WORD OF THE DAY
For all past entries, see the Blog
How to Learn Arabic
© Saqib Hussain
Students who want to learn Arabic may be tempted to rush into reading real or primary Arabic texts, without first putting in the necessary groundwork in terms of rigorously learning Arabic grammar and a core vocabulary, and doing some thinking about how to learn Arabic.
This is most noticeable in students wishing to study the Islamic sciences, who tend to start their Islamic Studies after only a rudimentary study of Arabic. This is to some extent understandable, as most of these students have travelled to the Middle East and are living on a relatively meagre budget. As such, they have only a limited amount of time they can be away from home.
However, it is definitely worth doing some focused language studies before embarking into the Islamic Sciences, or whatever else one wishes to use one's Arabic for. This is especially true for Islamic Sciences students who are willing to study for a number of years (six or more), as really is necessary to understand all the main subjects to a reasonable level.
It is a misconception, born out of a false analogy to the way children learn, that one can just 'pick up' a language by spending time in a country in which that language is spoken, or otherwise increasing one's exposure to that language. The adult brain is very different to a child's brain, and, for the most part, has to consciously be taught any foreign language.
Naturally, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach for how to learn Arabic, but, I believe that there are some basic and essential language learning strategies and methods which everyone can benefit from, and, likewise, common mistakes which everyone should avoid.
The steps outlined in this article are from my own personal experience. If you are a beginner, I hope that you will find it useful to go through the steps in this essay, which gives a step-by-step method of acquiring a strong grounding in the Arabic language.