Learning Arabic: Where do you start?

21 February 2019
door Regina Coeli

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In our increasingly globalising world, there is a growing chance you, too, will meet and interact with Arabic speakers. So, how do you start learning Arabic? And where do you start?

Which Arabic do you want to learn?

The first and most important choice you have to make is which Arabic you want to learn:

  1. Classical Arabic. This is the Arabic of the Koran.
  2. Modern Standard Arabic. This is used in written form throughout the Arab world, but is not actually spoken anywhere in its pure form.
  3. One of the dialects of Arabic. Different dialects are spoken in the 26 countries where Arabic is an official language. Odds are that people who speak different Arabic dialects will not understand one another—that is how different the dialects can be.

Because you can rely on it throughout the entire Arab world, we suggest learning Modern Standard Arabic. It is not an everyday language when it comes to speaking, but people will understand you! This also makes the step to learning a specific dialect easier. Learning it the other way around, from one of the dialects to Modern Standard Arabic, is incredibly difficult, especially because the dialects do not have written forms.

The first steps on the path to Arabic

The first step is to carefully learn the 28-letter Arabic alphabet and then to practice writing. It is good to note that Arabic is written and read from right to left!

Learning pronunciation is part of learning the alphabet. Arabic has a number of sounds that can be unfamiliar to speakers of other tongues. Another challenge is that Arabic texts consist almost exclusively of consonants. Only the long vowels a, i and u are written; short vowels are not.

You will practice writing and pronunciation with words and sentences that have meaning for you. This way, you can tackle two things at once and develop some basic vocabulary right away. Once you have a handle on the writing, you can gradually expand your knowledge of the language.

Learn Arabic from a strong team of trainers

Learning Arabic is quite different to learning a Western language. With the right support, though, it can be a truly enjoyable process. Your brain gets a great workout, and you learn a lot about Arabic culture at the same time.

Language Institute Regina Coeli is mainly specialised in business language training. If you do business in countries where Arabic is spoken, we can teach you the basics of modern standard Arabic in a short time. You will be taught by a team of native Arabic speakers who also happen to be experienced teachers. Please feel free to contact us about what you can accomplish through an Arabic course.

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