day story. When the language is one that doesn’t share roots with your native tongue, it automatically becomes harder. Be it the vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar – learning Arabic is an experience on its own.
Arabic uses unique alphabets and words, having no similarity with Latin-based languages. This is one of the reasons why people from the West find it time-consuming to learn the language. Arabic is also a highly inflectional tongue that uses the tone of your pronunciation to communicate mood, subject, and tenses. However, the beauty of this language is worth all efforts.
By learning Arabic, you can acquire unique skills, as people in the West are not proficient with the language. Are you a fan of Aladin? Have you heard about Ali Baba and Sindbad the Sailor? Proficiency in Arabic will open the doors to Arab literature, culture, and traditions for you. That’s not it. You can even take up job positions in Arab countries or fields that require knowledge of the language. If you love to travel, a visit to the Middle East can become an outstanding experience. Overall, no matter which language you learn, there will be difficulties at first. However, you should focus on the advantages of learning a renowned language, like Arabic, and not shy away from putting all your efforts.
How can you learn Arabic?
Having a friend in the class who knew the basics of the language was quite helpful for me. Shout out to Abdul for making the language easier for me. Now if you’re up for learning Arabic too, you can do everything just like me. Make a friend named Abdul who’ll force you to take Arabic classes in college with him. But if you can’t wait until college, have already graduated or the man Abdul isn’t showing up in your life, you can simply try the plan B. And the plan is to pursue the following tips:
You already know there are many dialects and varieties of this language. Arabic spoke in Africa sounds different, looks different, and even seems a completely different language than that spoken in Asia. There’s Egyptian, Gulf, Moroccan, Sudanese, Juba, Mashriqi Arabic, and many more! Studying two dialects can be tedious, as both can conflict in grammar and pronunciation. Therefore, you should do your research, decide the dialect you want to study, and stick with it.
It is also important to choose how you want to study the language and when. There are many colleges, universities, and institutes that teach Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Arabic courses. However, there are courses available online as well, for a minimal fee that teaches Arabic. Moreover, you should look over your schedule and set aside a few hours a day to study Arabic. Nothing sucks more than going out of practice.
There are many companies online that offer assignment help for Arabic students or the ones learning the language. Similarly, there are mobile-friendly applications, YouTube channels, websites, and blogs that help students to get a firm grasp on Arabic pronunciations, grammar, and writing. By taking help from these online resources, you can learn Arabic more effectively. Also, you should get hold of an Arabic dictionary and learn how to use it. To look up a word, you will have to know its root and what letter the root starts with. This will make your grasp over words better.
Our Professor in the first-class started the lesson with this, ‘There are no shortcuts in life to places worth going.’ Yes, it sounded punny to the entire class. After all, we came to the class to learn Arabic and not Philosophy. But we soon understood what he meant. Most of us wanted to learn the language quickly. And thus, we wanted to skip the basics and jump into learning the Arabic words. But learning a language doesn’t work like this. You learn the alphabets and words, form sentences, and then study grammar. Therefore, don’t expect to learn the language in just a few months or even a year. It takes time.
Learning how to read and write the language is important but speaking is crucial too. And it is equally tedious. Pronunciations, tone and sentence structures – everything matters. Again, it will take time and effort to become proficient in speaking. However, you can make the process easier by watching Arabic shows with subtitles or listening to Arabic songs. And the thing is you shouldn’t be nervous about making mistakes. No matter how horrendous they may be, speak the language as much as you can in class. Mistakes lead to fruitful results.
In the End
Today, many people are learning to become bilingual or multi-lingual. People are traveling to every corner of the world. Taking up jobs, studying, and living in foreign lands and knowledge of another language simply help them out in many ways. Even if you don’t plan to travel to the Middle East; learning Arabic can make you appear more intelligent and sophisticated. Therefore, you must invest time in learning it. Study, practice, and speak it as much as you can. Heck, continue your hunt for Abdul, so you can have a buddy to speak the language with.