There are over 300 million native Arabic speakers across the globe. With over 100 different ways to say the word “camel” in Arabic alone, there’s no wonder 1000s more people are seeking to learn this deceptively descriptive language every day.
Whether for business, travel, love or enjoyment, we set out to make your Arabic learning escapades that little bit easier. We’ve worked with Arabic experts and tutors with many years of teaching experience to discover the best way to learn the language and dispel common language myths, that’ll only hinder your ability to become fluent.
These steps have been proven to have a notable impact on your Arabic learning so you can become fluent fast. What’s more, at the end of each step, you’ll find a handy Arabic language fact, that even took some of our experts by surprise! Oh and make sure you check out our Arabic language learning myth busters at the end of the post before you go.
You may have a good idea of which Arabic you want to focus on already - if you don’t, we hope this will help you make the decision easier!
Modern day use: Highly formal and religious
Until a few decades ago, Classical Arabic was the most studied Arabic taught in universities. It is the oldest type of Arabic and the language of the Qurʾān, Islamic law and theology, biography, poetry, history, geography, and medicine.
Modern day use: The language of the mass media, correspondence, and contemporary literature
MSA or al-Fusḥa is a less formal offshoot of Classical Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic isn’t used for general life communications. In fact, there are no native speakers of MSA - it is commonly taught in school and through language lessons as a formal means of written communication.
Modern day use: Regional dialects used in everyday conversation and popular culture
There are numerous Arabic dialects, varying based on socio-economic, religious and geographic circumstances. There is a great deal of cross-regional understanding of different dialects, as many people are exposed to multiple dialects throughout their lives.
Spoken Arabic can be categorized into the following groups:
Got a burning Arabic related question about the above or anything else on the fascinating language? Ask our language experts! (Don't worry, the Q&A opens in a new tab.)
Fact: There are at least 11 words for “love” in Arabic
Arabic script may look intimidating, but trust our experts: it’s not as difficult to learn as it looks.
Many Arabic learners turn to transliterations (transcribing a language or script into corresponding letters of another alphabet) at the start of their language learning journey because they don't think they’ll be able to pick up the new alphabet.
There are three things that will take some getting used to, however:
Check out our expert recommended apps that will help you pick up the Arabic alphabet quick.
Fact #2: English has many words with Arabic roots, including magazine, candy, and sofa.
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to learn Arabic is by learning through a tutor with many years of experience speaking the language. Just one lesson every couple of weeks would allow you to fit your studies around any busy timetable, and give you the opportunity to take control of your learning.
Here you can find top-rated Arabic online tutors who can help you succeed, whatever your goals may be. You can even read reviews from past students and message every tutor for free with what you’d like to achieve and your timescale.
Fact: Arabic script is the third most widely used writing system in the world.
Research has shown that language immersion can significantly improve practice and recall in between Arabic lessons.
If you want to become fluent in Arabic, it is important you join communities and conversations with native Arabic speakers. There are many websites you can use to begin language-learning relationships with others.
Polyglot Club and HelloLingo are prime examples of language exchange communities that help you get in touch with native Arabic speakers. You can input the level of your fluency in the language and find conversation partners who can help you move on from that level to the next.
At the same time, you'll have the opportunity to teach your conversation partners some aspects of your own language. Most language exchange communities have super proactive members, so local and regional cultural events or language learning sessions are organized on a regular basis. You can even look up the members in the same city as yours and plan similar activities as a part of your Arabic learning experience.
Fact: Arabic is over 1,500 years old
It is far easier to learn a language if you have an insight into the society and cultures it is spoken in. This gives the language a context in which it could be used and allows you to immerse yourself into the conversations that are changing the language as we speak. If this is the kind of learning you're looking for, you'll find these top Arabic language and culture blogs super useful.
Fact: There’s no capitalization or abbreviation in Arabic
It's integral you find language learning resources that are congruent with your learning style. Take a look at our top recommended resources and tools below, featuring Arabic learning apps, books, websites, blogs and much more!
