Learning the Arabic language is an awesome and rewarding experience that everybody should try at least once during their lifetime!
We don’t choose where we are born and what our mother language is, but once we start growing up we realize how vast and beautiful the world is and how many different cultures there are, each with its unique forms of communication.
Naturally, most of us tell ourselves something like “Whoa, how interesting and exotic this foreign language sounds, I wish I could learn it but…” and so the excuses begin to pile. But think about it for a second, is there actually a real reason you shouldn’t learn to speak a language you are interested in?
Let me repeat, is there a real reason you shouldn’t and not couldn’t learn it?
There is nothing you can’t learn without will and dedication and learning another language is the perfect example of this.
Now, what we said so far applies to every language in the entire world but if you came across this article you are probably interested in learning Arabic, so let’s talk about it.
Table of contents:
Why the Arabic language is important?
- A new rapidly developing world full of opportunities
- A new job opportunities
- Develop many new foreign professional and personal relationships
- Understand people better
- Enjoy the Arabic works of art in their in their original
- Learn more about the second largest religion in the world
- Develop yourself as a person even further
Is it hard to learn Arabic?
- Words building
- Word order
How long does it take to learn Arabic?
- What are your goals
- How much time can you spare for learning
- How are you going to learn Arabic
Why the Arabic language is important?
Arabic is the official language of more than 20 countries in the world and is the mother language of over 380 million people around the globe. Arabic is also the liturgical language of Islam which is the second largest religion in the world.
1. A new rapidly developing world full of opportunities
Of course, most of these countries and people are located in the Middle East, which is a rapidly growing trade and business center. The population and economy growth have caught the eyes of many investors and there are a lot of initiatives to integrate the Middle East into the global economy.
This means that a lot has been done by the Arab country’s governments when it comes to business regulations so that local people can start and develop their own business and foreigners become attracted to invest their money there.
So, learning Arabic can open new business opportunities for you.
2. A new job opportunities
With the development of the Arabic World and its integration in the international affairs, there is a huge demand for Arabic speaking workers in the West. So, if you are looking for a great carrier in the fields of journalism, banking, and finance, education and a lot more learning Arabic might be the right thing for you.
By learning a second language you open so many new doors for yourself, but by learning Arabic the number of those doors is really higher.
3. Develop many new foreign professional and personal relationships
In the Arabic World, the relationship between people is something very precious. People have respect for each other and they value the person in front of them deeply. This goes not only when it comes to personal life but for professional relationships as well.
In the West we’ve somewhat got used to making “cold” business, where the main focus is the value of the deal and what we get from it, choosing the party with the best offer. In the Arab World, people really value the relationships build of mutual trust.
In such a place, speaking the language shows the people that you’ve put time and effort into learning about them and their culture, which can result in deeper business relationships.
4. Understand people better
Language is a huge part of any culture. Through it, people communicate and express their feelings and the view of the world. But what exactly is the culture and why understanding the language is so important?
Some people will say that the culture is the traditions, the language, and the cuisine and believes of a group of people originating from the same place. But can it really be narrowed just to these several things?
Sure, those are some of the main elements of a culture but have you ever noticed when you are interacting with people from a certain nation how they have some similarities in their habits and in the way they react to certain things.
Well, what better way to catch all these tiny but very interesting details of their culture than to interact freely with people from it speaking in their foreign language where they feel most comfortable. Arabs are no exception to this.
In order to get a really deep insight into Arabic culture, you need to be able to speak Arabic.
5. Enjoy the Arabic works of art in their in their original
Arabic World has made a significant contribution to world civilization. From ancient times to nowadays, many discoveries and inventions have been made in the Middle East and brought to the West.
This contributed heavily to the development of modern science, medicine, literature, music, and many others. For example, the numeric system which we are using today is actually called Arabic numerals and was developed around AD 500.
When it comes to Arab cultural heritage, people in the West have read or heard about some of its most popular pieces of art such as 1001 Nights, but generally, it has been really limited to foreign interpretations.
So, you will have the chance to explore a new unique world by reading and learning about it directly from the source. This way you will be able to appreciate the Arab World and its cultural products and understand the people, their way of thinking and their values.
6. Learn more about the second largest religion in the world
As mentioned above Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam and if you want to study and truly understand this religion, to understand what millions of people from around the world believe in you must learn the language.
