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Learning Arabic  
User currently offlineLufthansaUSA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 188 posts, RR: 2
Posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1453 times:

Being interested in languages, I have studied German and Latin on my own for the past few years, with pretty good results. Recently, as I have thought about trying a new language, I have become very interested in Arabic. However, resources for the language are much harder to find than German or Latin, and I worry that the language is far too different from English to study effectively.

I would love to hear from any users who have learned Arabic, either in school or on their own, specifically about resources they used, and how difficult it was. Any help would be hugely appreciated. Even if you are learning right now, I would love to hear how its going. Thanks in advance for anything you can share, and I hope to hear from some people soon!

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineHeederA380 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 165 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1433 times:


Try this. I am learning Russian right now, using Pimsleur's Instant Conversation series. Their technique is better than any other that I've ever used; they are highly regarded in the world of linguistics. I personally plan on using their material for all my language learning endeavors. They do have a selection of Arabic stuff, so you should be able to find a comfortable starting point, then work your way up through the levels.

Enjoy!  Big thumbs up

User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1424 times:

i too would love to learn arabic and im still at university.

however, arabic classes are 5 times weekly and eat up a ton of prime daytime class time, that i simply cant afford if i want to graduate on time.

i looked into trying something this past summer in nyc -- but i didnt find a whole lot that looked helpful. it was dissapointing.


User currently offlineLufthansaUSA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 188 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1412 times:

HeederA380-thanks a lot! I can't believe I didn't think about Pimsleur, I used them when I began learning German-the series is truly amazing. I am definitley going to look at their Arabic materials. Great suggestion, thanks again!

User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1398 times:

What is the english definition of "Arabic" in, say japanesse?

基本記入: 1Ar.a.bic
発音: ' ar-&-bik
機能: 名詞の日付: 第 14 世紀: Semitic
*の言語orig 。のアラビア人のHejaz 及びNejd の広い地域の勝つスピーチ南西アジア及び北アフリカ今である

The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineAirplanetire From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1368 times:

HeederA380, I'm learning Russian right now too! I'm just using a Russian grammar teaching book though. I think that maybe I'll ask for some tapes for Christmas or buy some if I get enough money so that I can get the pronunciation down better. I'm in the early stages though. I've learned the alphabet and the sounds the letters make, but now I'm working on changes the sounds undergo when they are not stressed. Anyhow, LufthansaUSA, go for it! I have not ever seen a lot of sources for Arabic, but I know they are out there. You could try going to a college text book store and seeing if they have any books or workbooks for Arabic. If it is a big college, they probably teach Arabic, so they have to be able to at least order something for you. Anyway, good luck and have fun with it!

User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2610 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1362 times:


Pimsleur is great, and definetly get hooked up with some arabic tapes or something. Also, depending on how serious you are, check out the Rosetta Stone language programs. They cover an amazing amount of material and are similar to Pimsleur, but it's a computer program so it's interactive. However, Rosetta Stone software costs a very pretty penny...

In fact, I'd like to probe your mind for a moment, LufthansaUSA. I've been trying to learn Japanese on my own, but it's been hard finding time for it. I'd like to know how far you got with your German and Latin, and how did you find time for it all? How much did you study a day?

thanks a lot!


User currently offlineLufthansaUSA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 188 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1354 times:

First of all, thanks for all the informative replies, it has given me great new paths to follow. Thanks a lot!

Shawn Patrick, I had the same problem with time as you seem to when I began studying language, but I think I have some good ways to make use of your time. In no particular order,
1) Realize that any time you spend, even short amounts, is useful.
2) I began placing whatever materials I was currently studying, such as a textbook, open on top of my computer (I use a laptop). Before I did any surfing, especially on a.net, I would do at least some work on my current language.
3) Use FLASHCARDS! I never knew how useful they are. I use pre-made sheets of business cards, with perforated edges. Not only do I put down new vocab words, I summarize grammatical points on a card. I bundle them together, and carry them everywhere I go! Even in short bursts, such as on the train to school, I spend a lot of time reviewing this way. It's probably the most significant way to use even the little time available to you.
4) Think about Japanese all the time. It sounds really cheesy, but I find that if I always try to think in German or Latin, I really find myself remembering even old words and little-used grammar. Plus, its not obvious that you're thinking about a foreign language, so you can do it anywhere.

Other than these tips, I just tried to do as much as I could when I felt like it. Even if I slipped away, not doing anything new for a week or more, I kept reviewing using my above techniques. In terms of getting far, I think I have made great progress in both languages, even though I've studied Latin for less than three years, and German only one.

Good Luck with the Japanese, that is truly a worthwhile pursuit! I've always wanted to learn it, it seems really useful, and cool. However you study it, don't get discouraged, just stick with it, I'm sure you enjoy it, and it's really cool when you know you've made progress. Good luck!

User currently offlineHeederA380 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 165 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1344 times:

I just want to offer some words of support for LufthansaUSA's "list" in his last post. That's basically the same thing I've been doing with my Russian pursuits. I too am a big fan of flashcards -- they're especially helpful when you're learning to write and recognize a new alphabet.

I also remembered another resource that I've been using: Transparent Language. It's a software thing that is highly interactive. I'm not sure if it's available for Arabic, but it quite possibly could be. I like Transparent Language especially for help in pronunciation. It has a "mode" where you speak into a microphone on your computer, and it will play back whatever you said. At the same time it makes a pattern of your voice (read: pronunciation) into a sonogram graphic, showing frequency and amplitude. (I hope that made sense!)  Smile/happy/getting dizzy I find it to be especially useful when I'm trying to get the proper inflections or stresses on the correct syllables in a given word.