Arabic Alphabet is a simple, fun and interactive app that helps you learn the shape, sound, phonemes and other aspects of every alphabet in the Arabic language. By using alphabets in different words and presenting the words visually, the app offers a very effective way of grasping and retaining the alphabets.
Our favourite feature is that you can use it to trace the alphabet in real-time, so you get a more realistic feel and understanding of the written letter. You can also test your knowledge by taking quizzes, choosing from Sprint or Survival mode depending on how well you have learned!
Write It! Arabic is the perfect app if you are looking to master the written Arabic alphabet. Through expertly-designed and guided lessons, the app helps you understand, practice and then write the alphabet within the app. It then uses writing recognition to determine if you're correct.
The lessons are super bite-sized, so learning with this app is fun and stress-free. Most lessons can be completed within minutes and by making you physically write the letters, the app enables you to retain what you learn.
This awesome app helps you get the hang of the written alphabet as well as its pronunciation. Essentially, as you progress through its lessons, you are able to read and write in Arabic Animations, charts, flashcards. Audio examples keep you hooked on the app as you move through the lessons. The visual and audio aids are also an excellent way of retaining the material you learn.
The app has plenty of fun and relevant material integrated into its lessons. It is especially useful for beginners and young learners, letting them lay solid foundations for their Arabic learning.
Arabic Dictionary offers all the features of a bilingual dictionary, and then a whole lot more. The app offers Arabic to English and English to Arabic dictionary. At the same time, it allows you to translate words, phrases and even complete sentences from one language to another.
In-app features such as flash cards, MCQs, and word games help you retain the words as you look them up in the dictionary. Another awesome feature of the app is that it lets you scan Arabic or English text and then search for it in the dictionary. The app is a great Arabic learning tool on the go, as most of the app functionality, such as pronunciation, translation and dictionary resources, is available offline.
Whether you're a beginner, casual student, a linguist or a professional, ACON can be a valuable resource for you when you are learning or using Arabic. ACON uses an advanced grammar engine to provide comprehensive Arabic verb conjugation.
Many other conjugation resources fall short when it comes to special cases, such as double-letter roots or weak roots. ACON handles these grammatical cases very well and automatically applies correct rules to any verb you input.
For its comprehensive functionality and simplicity, ACON is used by top universities around the world, such as Oxford and Yale, as well as by UN, EU Commission and a range of other institutions globally.
Lughatuna is a suite of dictionaries covering three popular Arabic dialects – Modern Standard Arabic, Levantine, and Egyptian Colloquial.
The three dictionaries are separately available online as a part of the Living Arabic Project. The iPhone and Android apps combine the three dictionaries. The multi-dialect approach of Lughatana makes it a unique resource when it comes to Arabic-English dictionaries.
Contents in the dictionary have been carefully crafted, reviewed and edited for accuracy and simplicity. In many cases, you get a lot more than simply the meaning of a given word. You can also look up word roots as well as Arabic phrases, proverbs, definitions and everyday sayings.
ARC Arabic Alphabet Course focuses on the audio-visual learning and recognition of the Arabic alphabet. The app offers a gentle learning curve, taking users through well-structured lessons, featuring alphabets together with their pronunciations and their Latin counterparts to make them more relatable with learners.
The alphabet is then presented and highlighted as part of complete words and phrases. This is incredibly helpful in understanding the context and use of the alphabets.
The app features quizzes along the course path to test your learning and progress. The course draws on the Arabic teaching method used by professional Arabic teachers at university level. A truly wonderful app giving you the ability to recognize, write, read and pronounce Arabic alphabets accurately.
Learn Arabic is an educational app geared towards non-Arabic speakers. It is particularly useful if you are traveling to the Middle East or need to master the basics of the Arabic language fairly quickly.
The app has plenty of useful resources, starting from the basics such as alphabets and numbers, and progressing to more advanced vocabulary. It even teaches you to speak basic Arabic sentences and muster simple conversations in the language. Audio examples are provided throughout the app, making sure you pronounce the words and sentences just right.
Although limited to the language fundamentals, the app is very useful if you want conversational Arabic at your fingertips.
Rocket Arabic takes an innovative, scientific approach to learning Arabic. The app bases lessons on the fact that human mind can retain only so many words or objects at any given time. The Rocket Arabic courses use bite-sized lessons and courses backed by scientific algorithms to reinforce the words or phrases you struggle with. All in all - an indispensable learning app!
Arabic Mike was launched by Mike (who would've thought it) in 2013, giving you the opportunity to share his experiences as he learns various aspects of the Arabic language.
Most of the videos on the channel are delightfully simple, focusing on Arabic phrases, letters, numbers and specific words, which makes it easier to retain the information. We also love that Mike also discusses various cultural and social aspects of learning the language. He uses music, film and popular culture mediums to bridge the gap between English and Arabic.
The channel is a great resource, especially for non-native Arabic speakers who can relate to Mike’s journey as he masters the language. Mike attracts a mixed audience of native speakers and non-native learners from all over the world, with an enviable subscriber base of over 55,000!
Arabic With Nadia is yet another great YouTube resource for Arabic learning that takes a more scientific approach to teaching Arabic by utilizing the principles of Applied Linguistics.
The videos on the channel are a real joy to watch as Nadia uses animations, illustrations and interesting stories to convey the essentials of the language. The channel is a part of the broader resource available on the AWN website. The woman behind the rich resource platform is Nadia Selim, a professional Arabic teacher with a doctoral focus on Arabic leaning. Selim is particularly interested in using linguistics and computer-aided learning, and these aspects shine through the videos and other interactive materials she has created.
The best way to help kids learn a new language is by making it fun and interactive. That is precisely what the Syraj Kids Teach Children Arabic channel does. The channel contains a ton of free content on the basics of the Arabic language.
From fun animations to videos with real kids demonstrating Arabic numbers, colors and alphabets, the content is specifically geared at the young learners. The videos are colorful and go through the rudimentary basics such as days of the weeks, names of the months, time and date in Arabic, and animal names. In producing the content, Syraj Kids also works with publishers, toy makers, and musicians to make sure that the content is fresh and engaging for children.
Kallimni 'Arabi Bishweesh is perfect for beginners who have absolutely no previous reading or writing background in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.
The book focuses on this particular dialect of Arabic, which is the most widely understood around the Arab world. It takes a holistic approach to learning the language combining comprehensive grammar with everyday cultural content and conversational fluency in real-world scenarios.
Authored by Samia Louis who has been professionally teaching Arabic in Cairo for 15 years, the book comes with rich resources including MP3 files with audio dialogues and vocal exercises. This combination of theory with practice and literary with practical tasks makes this book a very handy resource for those looking to communicate effectively in Arabic.
Imagine if you could somehow figure out the least amount of vocabulary and grammar you need to learn a language. Sounds good, right? The good news is that this textbook does precisely that. The book focuses on introducing the bare minimum amount of vocabulary and grammar whilst giving you functional fluency in reading and writing Arabic.
Learning a new language is quite a challenge. You have to pick up a new alphabet, grammar, vocabulary and foreign sounds which you may have never before used in your life. In fact, it is this latter part many Arabic learners struggle with. The language has many unique sounds which may be completely new to non-native speakers, and this is where Fluent Forever comes in.
This intelligent guide deconstructs the Arabic language for you. The book guides you on how to build an understanding of the language and its sounds from the ground up. What's more, if you are having trouble pronouncing the words right, the book helps you out with various tips and tricks.
Gateway to Arabic is a detailed guide to reading and writing Arabic, useful if you're starting from scratch. The book starts with the very basics, beginning with the alphabet and progresses to cover vowel sounds, grammar and includes plenty of useful vocabulary.
The practice exercises included in the book are really enjoyable. We love that there are empty spaces to practice the alphabet and words right next to the actual text for an immersive learning experience.
This comprehensive 17-unit book covers all the key aspects of Arabic – reading, writing, speaking and listening. As well as delivering excellent language resources, the book also covers additional aspects of learning, such as how to learn a new language and how to formulate language rules to master Arabic quickly.
The book is even complemented by online audio support where you can listen to real conversations in Arabic and master the spoken language.
We Love Arabic is a blog managed by Ruth Ahmedza, a professional linguist. Along her journey mastering Arabic, she realised how hard it can be to find genuinely useful resources. As a result, the WLA was born - a portal featuring a growing collection of excellent online Arabic resources.
By taking into consideration different levels and backgrounds of the learners as well as the dialect variations within Arabic, WLA offers resources for every Arabic language learner. The blog contains links to conversational Jordanian Arabic, songs in Levantine Arabic, Arabic books and novels, films, courses, and a range of community resources besides. As an Arabic learner, you are sure to dig up something that suits your taste, learning level and preferences.
ArabLit is a superb blog covering daily news, views on the Arab world, Arab literature an contains useful resources for students, teachers, translators and professionals within the Arabic-English context. M Lynx Qualey established the blog in 2009 and frequently reviews contemporary Arabic books and literature. The blog’s efforts to highlight and encourage Arab literature have been recognized in the 2017 Literary Translation Initiative Award at the London Book Fair.
What better way to get acquainted with the Arab culture than to dive into the best of its cuisine offerings? Chef in Disguise is a content hub for foodie-lovers, with a huge range of authentic Middle Eastern recipes.
The blog is curated by Sawsan who shares mouth-watering recipes from Levant, Middle East and the Arab as a whole. You'll find traditional recipes, contemporary recipes as well as Sawsan’s modern takes on older dishes. Each recipe features an array of high-quality photos that make it that much easier for you to understand the recipe and try your hands at it. The blog is in English, so it is perfect for non-native speakers interested in getting up close with the food and cuisine culture of the Arab world.
Dubai Travel Blog offers a glimpse into life in Dubai. The blog is written and maintained by Ed, an expat who has been living in the desert city for over 4 years. The content captures a diverse breadth of Dubai life covering the food, cuisine, nightlife, and other adventures. The blog explores Dubai from a non-native viewpoint, so non-natives with an interest in the culture of Dubai can relate to the content.
It is said that music is the shared universal language of humanity. Once you can connect to another culture or language through music, it makes learning that language that much easier. It is with this aim that the Arabic Music Translation blog was established.
The blog exclusively features lyrics, translations, and discussions related to music from the Arab world. The original Arabic lyrics are also posted on the blog, so you can compare with their corresponding translations and even listen to many of the songs. This is an awesome way to learn new Arabic words, get to understand the way sentences are constructed in Arabic and at the same time, understand the culture of the Arab world.
Andrew Dempsey manages the Arabic Learner Blog and shares tips, guidelines and lesson plans for other Arabic learners. Dempsey was born and grew up in Canada but has spent most of his life in Egypt. Having lived in the Arab world for nearly 25 years, Dempsey provides valuable insights on how best to master all forms of the Arabic language, with a focus on achieving meaningful social interactions.
The blog features excellent resources on Arabic learning, including great apps, the right approach, and the right audio-visual materials. We particularly love that Dempsey highlights social situations and scenarios where various Arabic language basics can be applied to achieve a more real-world mastery of the language.
Al-Bab was established in 1998 as a gateway to latest Yemeni news and resources. Due to the blog's resounding success, Brian Whittaker subsequently expanded the content to cover the Arab world as a whole.
The blog has a full section on the Arabic language which includes relevant learning resources, comments, blogs, and commentaries. You'll find insightful language-related posts such as whether Arabic is growing redundant, how the language fares in a technological age, and the future of Arabic. You'll appreciate the simplicity of the content, especially as it comes from the mind of a blogger. Then there’s also The Alternative Arabic Dictionary, featuring the kind of words you perhaps wouldn’t use in a polite Arabic conversation.