Qur’an is the sacred book of all Muslims and is believed that Allah (God) has chosen and revealed the Holy Qur’an to prophet Muhammed (phuh) through angel Gabriel. Although today it is translated in many different languages many say that a translation into another language is impossible and that those translations are far from accurate due to the complexity of its contents and to the Arabic language.
Today, Muslims from all around the world worship Allah and send their prayers in their mother language, as it has been done for centuries.
7. Develop yourself as a person even further
By learning Arabic as your second language you will be able to communicate with a variety of different people with a completely different view of the world from yours. This means that you will be able to see things in your life from another angle which will let you develop even further as a person.
You will be able to see what you have been thought about the world from a young age through the eyes of another culture and once you gather different points of view you will be able to finally get an objective perception about the things that matter in our lives. Something no one could ever achieve if he sticks to the boundaries of their own culture and believes.
Furthermore, you will become a more interesting person. Many native English speakers don’t bother learning another language in their lifetime as English is the most commonly used language in the world and it can serve them well no matter where they go.
But when people meet a person who has put the effort and time into learning a new language and culture they instantly become more interested in him. This is because such a person possesses knowledge from a different world and all people are eager to hear about it. It is like telling your friends a fairy tale.
Is it hard to learn Arabic?
“Arabic is too complex and almost impossible to learn”. Not true at all. It has an alphabet of 28 letters, which once learned are easy to use. Most of its sounds are already found in English and its grammar is fairly simple.
To tell you how difficult it will be for you to learn a certain language is impossible. This is because each one of us is a unique human being and while for some of us learning to speak and write a different language may be easier we might be really bad at math and vice versa. So difficulty here is really a subjective matter.
All in all, Arabic can be a little bit harder to learn than most European languages but easier – than Chinese for example. Just for you to get an overall feeling of what you get yourself into.
But certainly not impossible to learn!
Now let’s cover some factors so you can get even a better idea of the Arabic.
When most people see Arabic script what usually comes to their mind is: “How beautiful this is” and “This is impossible to learn”. Arab calligraphy is indeed really beautiful and is considered itself a form of art. But can it be the lack of familiarity rather than the actual complexity of the script that makes people thinking that they can’t learn it themselves?
As already mentioned, the Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters, which if you think about it is almost the same number as the ones of many familiar European languages. These letters are joined up and consist of only five different shapes and Arabic is mostly written from right to left.
So, when it comes to the alphabet the concept isn’t this different than most of the languages but you have been reading and writing similar letter shapes your whole life and it will take some time to learn and get used to these new ones.
However, something that some people might find more difficult, at least at the beginning, is that Arabic uses an Abjad. This means that all short vowels are not omitted, with some exceptions to the rule.
The reader has to determine and fill the missing vowels when speaking but don’t worry there are certain grammar and word patterns that will guide you until you get used to it. On the other hand, in the Arabic, every letter is spelled exactly as it sounds which can’t be said for many European languages.
Basically, you will find it hard at the beginning but as you start getting used to it, it will get much easier.
Well, here the problem again is the lack of familiarity. Arabic is a language from the Semitic family and when it comes to vocabulary there is hardly anything in common with English and the other European languages. Or simply said there aren’t any words that share the same origin.
For example, let’s look at German where the word “schreiben” means to write and is similar to the English word scribble both of which originate from the Latin word scriber (write). We can find this when we compare English with Spanish too: Classic – Clásico, Action – Acción, etc.
This is because these languages share a history together and during their development, they had influenced one another through various forms of communication and share somewhat similar origins.
But during this process, English was never influenced by Arabic language and vice versa as there were hardly any connections between the nations that used them. So, you probably won’t hear anything familiar that can ring a bell about its meaning.
Sure there are some exceptions of course, but most of them are modern phrases that have been already integrated into every language such as the word Internet.
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4. Words building
Don’t let the different vocabulary scare you, because Arabic has its own concept when it comes to word building that helps the new learners greatly! Sure, it might be true that there are multiple words for one thing in Arabic but once you understand what roots are and how to use them you will find that it might not be as hard as you think.
In Arabic words are derived from roots which consist of 3 letters (4 in some cases). Every different root has some meaning and the words that are derived from that root by adding different letters to it will have a related meaning.
For example, let’s look at the root ‘a-l-m. We can derive from it the verb ‘alima which means to know in English, then we can alter it again to ‘allama which means to teach and so on.
Another example: k-t-b which gives us the concept of writing. If we add to it we can get kataba which means to write and makataba – library.
