Last updated: July 18, 2021
The main problem of studying Arabic is that even many native speakers struggle to speak and write Arabic correctly. They can only communicate flawlessly in their dialect.
Books written by European scholars are not only boring, you also need a Latin dictionary. Books written by American scholars are too simplified and ruin the beauty of Arabic. Books written by Arabic scholars usually are not written for beginners. So, you are pretty much on your own.
In fact, it is all about dedication and patience.
How can you improve your Arabic?
Be a copy machine – for beginners
Take an Arabic newspaper, the Qur’an, or a novel and write down (copy) two or three sentences every day. Write them on a paper – by hand.
If you are a beginner, don’t worry about the content. It is not relevant to understand the sentences. Your brain will get used to Arabic patterns.
It might sound old school but it worked for me. Also, your eyes will get used to the Arabic script.
Create a playlist – for beginners
Conjugate verbs and record them (ask a native speaker), listen to them, again and again. After a year the conjugation of the dual and the feminine plural will feel somehow natural.
He also offers Anki vocab files and mp3 files (recorded by native speakers).
Watch Netflix with Arabic subtitles
You can download (free) Arabic subtitles (some are great, some are of rather poor quality) for most Netflix series. It really helps to brush up your vocab.
Study THREE words a day – beginners
If you study three words per day, you will know more than 3,500 unique words after four years.
That is enough to have a decent conversation about any topic. I use Anki to build my vocab list.
Back to the roots – intermediate & advanced
As soon as you know how Arabic works, I would not advise studying words. Try to study roots. Even if you study only one root a week, you will improve quickly.
The important thing is to identify as many patterns as possible (and to derive their meaning). If you struggle to find the root, try Aratools (pretty good tool, but it is not always 100% correct).
Please feel free (as a comment) to share any tools, routines, etc. that helped you to improve your Arabic! I appreciate any ideas.
Tip Learn how to develop your Arabic with the right dictionaries.
Deepen your understanding:
- Is Arabic a gender-inclusive language?
- What does nunation express in Arabic?
- What is the idea behind nunation (tanween) in Arabic?
- How well can you identify Arabic roots?
- Why are the adjective and the حال often confused in Arabic?
Picture credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay