For non-Arab speakers, the Arabic language is considered to be the Mt. Everest of languages. Not many have conquered this mountain, but those who have can seriously attest to how challenging the entire journey was—not to mention the time it took.
But what exactly are the challenges that these Arabic learners have faced during their journey?
For one, it’s totally different from the English alphabet that we’re used to and there are so many different forms and dialects. They may all be similar, but they’re also quite different in their own ways.
However, there are still many other challenges and that’s what we’re going to uncover today; the common challenges that language learners face while learning Arabic. This entire read isn’t meant to discourage from the journey that you’re about to take.
Instead, this post is actually meant to give you a solid heads up of the bumps that’s going to test your patience along the way.
Want to find out what these bumps are? Read on to find out!
Common Challenges Arabic Language Learners Face
You probably have a good reason for why you wanted to learn this Semitic language. Whatever your reason is, make sure that you hold onto it. As soon as you read this entire section, you’ll probably start to question why you even wanted to in the first place.
But before you even decide to abandon the idea of learning this complex language, know that you have a myriad of options to make sure you get to maximize what you learn. This comes in the form of intensive Arabic classes or getting your own private Arabic tutor for more focused sessions.
We’ll discuss more about private Arabic tutors in the next section. For now, let’s discuss the common challenges that Arabic learners face.
Without further ado, let’s run down the list:
The Arabic Alphabet
Obviously, the alphabet itself is one of the most challenging parts of the language. For one, it’s not really that difficult to read and write, especially once you’ve mastered it through constant practice.
Moreover, there are only 28 letters, about the same number as our current English alphabet.
But why exactly is it a common challenge for learners? It’s because these letters have four different forms that are dependent on its placement in a word or even when it’s a stand alone. So, despite only having about 28 letters, you’d take note four times that number—which is basically 112 letters.
When the alphabet is used in sentences, not all of it gets written. Some words don’t even include short vowels and are only noted through different symbols at the top or bottom of the words.
It may sound easy to spot but it surely gave a lot of learners a challenging time.
The Limitations of the MSA
At the beginning of your journey, you’ll most likely be taught the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It's the modern standard language that’s based on Classical Arabic. In layman’s term, it’s the Shakespeare version of Arabic.
While MSA is the gateway to learning Arabic, it’s not all that useful. In fact, MSA can be so limiting that you won’t really understand spoken Arabic unless they talk extra slow. It’s because it’s too formal that people rarely use it to communicate.
Native Arabic speakers understand the MSA when you use it for conversing, but you won’t be able to carry a conversation as much as you want to.
Difference Between Dialects
While the Arab world can generally comprehend each other’s written dialects, carrying an intelligible conversation may not be as feasible as the former.
This is mainly because different dialects are being used in Arab regions. Moreover, the pronunciation of words also vary according to these dialects. So even if the words have the same spelling, they may not always have the same pronunciation in different regions.
Other dialects also have European influences or words such as the Moroccan dialect where French words are used here and there.
However, the Arab world generally understands the Egyptian Arabic as it is widely used by the media industry. Films, books, and music use the Egyptian Arabic which makes it a widely understood dialect.
We’ve already dropped hints about the difficulty of the pronunciation of words in the previous section. For non-native speakers, aside from having an entirely different and unfamiliar writing system, following the right pronunciation will take years to master.
Having an accent is one of the main roadblocks as this can affect the sounds that you produce. The language is quite sensitive with sounds which is why so many people take quite some time before moving on to the next big challenge.
As what we’ve mentioned, it’s not as simple as reading 28 standalone letters. These letters also have different pronunciations that depend on their placement.
Lack of Casual Practice
More often than not, learners of the Arabic language aren’t necessarily immersed in environments where it’s frequently used. This can prove to be a challenge since it’s one of the best ways to speed up learning.
Sure, there are ways to practice in class or through books and other learning materials, but there’s a difference when it’s naturally practiced—like in daily casual conversations. The practice of using Arabic casually trains the mind to use it in comfortable environments.
Moreover, the ability to converse in Arabic shows that the learner already has a good command of Arabic because he or she is able to carry a casual conversation without much difficulty or even delay times.
Without casual practice, it may take some time to really absorb everything you’ve learned during your classes and translate them into actual words and thoughts.
The Place to Find Arabic Tutors in Canada
We won’t be surprised if you’re feeling a little too overwhelmed after reading the list above. In fact, it’s totally understandable as the challenges don’t seem all that easy to conquer. But what we can assure you is that you can and you will overcome these challenges.
The key to helping you do so is to get yourself a private Arabic tutor. Compared to traditional group classes in schools or academies, having a private tutor means that you have a personalized program and that all the efforts are directed towards your improvement alone.
You won’t have to worry about other people nor think about adjusting to the pace of the entire group; you’ll only have to think about yourself. Moreover, you can also inform your chosen tutor about your preferred learning method and your very own strengths and weaknesses.
This can be useful in crafting a personalized program that will really ensure you’ll achieve your personal goals easily.
Sounds encouraging, right?
To top that off, these tutors can also be the very people you can practice what you’ve learned with. Not only are they going to teach you, but they’re also going to immerse you in conversations to really practice your pronunciation and conversation skills.
Now, all you need to do is to find a tutor and that can easily be solved by just going to Superprof.
At Superprof, you can find all the tutors near you. This platform connects you to a wide network of professionals who are more than willing to offer their services, knowledge, and expertise to eager students. Plus, they have their fair share of experience that can be used as a leverage during your sessions.
These tutors are professionals who use their experience to help you learn Arabic easily and thoroughly. You can read through their descriptions and reviews made by former students to help you decide on who’s the best one for you and your personal goals.
Once you’ve found the right tutor, immediately book a first session—which is free, by the way. Discuss everything you need to and get started right away. The earlier you start your journey, the better.
What are you waiting for? Find a private Arabic tutor today!
While the Arabic language might be the Mt. Everest of languages, it’s not impossible to conquer. Many have fallen but more have been successful in their journey. It’s all really a matter of diligence and perseverance to keep on practicing in order to be successful.
The common challenges mentioned above, like the alphabet or the different dialects, may seem impossible to overcome, but with patience and time, you’ll find that it gets easier and achievable.
The most convenient way for you to overcome these challenges is to hire a really good tutor to get you through all the roadblocks and choke points. Find the best tutor for you at Superprof today!
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