Studying Arabic

Since I am in an Arabic speaking country and the vast majority of my co-workers are native Arabic speakers, I'm trying (with emphasis on trying!) to learn Arabic. I have been told that Arabic and English are the two most difficult languages to learn for adults. I believe it.

I have studied French, Spanish and Latin before, but Arabic has its own set of unique challenges. The biggest problem I have is pronunciation. Arabic has several sounds that English doesn't (ayn is the one that gives me the most trouble), and several sounds that I can't really tell apart: the two "h"-type sounds, two different "t" sounds , two "th"s, and two "s"s.

Then there is the problem of the vowels in general not being included when the word is spelled, so if I don't know the word, I have to guess. But I am really enjoying the class. I just finished the beginner's class last week; the intermediate level starts on Sunday. Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

Good luck!! Do you hear a lot of Arabic at work?


Brn said...

I do hear a lot, both at work and elsewhere.

There are only four of us (I think) at the library whose native language is not Arabic. We have had a few vendors come to make presentations in Arabic. Many of the security guards and janitors don't speak English at all or well, so I end up trying to communicate in Arabic if I need something.

Even when watching the English language channels here, a lot of the commercials are in Arabic. I try to listen to Arabic radio or TV, for at least a little while every day. I am gradually understand more and more of what they are saying.

Talasim said...


dani said...

Yup, probably the hardest part are the stressed letters which I and my tutor have always been fighting with. And comes the spelling in arabic which I really find confusing. Maybe if it wasn't because the ministry of education requires us junior high school students to learn arabic I wouldn't have had interest in the lingo. But as far as it gets I'm moving from beginner to the regular class. Eleven months of stay here [Me] is just too much. ;)

Dhabi Dabbler said...

Are your children learning Arabic? My son had 3 years studying and was towards the top of the class - but they didn't teach conversational Arabic, only the letters and some words, so he couldn't even ask our watchman his name or ask how much something was. This was to enable reading first and talking afterwards.

Good luck with the studying!

xikita said...

I want to spend this summer in Dubai/Sharjah studying arabic, any tips?
Where are studying? How many hours?

Marcus Aurelius said...


When I was there I studied Tagalog. ;-)