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Are you interested in learning Arabic this year? If so, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of advantages for those who do, especially if you live in Canada. Arabic is the sixth most spoken language in the world, so as you can imagine, having it on your CV can make you more employable, and increase your chances of accessing great positions in the oil industry and other vital sectors. On top of this, learning this language is ideal for those who want to work in the Arab world, as it will allow you to communicate fluently with your bosses and coworkers, and also understand the local work culture, so if you’ve been dreaming about landing a corporate job in the UAE or Qatar, acquiring this language is a must. In addition to this, being able to speak Arabic confidently will allow you to connect with some of the 523,235 Arab Canadians that live in the country, as well as to make friends in the immigrant community, so if you’re interested in expanding your social life, learning Arabic is a wonderful idea.
If you’ve tried to learn Arabic in the past, you probably know that it can be quite challenging. To make it easier for you, here’s a selection of tips and recommendations you can follow to master the language more quickly and avoid the most common mistakes!
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1. Why Learn Arabic Today?
There are plenty of reasons why you should start studying Arabic this year! Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of the most important ones.
To Become More Employable
There are plenty of well-paid positions in Canada that require you to be bilingual, especially in the gas and oil industry, so if you want to impress employers and land a job in top companies like Canadian Nural Resources Ltd, Enbridge Inc or Cenovus Energy Inc, becoming a fluent speaker is the way to go. Alternatively, if you’re interested in landing a corporate job, being able to communicate fluently in Arabic will turn you into an asset for most companies, particularly those that want to expand abroad and improve their sales in the Arab world, so if your goal is to stand out in your next work interview, you should start learning Arabic as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if you own a business in Canada and you’re trying to attract more clients, developing Arabic language skills will help you target new customers that are part of the foreign-born community, and build better business relationships with Arab Canadian business people. On top of that, speaking Arabic is essential if you want to take advantage of the successful economic relations between Canada and the UAE, which is the country’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa and its 20th largest foreign investor.
To Connect With Relatives
Do you have family members or in-laws in Arab countries like Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine or Morocco? If so, learning how to communicate with them in their own language it’s an excellent way to improve your relationship with them and get to know their local culture. As you’re probably aware, not many people speak English in Arab countries, which can make communication a bit tricky, so instead of hiring a translator next time you visit your relatives, surprise them by learning Arabic. This will completely change your relationship with them for the better, as you’ll soon discover that Arab people are one of the biggest supporters of learners interested in their language, and they’ll really appreciate you making the effort to learn about their culture. What’s more, learning Arabic can be a great way to connect with your or your spouse’s roots and get in contact with a new way of seeing the world.
To Travel the World
Although there are plenty of different Arabic variants, if you learn Standard Modern Arabic, you’ll be able to make yourself understood in the 25 countries where it has official status, which are Yemen, Chad, Bharain, Algeria, Djibouti, Comoros, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, the UAE and Qatar. If this wasn’t enough because Arabic is so widespread throughout the world, even if you visit countries like the United States, France, Brazil or Belgium, you’ll find big communities of speakers with whom you can speak the language, so it’s an incredibly useful language tool for travellers.
To Keep Your Mind Sharp
If you want to keep your mind sharp and challenge yourself, learning Arabic is one of the smartest things you can do, as you’ll have to learn a whole new group of sounds, master a new alphabet and learn how to read and write from right to left. Although it will take some time to get good at it, learning a language that’s so different from English can be really stimulating, as you’ll have to learn to think in a completely different way and be exposed to an alternative way of building sentences, since instead of following the subject-verb-object order we’re used to in English, you’ll have to get used to a verb-subject-object pattern.Sign up for an Arabic course today
2. Tips to Learn Arabic More Effectively
Now that you know why learning Arabic is so beneficial, you probably can’t wait to begin your journey to fluency. However, unlike other European languages like French or Spanish, which share more words with English, learning Arabic can be really challenging for English speakers, so here are some tips to make it easier for you to achieve your language goals and become a proficient speaker in close to no time.
