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Learning Arabic Takes Time

Learning Arabic Takes Time

As I was browsing the internet last night, I was surprised at the many websites – for teaching Arabic as well as otherLearning Arabic Takes Time languages – claiming that they can teach you a language in an amazingly short time. Some claim that in just a few days or weeks, you could know the language.  I guess ‘knowing’ a language could be interpreted in different ways, but to make such claims, I believe, is misleading– to put it mildly.

To effectively learn a new language, one needs to realize that it takes time and effort.  You can’t learn a language overnight. There’s no quick fix. My husband had a great way of explaining it, saying, “It’s not a microwave process.” You can’t just insert your brain into a language and learn it in fast motion and retain what you learned.  It’s more of a slow cooker-type progression, where all of the flavors and “meat” slowly come together over time. Learning a new language requires a strong, solid foundation before you can continue on to the “meat” of the language. Rushing through the building of this foundation only sets you up for failure down the line. Or gives you flimsy, haphazard grasp of the language.

How practical is learning a language in a hurry?

Error is always in haste. – Thomas Fuller

Looking back on my Arabic studies, I realize that the lessons that I rushed through are lost memories to me now. Even worse, I realize that as I was learning and studying new lessons, things seemed to become so much harder because I hadn’t taken the time to let all the new vocabulary, grammar rules, etc really sink in. It turned into a domino effect, where not only was the initial lesson difficult to get through in a rushed manner, but the ones that followed it were also much more difficult. Think of math. If you rush through the foundational lessons, or have trouble in any of them that you don’t resolve, you will always struggle and never comprehend the concepts that build on them.

In the long run, learning a language ‘fast’ is a waste of time and money. Sure, you may finish quickly and be able to tell people, “I learned Arabic in only three weeks!” Or maybe you earned a “certificate” vouching for your completion of a program, but that knowledge isn’t going to stick. Six months later, you’re going to have to start at the beginning again because you didn’t give time to create a solid foundation.

Some things to remember when learning a new language

It takes patience

Remember that learning a new language takes time and cannot be done overnight. You can take live classes or learn Arabic online, but no matter what you do, you must be patient in your learning process.

Put in the work  

Learning a new language requires work on the student’s part. You can’t just sit in on a lesson and expect everything to flow into your brain and stick; you have to be willing to put in the work it takes to learn and retain the language.

Practice makes perfect

Learning Arabic takes practice– lots of practice. Spend time speaking outside of class, reading, writing and listening to Arabic. Speak Arabic whenever you can. Watch cartoons in Arabic, videos, or news.  Read Arabic newspapers or books, even if they’re simple children’s Arabic books. Practice writing Arabic, including the new vocabulary words you’re working on.

Daily Exposure  

Exposing yourself everyday to Arabic will help your mind start thinking like an Arabic speaker.  Like the above suggestions about practice, expose yourself by watching or listening to videos or news, reading Arabic books, and speaking to Arabic speakers any chance you can to get extra exposure.

 A Final Thought


There is a saying that concludes with: “And he that is hasty with his feet shall stumble.” As a language student, one needs to remember that learning a new language is a lifelong journey.   For some, it is possible to “learn” Arabic fast, but to actually retain that knowledge requires a lifetime of daily implementation. It takes patience, practice and dedication, but your achievements will be so rewarding. It will open your eyes to a whole new world, culture, and way of life.  By spending a little bit more time and effort, Arabic can become second nature for you and a language you can call your own.

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