Arabic for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide

So, you’ve decided to learn Arabic, good for you! It’s going to be quite a challenge, but we’ve got your back.

Arabic for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide

We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you, but Arabic is a difficult language to learn, especially for native English speakers. However, Mondly’s got your back, as always! Ever since we launched Arabic courses for 4 billion people we’ve invested in engaging content to keep you interested day in and day out. Learning Arabic for beginners has never been simpler. But why should you learn Arabic? Here are 6 exciting reasons. If you need any more, just keep reading!

Why is Arabic such a challenge?

As the sixth most spoken language in the world, with close to 420 million speakers worldwide, it stands to reason that Arabic would be a popular language, one of the best foreign languages to learn for business, actually. But why is it so hard for English speakers to approach this process? Here are the most complicated challenges: 

  • A new alphabet;
  • No shared vocabulary whatsoever between Arabic and Latin/Romance languages;
  • The language is based on inflections so subject, mood, and tense are communicated just by how you inflect your tone;
  • Plurals and their respective agreements with numbers are more complex than in English;
  • You must memorize the conjugation and vocalization for the active and passive voices for ten verb patterns. 

So, since the elephant is out of the room, you’re ready to learn Arabic online! By the way, according to the US Foreign Service Institute, you’ll need roughly 88 weeks or approximately 2200 hours in order to reach fluency. Follow the tips below and you might arrive at your destination a lot faster! 

Step by step guide

I’d really stick by these if I were you!

Decision time

Ok, you can’t really learn all the Arabic, since there are many types of it (Palestinian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Levantine). To be more precise, there’s the mother tongue, which is the official language, but also different accents and a lot of pronunciations depending on the locale. So, choose the type of Arabic you want to learn in relation to the region/regions you are interested in. There’s also Modern Standard Arabic, one of the official languages of the UN.

Commence with just the basics

arabic bead necklace
‘Arabic bead necklace’ by Carlos Eduardo de Meneses©

What’s the first thing you tackle when you want to learn a new language? Interested in reading and speaking Arabic as a beginner? Start with the Arabic alphabet! Then, as you progress from letters to words, you may be on the lookout for some Arabic words for beginners. The Arabic alphabet is what you would call an abjad, meaning that it’s primarily made up of consonants and no vowels. Keep in mind that there are 28 letters in the alphabet, only one of them being a vowel. 

So, when you encounter a written word there will be no way of knowing how to pronounce it unless you’ve heard it before. And this is where Mondly comes in handy! We provide you with real-life conversations, a speech recognition chatbot, and quality recordings. You’ll get used to Arabic words in no time. Ok, final note, you write from left to right, not the other way around. 

Learn how to use an Arabic dictionary

Ah, one of the most trusted friends of any language learner, the dictionary is here to save the day yet again. But, with Arabic things will be a little more complicated. So, in an Arabic dictionary, the words will be organized around roots made up of three letters. With me so far? 

In order to find a word, you need to already know its root and the letter that the root starts with, and this letter is not always the first letter in the word. So yeah, learning to use the dictionary will take some practice, but once you’ve mastered it will make things much simpler. 

Start practicing and speaking

coworkers talking
‘Coworkers’ by Mikhail Nilov©

Now that you know the basics, it’s high time you started using them. But hearing and seeing isn’t nearly enough if you don’t speak too! So, start conversing in Arabic with other people. Ok, it might be difficult to find a conversation partner where you live, but then again, there are other resources out there, such as Mondly! We give you access to pre-recorded conversations that you can train with. 

When you do get a chance to speak Arabic live, don’t be nervous or shy. What if you don’t get the grammar right on the first try? Mistakes are there to help you learn.

Immerse yourself in the Arabic language

If a trip is out of the realm of possibility at the moment, surround yourself with anything and everything Arabic in the comfort of your own home. You can watch shows, listen to songs, learn more about Arabic culture, read and even talk to yourself just to help repeat what you’ve learned so far. If you’re interested in more ways to immerse yourself in a language we have some tips for you!

Get Mondly now and you’ll have access to the following resources: 

  • practical topics;
  • bite-sized lessons;
  • real-life conversations, and so much more.

Start using Mondly for free on your computer or download the app and learn Arabic and more anytime, anywhere. 

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