Find a Language Trainer
If you’re truly serious about speaking Arabic, the first thing you should do is find a qualified native teacher. This will ensure you access the best learning materials and have a professional create lessons that are interesting and cover all the aspects of the language you need to know. Additionally, having a tutor means you’ll get to ask any questions you have about the language, which can lead to learning things about Arabic that you wouldn’t find in books or online, so if you want to expand your knowledge of the language and learn as much as possible, getting a teacher is certainly a good idea. What’s more, a trainer can help you practice the language and improve your pronunciation, so if your goal is to sound as similar to a native as you can, don’t hesitate to send us a quick inquiry now and we’ll put you in contact with one of our amazing Arab tutors who will create a completely personalized language course based on your requirements.
Commit to One Arabic Dialect First
As we previously mentioned, there are plenty of different Arabic dialects you can learn. Although it might be tempting to try to learn all of them, you should commit to one first and move on to others once you’ve mastered the variant that’s most useful for you to learn. Unless you need to learn a particular dialect to travel to a certain country, you should start with Modern Standard Arabic. This variant is the standardized version of Arabic that developed in the late 19th century and it’s used in all Arab countries, especially in academia, mass media, law and literature. It’s also the dialect that’s taught in formal education, so as you can imagine it’s ideal for those interested in reading books in Arabic, writing professionally in the language and studying in an Arab-speaking country. Once you are fluent in MSA, you can move on to a vernacular variety like Libyan Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Algerian Arabic, Sudanese Arabic or Gulf Arabic, which is mainly spoken in the UAE, depending on where you want to go and what you want to do with the language.
Make and Use Flashcards
Due to the fact that Arabic doesn’t sound like Indo-European languages, it might be hard to remember words at first, but don’t worry, there’s a simple way to memorize new vocabulary more effectively and that’s to use flashcards. Flashcards are just cards that have a word or phrase on one side, and it’s meaning on the other, and they are one of the most useful tools to practice your vocabulary every day. If you use them at least fifteen minutes a day, you’ll avoid forgetting key Arabic words and you’ll be able to make progress much more quickly than just by repeating word lists, so go ahead and create your own deck or download apps like Quizlet or Anki where you can find flashcards made by other users.
Learn the Arabic Alphabet
To learn the Arabic alphabet as quickly as possible, don’t waste time trying to look for the equivalent Arabic letters in English, as some letters like ع simply don’t exist in our language. Instead, you’ll have to pay special attention to the vocalization of each of the 28 Arabic letters until you can properly distinguish them and practice writing them as much as you can while following the stroke order. Although learning how to write these letters from right to left can be intimidating for beginners, it’s not something you should worry about, as most learners are able to master this in close to no time. What you should pay attention to, however, is that Arabic letters change its form depending on where they are in a word. This can be confusing at first, so carefully study the different ways a letter can be written depending on if it has an initial position, a medial position, a final position, or an isolated position. To illustrate this, here’s a chart of the Arabic letters and the various forms they can take depending on its word position.
Immerse Yourself in Arab Culture
The easiest and most entertaining way of improving your Arabic is to immerse yourself in Arab cultures as much as possible from day one. Don’t know how? Here are some of the best ways you can do this.
- Listening to podcasts is a great way to boost your Arabic skills, as you’ll get to listen to native speakers speaking about diverse topics, which can help you expand your vocabulary and get used to Arabic sounds. Talk in Arabic is a great option, as it features episodes in 8 different dialects of Arabic, which are Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Algerian Arabic, Tunisian Arabic, Saudi Arabic, Iraqi Arabic and Sudanese Arabic, so it’s ideal for those who want to get exposed to many variants and learn about life in different countries. Another podcast you should check out is ArabicPod, which has episodes in MSA and Quranic Arabic that are divided by topic and level, so regardless of how fluent you are at the moment you’ll be able to enjoy it.
- Another way you can pick on new Arabic phrases and get in touch with its fascinating culture is to listen to music in the language. There are plenty of interesting artists you can listen to, but you can start with Fairuz, a Lebanese singer who sings for the independence and unity of her country, Kazem El-Saher, a musician and composer from Iraq who makes pop music, or Faris Odeh, a Palestinian singer, composer and activist who is known for the way she turns Palestinian poems into songs.
