Just like anything in life it’s important to identify the reason for doing whatever you want to do. The same goes with attempting to learn Arabic. You will need to identify your “why.” Once you do, it will be much easier to figure out what path to take to achieve this goal.
In this blog post, I will talk about the different reasons why people choose to learn Arabic. I will also give you tips on how to maximize your success in reaching this goal in the shortest amount of time possible.
Reasons for Learning Arabic
I asked a few friends and some folks that follow our Facebook page why they wanted to learn Arabic. Below are a few different reasons:
- To communicate effectively with their significant others
- To read the Quran in the original language
- To expand their knowledge of languages
- To travel to the Middle East and communicate with people there
- To learn about the fascinating culture of the people of the Middle East (and what better way to understand someone’s culture than to learn their language!)
Below are some quotes from our followers:
I’ve always been fascinated by Arabic. I learned to read and write basic Arabic but what I really want is to improve my speaking in the Egyptian dialect.
I am fascinated by the history and culture of the Middle East.
I wanted to learn more about the Arab world and was fascinated by its underground art culture
I want to learn Arabic so that I can read and understand the Quran in Arabic
What’s the best approach?
The reality is that Arabic is a complex language. So, your approach to learning the language really matters. There are certain ways to break down this complexity and achieve faster results. We can summarize the reasons for learning Arabic into two main categories. The first one is to be able to communicate through speaking and writing. The second one is to be able to read literature such as the Quran. Each reason requires a different approach.
Let’s tackle these two reasons and approaches one at a time.
1. Communication through speaking and writing
If you desire to communicate with people, then it makes sense to learn a dialect first. You would then need to identify which dialect you would like to learn based on who you’d like to communicate with. For example, if you’d like to speak with people in Syria or Lebanon, then it’s beneficial to learn Levantine Arabic. The same goes with whether you would like to speak with Egyptians or Moroccans or folks from the Gulf nations. So, you first need to identify with whom you’d like to communicate.
Here at Live Like an Egyptian, we focus on teaching the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. Check out the 3 reasons why I decided to teach Egyptian Arabic. We have found that there is a quick and effective way to learn to speak and interact in Arabic. You should neither start with learning mainly only grammar nor with the proper Arabic script. It’s best to focus on learning to say and hear the most commonly used words and phrases in an interactive video format using everyday life events. We only teach grammar as needed in conversation.
Think of how you learned your native language growing up. The two main ingredients were repetition and immersion. You didn’t learn grammar as a child until later on in school. You also learned to speak well before you learned to read and write. We’re taking a similar approach. This accelerates the learning process and minimizes frustration.
2. Reading literature
On the other hand, if your main goal is to learn Arabic so that you can read literature such as the Quran, then you need a different approach. Your main objective, in this case, is to learn how to read fus’ha/Classic Arabic or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and skip the dialects for now. In this case, you need to focus on grammar and the Arabic script.
There are many resources online and in bookstores that teach MSA. In fact, there are so many resources dedicated to this objective that learners unknowingly jump in and adopt this approach and soon get frustrated because what they learn is not what is spoken on the street. Check out my wife’s story and her attempt to learn.
Remember to identify your reason and goal before choosing a course or study material that teaches MSA. This will minimize frustration.
It is important to understand why you’re learning Arabic and how you will approach it. Once you do, then you can narrow your focus and hone in your approach to achieve your desired results faster and with less frustration. In this article, we talked about different reasons why people choose to learn Arabic. We also talked about two approaches based on the reason for learning Arabic.
Finally, keep up the good work and don’t stop learning!
Do you have additional reasons for learning Arabic? What approach have you taken to learning it? Please share with us in the comments section below.