What this means is that if you learn a certain root you can make a pretty accurate guess on words you have never encountered or at least get the context of what you are reading or hearing.
5. Word order
When it comes to word order (the way you position the subject, the verbs and the objects in a sentence) there are 3 main language structures.
The first one places the subject at the beginning, followed by the verbs and then the objects. English is its representative. Looks like this:
The man asked the woman.
The second one places the subject first, then the objects and in the end the verb. Such language is Chinese. Looks like this:
The man the woman asked.
The third one places the verb first, followed by the subject and then the object. Arabic is an example of this. Looks like this:
Asked the man the woman.
Now, yes it looks strange because you are used in doing it in the way your language is structured but you will find out that it’s not as hard as it looks.
What you also need to know is that Arabic is actually very flexible when it comes to word structure. You can actually choose your own word order. So you can choose to stick with the third structure or position the words as you’d normally do in English or your native language.
We won’t waste too much time talking about it here as once you get into Arabic you will spend a plenty of time learning about it. What you need to know is that grammar is a really big and important part of the Arabic language and it’s more difficult compared to English.
There are a lot of rules that you need to study before you understand the proper conjugation and other assets of language but once you learn a few you will notice that there are almost no exceptions to them.
Well, there is a huge list of dialects in the Arabic language. Actually, some these variants of the Arabic have such great difference from one another that it can be said they are different languages by themselves.
This difference is so huge that people who speak different Arabic dialects from different regions of the Middle East may not be able to understand each other at all. To put it simply, they have the same origin but imagine comparing English to Spanish, there is a huge difference, right?
Still, the Classic Arabic and the Modern Standard Arabic are learned by the majority of the people. The Classic Arabic is the language of Qur’an and origins from as early as 6th century A.D. The Modern Standard Arabic is most widely used by the people in the Arab World. It has a lot of modern words integrated from the English and is used in the media and the other forms of communication.
Learn more about the different Arabic dialects.
How long does it take to learn Arabic?
If we look at how long it takes to the average English speaker it is estimated that it will take you around 2200 hours to learn Arabic. This means that you will take almost two years of regular class attendance to achieve it.
But can you really trust those numbers and does it mean it will be the same for you?
The answer is simple – no.
There are many different factors you need to consider that vary greatly with each individual, so such an equation that estimates how long it will take you to learn Arabic is impossible to make.
Now let’s cover some of the factors and hopefully after this you will be able to find out how much time you will need.
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1. What are your goals
Why do you want to learn Arabic?
Is it because you want to learn about a new culture and traditions? Or maybe you need the language for your business and career. You might be interested in finding more about a new religion or you might simply want to be able to communicate freely with people from another part of the world while traveling.
Regardless what your motivation is, you need to set a clear goal before yourself, so you can find out what it will take to achieve it.
Learning it for fun might take you a lot less time and efforts, simply because you can get on a pretty good level even without going into too much detail into the rules of the language. But if you need it for your work and business it might take you a considerable amount of time to learn the proper grammar and the formal language.
2. How much time can you spare for learning
We all have our own duties and depending on them each one of us has a different amount of time we can spare for learning.
For some people, it might be possible to take several language classes a week, while others might find it difficult to attend to such classes even once a week.
Some people might be able to learn Arabic for several hours a day, while others might have only an hour or two on the weekends.
So, again it all depends on the goal you have and the time you can spare to achieve it.
3. How are you going to learn Arabic
Are you going to enroll in weekly classes at your local academy or are you going to study Arabic at University?
Maybe you want to learn it by yourself from home by taking Online Arabic Courses at a time that is suitable for you?
Do you have any friends that speak Arabic so you can practice with them or an Arabic community nearby? You can visit local coffee-shops and stores there to listen to the people talking, this way you will get a better idea about Arabic and will start to understand it way faster.
Again, if you are doing this from home its fine too. The Internet gives you unlimited access to information from all around the world. You can easily find articles and videos on Arabic and practice on them by trying to read and listen every day.
This is probably the most important factor.
No matter what your goal is, no matter how much time you can spend on it, and no matter the method of learning you have chosen if you have the dedication and you are willing to make the hard effort required you are certainly going to learn Arabic!
So, this is it! We hope that now you have a better idea about what you are getting yourself into when you are starting to learn Arabic!
We are certain that this will be an amazing and very pleasant experience for you that will open your eyes for a different new world with its own unique culture, religion, and traditions.
Don’t hesitate and start this new adventure right away! Start learning Arabic now!
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