Yrakha is maintained by the Cairo-based Youssek Rakha. Rakha brings together a vast, diverse and rich resource on Arabic literature through this blog. The blog has sections in English as well as Arabic, so it offers plenty of opportunities for Arabic reading practice. The English section is useful for non-native speakers to get an insight into Arabic literature, society, and contemporary culture.
Rakha uses literature to connect Arabic and English, two of his native languages and through them, the East and the West. This makes his content very relatable for the non-native Arabic learners. He is also an awesome artist and this is well reflected in the brilliant aesthetics of his blog.
Wandering Spice is another food blog exploring the overlap of the Arab and American cuisine. The blog is maintained by its Arab-American author Yasmeen who channels her experiences with the two cultures into her cooking and recipes.
The result is a delicious mix of recipes that you can relate to and explore. Most of the recipes are quite simple, so you can certainly try many of these at home. Yasmeen entwines her cooking and recipes with updates from her life, so the blog makes for a very interesting read. You'll find a wide range of Arab cuisine recipes on the blog, categorized neatly into separate sections such as breakfast, vegetables, meat & fish. If you are one for trying out new recipes, this is the perfect Arabic go for you!
Dalalid is a blog by Dalal Al Doub. Al Doub founded the blog in 2012 and before long, it skyrocketed to popularity, especially among the women in the Arab world. The blog features personal style, fashion tips and other posts from Al Doub.
The blogger also regularly updates a YouTube channel, providing tips on DIY style and make-up as well as sharing lifestyle videos. Nearly all her posts are in Arabic; this makes it a fun read for a beginner Arabic learner who also enjoys an interest in fashion, beauty, or make-up.
Although the main focus of the blog is fashion and beauty, Al Doub also shares her experience in travel and food. In all, it is a fun blog authored by one of the most influential female figures in the Arab world.
The Fuzzy Arabic Dictionary lets you look up Arabic words even when you don’t know how to spell them. Yep, that’s right, the dictionary uses a smart way of predicting the words you are looking for even if you misspell them.
The app uses input support from Yamli and transliterates your Latin input to its Arabic counterpart. The interface is incredibly simple – in fact, it is a stand-alone textbox. You type in the word and the relevant results are instantly displayed below.
Michelle Fullwood, a PhD candidate in linguistics at MIT, developed the Fuzzy dictionary. Fullwood appreciates the difficulty non-native speakers may face in looking up Arabic words., so has accommodated for these difficulties in the app.
Aratools is a highly-rated Arabic-English dictionary that is available on the web as well as iPhone and Android apps. The dictionary provides Arabic to English translations, although make sure you configure Arabic keyboard input on your device.
In addition to the translations, the dictionary also lets you look up word roots and see how different words are related to others. This is a rather smart way of getting to know the language by discerning trends, shared roots and the overall understanding of how the words are formed in Arabic. Although meant for beginners, Aratools can be very helpful in laying solid foundations for your Arabic learning.
Arabalicious offers a variety of learning resources primarily aimed at primary and secondary students. For this reason, these resources are fairly basic, simple, easy and fun. The site is managed by Language Advisor to the British Council, Taoufiq Cherkaoui, who has an extensive academic experience.
The list of resources available on the website is fairly extensive and includes numbers, alphabets, reading exercises, language games, activity books worksheets, cryptograms and a lot more.
The great thing about this website is that it is imbued with Cherkaoui’s approach as a genuine educator. For this reason, the materials on the website are interactive, engaging and very interesting for a potential student of the Arabic language.
Are you looking to bypass all the literary and textbook stuff and get straight to learning how to speak Arabic? Then this is the ideal resource for you. The website takes a direct, practical and simple approach to teaching spoken Arabic.
