5 Different Ways to Learn Arabic from the Comfort of Your Home
By: Laila Shadid/Arab America Contributing Writer
What better time to learn Arabic than during a pandemic? With more time on our hands, this may be the perfect opportunity to strengthen our language skills, whether it be in the Levantine, Egyptian, or Modern Standard dialects, among many others. These five online resources range from iPhone or Android apps to personal tutors to structured curriculums, one of which is guaranteed to fit your schedule and learning style.
If you are looking for a quick, easy, and free option, Duolingo is your best bet. This program is available in website or app form, on both the iPhone and Android, and teaches Modern Standard Arabic. When registering your account, you choose your target language, your reason for learning (i.e. culture, travel, job opportunities etc.), and your time goal. This ranges from “Casual”—5 minutes per day—to “Intense”—20 minutes per day. Lastly, you have the option to take a placement test or start at the beginner level. Duolingo has over 300 million learners and boasts comprehensive research and tech teams. Moreover, they use teaching tools such as a reward point system and game-like lessons to make Arabic learning something to look forward to.
Italki is a flexible Arabic language program that caters to your specific needs. Similarly to Duolingo, italki is accessible through an app or website. Through this program, you can find one-on-one Arabic tutors in Modern Standard, Levantine, Egyptian, Gulf, Moroccan, or Sudanese dialects. Hourly rates range from 4 to 80 USD; however, few tutors charge over 20 USD. Although there is an application process, italki teachers range from professionals to beginners. The perk of this program is that you can choose a tutor based on your learning style, interests, and schedule, and you are able to pay per session instead of per month or year.
TalkInArabic.com recognizes that Modern Standard Arabic is mainly used in formal settings, and, therefore, less useful in everyday conversation when traveling in the Arab World or speaking with family and friends. This program specifically teaches these colloquial Arabic dialects: Moroccan, Algerian, Egyptian, Levantine, Iraqi, Tunisian, Saudi, and Sudanese. Lessons include “100% natural recordings” to mimic real conversation, as well as HD video and audio of native speakers available for download. Monthly payments range from $7.95 to $12.95 depending on if you pay yearly or monthly. There are three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. However, TalkInArabic.com is not your typical online course. According to theLevanTongue, lessons do not have a linear structure; instead, you choose categories or situations you are interested in learning about, such as travel, sports, and pets, to name a few.
Arab Academy caters to adults, teens, and children. For adults, the program offers Modern Standard, Egyptian colloquial, and Islamic Arabic. For teens in middle and high school, the program teaches the alphabet and vocabulary to use in daily life situations and to speak about social issues. For younger children in elementary school, Arab Academy uses short stories and puzzles. The program employs key learning techniques such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This online curriculum charges monthly ($99/mo), quarterly ($79/mo), or semi-annually ($69/mo), and includes online course access and one-on-one speaking classes 4-8 times per month. Arab Academy is partnered with esteemed universities around the world such as the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the University of Cambridge. This is a great course for someone looking for a more formal Arabic curriculum.
Lastly, Udemy offers a variety of online courses from different teachers and programs. You can choose the course best suited to your needs by using the filter function of the website, where you specify course rating, video duration, level, price, and other features. Currently, over 200,000 students use Udemy as their Arabic teacher of choice. Examples of available courses include “Learn to Read and Write Arabic for Beginners,” “Colloquial Arabic Conversations,” and “Boost Your Arabic Listening and Conversation Skills.” While some courses are free, most average around $15. Udemy is the perfect choice for people looking to learn Arabic at their own pace for little to no cost.
Any dialect, anytime, anywhere. These five options make learning Arabic fun, easy, and cheap!
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