Learning a new language is a magnificent endeavour that opens up many opportunities, both personally and professionally. New languages are challenging, requires a lot of time, and effort.
Learning Arabic is no different. In today’s world it is becoming more valuable for businesses with current or potential commercial links to Arab countries, to learn and master Arabic.
Though the outcome is rewarding, learning Arabic does not come without its challenges. In this Article we will be going through 10 common mistakes students tend to stumble across when learning the Arabic language:
- Not knowing how unique the Arabic language is
- Approaching Arabic like any other language
- Utilising only one type of study method
- Having no end goal
- Not practicing
- No vocabulary strategy
- Using Transliteration for reading
- Not using a tutor
- Not being consistent
- Trying to be a Perfectionist
Not knowing how unique the Arabic language is
Students with no previous exposure to Arabic do not know that the Arabic language consists of two formats. This makes the language of Arabic unique as other languages use a single format for both writing and speaking.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or otherwise known as ‘Classical Arabic’ is what is used in writing and literature as well as formal settings, whereas colloquial Arabic is used in communication. Students learning Arabic need to learn both forms of Arabic. As a result, knowing the distinction between the two can help you successfully learn Arabic!
Approaching Arabic like any other language
Some languages are more difficult to learn than others. For example, Spanish is generally easier to learn than Chinese. Arabic is one of the harder languages to learn. Many students approach their learning of Arabic the same as an easier language, thinking that they’ll be fluent in a matter of weeks.
However, Arabic requires several months of relentless work and studying. Lots of students tend to get frustrated at their lack of progress when studying Arabic. Learning Arabic takes longer to master than many other languages so students should not have such high expectations of their development. Especially during the first couple weeks of learning.
3. Utilising only one type of study method
The Arabic language is too complicated to learn simply by reading textbooks. Arabic is not a self-study language. Students who want to master Arabic utilise a variety of study tools including speaking classes with native speakers, audio tapes, videos, and textbooks.
While theoretically it is possible to learn some languages on your own, Arabic is not one of them. Thinking that you can just pick up a book and start speaking Arabic the next day is unrealistic. One reason why it is impractical is that Arabic pronunciation can be tricky. Reading a book really cannot teach you that. However, a language partner or qualified Arabic tutor such as from Learn&Co, can help develop your speaking skills. As a result, you will be speaking Arabic like a native in no time at all.
Having no end goal
Arabic has many forms, dialects and subdivisions that can overwhelm even the most incisive students. Each form of Arabic has a purpose and applicable use. If a student does not know his or her end goal and the reason why they want to learn Arabic, they will end up confused, not getting the specific, thorough skills they need.
When you set an end goal for yourself, you will actually learn Arabic faster. This is because you will be laser focused on the outcome of learning Arabic instead of jumping all over trying to learn what you don’t really need.
For example, students who want to learn Arabic for business should focus on learning spoken Arabic while those looking to learn Arabic for academic reasons should focus on written, classical Arabic or MSA.
Like any other language, students can only become fluent with constant practice. With Arabic being a complex language, a student cannot expect to master it if he or she studies it and puts off using it until later. The Arabic language encompasses a lot of pronunciation rules that require students to practice while they are learning it. It is advised that students practice speaking Arabic daily during their studies. It’s best for the student to practice speaking with a native Arabic speaker.
No vocabulary strategy
Vocabulary can be one of the most intimidating parts of learning a new language because there are so many words. But learning Arabic vocabulary does not have to be this hard, all you need is a clear, consistent strategy that works for you.
Having a vocab diary is ideal, but only if you use it right. Make sure you review new words at least 5 times over a period of days to ensure they actually stick in your mind over time. Test yourself by translating new vocabulary both from English (or your native language) into Arabic, and vice versa. It can also be helpful to practice words out loud and even write the words down if you are able. Get clear on what your strategy is and stick to it!
Using Transliteration for reading
Transliteration is the use of English letters to spell Arabic words. The intention is for the reader to be able to pronounce Arabic words, however, it falls short. Anything transliterated cannot take the place of the Arabic language, and there are some sounds in it that are not found in English.
Therefore, there must be some symbols created for those letters. Transliteration slows down the progress for reading Arabic. You must learn to acknowledge the Arabic letters for what they are and not symbols for something else. So, skip the transliteration.
Not using a tutor
It is not uncommon for students to have difficulty in learning Arabic. Besides using a variety of study tools and resources, the help of a tutor can be the key to a student either succeeding or failing to grasp Arabic.
As intimidating as it may be to learn Arabic, there are programs that make it easier and faster to learn. Learn&Co has been supporting students all around the world to learn Arabic and is known to be the fastest way to learn the language. We make use of a diverse curriculum taught by experienced Arabic speakers.
No matter what your end goal is, Learn&Co has a range of courses available tailored to every ability level. If you want to learn Arabic, contact us today to learn more about our Arabic language program.
Not being consistent
Like any other skill, in order to make consistent improvement with Arabic, it’s important to build a habit around it. This does not mean you need to spend hours and hours each day learning. Rather it is better to spend half an hour a day reading in Arabic or learning some new vocabulary than to spend an hour a week doing it all in one go.
If you build it into your daily routine, you will familiarise yourself with the language more quickly by keeping it fresh in your mind instead of forgetting everything and having to relearn it all. Consistency is key!
Trying to be a Perfectionist
The biggest mistake students make is trying to be perfectionists. Tons of Arabic students end up letting their hard-earned knowledge slip away out of fear of offending others.
Suppose you went to stay in an Arabic-speaking country for a while with the goal of pushing yourself into speaking, if you are anxious about speaking incorrectly, you are probably going to end up just using English with the internationally local community. But that is not going to improve your Arabic, it is going to actively harm it.
The more you actually put yourself out there and speak Arabic with others, the more you will learn. Sure, you will make mistakes from time to time, but everybody does.
Overall, there are many common mistakes that are made by students who are not experienced and that tends to either slow students down or they are no longer motivated to continue. However, all these mistakes can easily be avoided when you have clear goals in mind and get help.
The best way to learn Arabic without facing difficulties is by hiring an experienced online language tutor from Learn&Co that can support you along your entire language learning journey. They can help you pick up the right skills that will benefit your language learning massively. This will in turn make the language easier and faster to learn.