You'll have the opportunity to choose from 8 real Arabic dialects as they are spoken around the Arab world. Choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences and get started. The website instructs through real audio and video recordings. All of these are accompanied by subtitles and written transcripts. The video recordings also add a very human touch to the whole learning experience and make the process highly engaging, especially for beginners with short attention spans.
One of the best ways to learn a language is through intuition and stimulus. You'll have the opportunity to practice the basics, then you are prompted to form sentences in various real-world scenarios and you give it a try. Users of Language Transfer say that this website is absolutely unparalleled in the approach it takes to learning languages.
The Arabic course on the website is tailor-made by structuring it around the unique features of the language itself. The course takes you through the basics and is ultimately aimed at arousing that creative curiosity which makes you want to create your own sentences and words in Arabic. The site currently features an introductory course to the language and is all set to release the second installment this year.
Free Arabic Dictionary is aimed at beginners searching for basic words. The Arabic-English dictionary allows users to enter a word in either language and look up its meaning in the other language. Although the dictionary has only around 11,000 words, it covers most of the common words in the Arabic language.
You can also look up the plurals, roots and other aspects of the words that you look up in the dictionary. In addition, you can also bring up all the words with a given root by selecting the root. The dictionary also covers some other areas and allows you to get a list of all verbs with the same conjugation by clicking on the main verb form. Although a compact resource, it is very handy for beginners.
The Technical Dictionary Arabterm is an online resource that translates a huge body of technical terms between Arabic, German, French, and English. It is a brilliant and handy tool for professionals.
The dictionary is organized per industry sector and is standardized through the efforts of a number of organizations globally. The contents of the dictionary are organized under various technical areas and disciplines, making it easier to look up the target words. Users can add new words to the dictionary on their own and participate in the forum discussions. The interface of the dictionary is neat and simple, so even new users can navigate it with ease.
This is a neat resource that focuses on two parts of the Arabic language – vocabulary and grammar. The vocabulary lists are categorized into specific areas, such as War, Emotions, and Government & Politics. This allows you to quickly bring up the lists that are most relevant to your language needs. The vocabulary includes transliterations which are a great aid in helping you master the pronunciations as well.
The grammar section features a very detailed rundown of the grammar rules of the Arabic language. Most of the site’s content focuses on both Egyptian Dialect and the Modern Standard Arabic, although some sections are exclusively relevant to Egyptian dialect. To keep you going, the site also lists a rich collection of relevant Arabic learning resources under the Links tab.
HelloLingo is a Language Exchange Community that connects you with native speakers of different languages from all over the world. The great thing about a language community is that you get to meet and talk to real people. So when you are learning Arabic, you can find people with same interests as you and get the conversations going. You can also look up members within a particular geographical area if you are looking to master a local dialect, such as Levantine Arabic.
The HelloLingo website has a neat interface and intuitive design. It builds on the legacy of previous language exchange websites like SharedTalk. If you want to learn the Arabic language through real-world conversations with native speakers, this is the site for you.
Fact #6: Arabic uses the same punctuation as in the English language, with one main difference: the symbols are inverted ( ؟ . “”)
Myth buster: As few as 4 lessons with an expert online Arabic tutor can give you the solid foundations to begin learning the language independently - go on, give it a try!
Myth buster: As convincing as the myth is, there isn’t a “language gene,” and the ability to learn a language certainly isn’t written in your DNA. You do need perseverance, however, and the patience to find your optimum learning style.
Language learners have more free time than other people. Contrary to popular belief, this is just not the case. Your new language learning project may require you to readjust your lifestyle and priorities - however, spending fewer hours on social media every week can only be a positive step!
Myth buster: Linguistic research has proven that parents and children have equal capabilities of becoming multi-lingual.
Myth buster: It’s true that many beginners don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on how they pronounce words in a new language. However, this can actually have a negative impact further down the line by making more complex words and phrases more inaccessible.
Find an online language mentor (a worthwhile investment in your learning) who can help you specifically with pronunciation, especially if there is a particular accent or dialect you want to nail.