- Watching YouTube videos in Arabic is also a useful way to work on your skills in your free time, as there are many channels that offer excellent videos such as Learn Arabic with Maha, Easy Arabic, Learn Lebanese Arabic with Hiba Najem, ArabicPod101 and Rachids Welt. In addition to providing great content, you can use these channels to have discussions with your teacher or your language partners and learn new words, so every time you have some free time, give any of these YouTubers a chance and you won’t regret it.
- Lastly, if you want to improve your pronunciation and your listening skills you should watch films and TV shows in Arabic. Fortunately, Netflix has a great selection you can check out, which includes shows like Finding Ola, that follows the life of a recently divorced housewife from Cairo called Ola who has to start over and find a new purpose for her life, Drama Queen, an Egyptian satire that mixes puppets and live action and Al Rawabi School for Girls, a story about a bullied Jordanian girl that gets revenge on her bullies, and ends up finding out things she didn’t know about her bullies as well as about herself.
3. Tips to Improve Your Arabic Speaking Skills
One of the most challenging aspects of Arabic is its pronunciation, as it has some sounds that don’t exist in English. Although it can be daunting to go from reading in Arabic to actually having a conversation with someone in the language, here are some recommendations to make that transition effortlessly.
Read Out Loud
The easiest way to start speaking in Arabic is just by reading out loud. Try to choose easy texts at the beginning, and if you can, listen to recordings of native speakers reading them first. At first, don’t worry about making mistakes or mispronouncing words, as it’s part of the process. Instead, focus on imitating the rhythm native speakers have while you read, and pay attention to the way they stress different words and phrases. If you do this often enough, you’ll stop feeling self-conscious while speaking Arabic, so go find something you can read and give it your best.
This technique, which consists of repeating dialogues as you hear them, is something you can do while watching a film, a video or listening to your favourite podcast. Although it can seem simple, it’s a really useful habit that helps create new neural connections in your brain that will allow you to produce Arabic words and sentences quickly and accurately without having to think about it. If you’re not sure how good or bad you sound while repeating words, you can record yourself and compare yourself to the original recording, or show it to your teacher and ask them to give you some feedback.
Talk to Natives as Often as You Can
As soon as you feel ready to talk to a native, you should do it. Doing this will force you to put into practice everything that you’ve been learning in the last few weeks and actually find out if you can communicate in Arabic. To do this, you can attend a language exchange event near your city or town in Canada, or meet online friends on free websites like Meetup or Interpals. If you still find this too intimidating, you should first practice with your teacher, who’ll give you the best tips to sound like a pro.
Retell Stories in Arabic
A fun exercise you can do with a trainer or with a language partner is to retell a story you read in your coursebook or online. Doing this will ensure you learn how to use different tenses in Arabic, remember new vocabulary, practice sentence building and of course, work on your pronunciation, so it’s a really simple way to boost several skills in one exercise. If you’re still a beginner, you should pick something really simple like a fairy tale or a text out of a children’s book, and work your way up until you can retell more complex stories.
4. Key Arabic Phrases
Are you ready to have your first conversation in Arabic? If so, here are some of the most commonly used greetings and phrases you need to know to start your next chat with a native speaker on the right foot.
|Arabic Version||Transliteration||English Version|
|السلام عليكم||As-salamu alaykum||Peace be Upon You|
|صباح الخير||Sabah al-kheir||Good morning|
|مساء الخير||Masaa al-kheir||Good evening|
|كيف حالك||Kaefa haaluk?||How are you?|
|بخير شكراً||Bekheir shukran||Good, thanks|
|ما هو اسمك؟||Ma huwa ismuk?||What’s your name?|
|من أين أنت؟||Min aina ant?||Where are you from?|
|هل تتكلم لغة أخرى؟||Hel tatakalum lugha ukhra?||Do you speak another language?|
|لو سمحت، أين الحمام؟||Lo samaht, ain al hamam?||Pardon me, where is the restroom?|
|بكم هذا؟||Bikam hatha?||How much is this?|
|مع السلامةإلا اللقاء||Ma’assalama Illa al-liqaa||Bye|
|تصبح على خير||Tisbah ‘ala kheir||Goodnight|
Want to learn more useful expressions? Check out these 22 Arabic Greetings to Awe Your Friends [With Examples].
Ready to become a fluent Arab speaker? If so, all you need to do is send us a quick inquiry now and we’ll match you with one of our excellent Arabic trainers as soon as possible!
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