So, Ariplanetire, you may want to check out the Russian version of Transparent Language. I think it's a lot less $$ than Pimsleur Comprehensive. It has all the sounds of the alphabet, etc. and is a great resource to use in combination with the Pimsleur tapes. You really want to get something where you can hear the language being spoken -- that's a much easier way to learn to speak the language (easier than bookwork), and it's more fun too.  Smile

One more thing, for anyone interested: I've only been "working" on my Russian stuff for about a half-hour to 45 minutes per day. (In fact, that's all the longer the lessons on Pimsleur are -- their technique doesn't endorse going for longer amounts of time in one sitting.) This combined with what LufthansaUSA described in #4 on his list will really get you into the right mind-set, and will have you speaking and understanding your language "in no time." It may even seem easy! Big grin

User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1334 times:

I don't know if you're in college or not, but they usually offer courses in different languages. I took a year's worth of Japanese. Hell, you can even major in one, which is not a bad idea. It's a great way to learn a language.

Another good way is to get a girlfriend who is of that particular background and speaks the language. This is especially true if they speak that language fluently. A lot of ethnic girls really, really like it when you show some interest in their culture or language. It's a win-win situation as you hook up with someone and learn a different language at the same time. I think that may be the easiest way, come to think of it. I have a friend who is married to a Korean woman and he's pretty good at the language already, and it's only been a year since they've been married. Korean is not exactly the easiest language to learn either.

To anyone learning Japanese, it's a very fun language to learn, but very difficult. The Chinese characters (they call them Kanji) are very difficult to memorize and can take years until you fully memorize all the ones that are in use (I think there's about 2000). Also, grammar is a real bitch, especially if you speak English, French or any other Western language as the word order is completely reversed and you have all these different tenses that you must use when in different situations. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my Japanese courses...a lot more than any of my other ones, including my major. It's a great way to meet people too as you can form study groups and what not. Not only that, Japanese girls LOVE foreign guys. They'd even hook up with one just for the prospect that it would improve their English. They'd be more than happy to reciprocate by teaching you Japanese as well.

User currently offlineKHI747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1621 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1317 times:

i would imagine it should be a much more difficult language to learn for you compared to German and Latin.I would imagine your biggest problem in the begnining would be to understand the arabic writing....once you do that it should get simpler....
Infact i am myself learning arabic...but since i am Pakistani it is much much easier for me.Urdu,the national language of Pakistan is not only written the same way as arabic but there are countless words that are common in the langauges.Yet by no means is it easy or simple for me to master arabic.
I dont know where you live but there is a international franchise that teaches languages.Its known as Berlitz. Their website is www.berlitz.com.

User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2610 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1291 times:

Thanks for the tips LufthansaUSA!

As for the girlfriend thing - in fact, the reason I'm learning Japanese is because I'm fascinated by Japanese girls.  Love Now we have a foreign exchange student at our school from Japan and I'm gonna hook up with her. I think she's pretty hot too!  Big thumbs up

Res, don't you know that when Japanese people ask gaijin to teach them English, they're often mocking you?  Laugh out loud

User currently offlineLufthansaUSA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 188 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1289 times:

You're welcome Shaw Patrick, thanks to you for your own input.

As for Arabic's difficulty, I understand it will be challenging, but I am excited-not only is it harder thatn Latin or German, it is more unique and very interesting to me.

Again, thanks to everyone who has replied!

User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2610 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1284 times:

I have a little tip to offer as well-

When you're learning new words, I find it very helpful to find some way to act it out or visualize it.

For example: with verbs, do the action. (French) Marche=walk. Go ahead and walk for a second or two as you're saying the word "marche." Then later on when you're actually walking somewhere, either say aloud or think "Je marche" or something else that has to do with walking. This *really* reinforces vocabulary, and when I find I've forgotten a word, I just do the action and it usually helps me remember the word.

With nouns, you can either picture the thing in your head or actually find the thing somewhere and name it, aloud or just in your head.

You can do the same thing with every other word.

Basically all you're doing is putting your knowledge to work. As soon as you learn new words, use them! Whenever you pass une voiture on la rue just think "c'est une voiture sur la rue!" It's all about reinforcement.

Hope I've helped somebody  Big grin


User currently offlineRai From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1272 times:

Yeah, Japanese girls are definitely cute. Some of them can be a bit immature, but generally they're really cool...and they love foreign guys. If you went to Japan, you'd be in absolute heaven.

Another way to learn a language is to go abroad for a bit and take a language course while there. I think that may be the best way to learn it as you are taking the course and you can actually practice it in those environs. I'm thinking about doing that for Korean, actually.

User currently offlinePerthGloryFan From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 751 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1261 times:

Thanks for the tips fellas - I'm thinking of taking up a contract in Qatar next year and this thread caught my eye.

As for Japanese, forget kanji, first just stick with the hirogana and katakana syllabii, there's heaps less characters and they're both phonetic - not like English where each letter/syllable can have a dozen different pronounications. And I love the way that a question in Japanese ends in "ka" - not like English where the "?" relies on inflection only.

And the girls there really go for the ganjin - in 1990 I was team manager for a small group of 12 yo boys who competed in an athletics event in Japan. Most were your usual gangly freckly brown/black haired anglo-aussie kids but one was a tanned blonde surfer type and he was lucky to get out, er, let's say in one piece (well he did lose a couple of locks of hair) - wherever we went (and sometimes it was in out of the way places) he was mobbed by girls from 6 to 16. I knew what being the minder for a real celebrity was like! All I could think was that I was responsible for this 12 yo boy and what would his parents say if, er, something, not violent, but you know what I mean, happened to him! So if you're blonde you may be on a winner  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2610 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1247 times:

PGF, you mean those gangly freckly brown/black haired kids didn't get any attention from the Japanese chicks?

Damn, I'm doomed!

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