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We’ve been helping students speak Lebanese Arabic for over 10 years and there are a few things we have seen that our best students seem to do….
1. Spend as much (or more) time talking in the community than you do in the classroom
We can’t stress this enough. Getting out in the community is essential if you want to learn to speak Arabic. It sounds obvious, but it takes desire and initiative to go out after you have already been in class and have homework. On the surface, it seems like there is a lot of English spoken in Hamra, but talk to us and we have help you find places and opportunities that are a good fit for you and your interests.
2. Seek to learn new words and record them
Use and app, a notebook, or flash cards – whatever works best for you! But the main thing is as you are getting into new conversations write down new words you learned and words you wish you would have know during the conversation. Then bring any new words you have questions about to class and with our small, personal class sizes we can help you learn more of the words you want to be learning.
3. Make mistakes everyday and have fun
The best students are the ones who are always pushing themselves beyond what feels comfortable to say new things in a new way. They don’t take themselves too seriously and enjoy trying to connect in Arabic over saying things perfect. Find the right mindset and opportunities for you to enjoy studying Arabic even if t looks different from what other students are doing.
So how would you grade yourself on these 3 things? What is one thing you can do differently?
Can we help you learn to speak Arabic? Let’s start talking about that below…
We recently asked our former students to share why they chose to study Arabic at ALPS Beirut. Here are the most common factors that mattered to them when selecting an Arabic language program. Is this the type of Arabic program you are looking for? If so, contact us in the form below and we’ll send you more information.
Did you know that the average class size at ALPS Beirut is 3 students?
We believe this creates a win win for both our teachers and students. Small classes allow our teachers to connect personally with each student and be able to address questions and topics that interest each class.
More importantly, small classes allow each student to spend more time speaking Arabic and less time listening to other students. Learning Arabic is a lot more than studying books or listening to a teacher. The goal is that you can speak with confidence and this means you need to spend time practicing communicating in class and outside of class. There is no better way to learn Spoken Lebanese than to speak it! With a small class you will receive more personal feedback on your speaking and have more opportunities to take what you know in your head and practice saying it out loud in Arabic.
For example, let’s say you are in an hour long class and the teacher talks for 30 minutes. That leaves 30 minutes left for the students to practice what they have read and heard. If you have 3 students in your class that’s 10 minutes left for each student. If you have 10 students in your class that’s 3 minutes for you to speak and 27 minutes of listening to other students 😦
If you want to find out more about the classes we have starting next month or inquire about private tutoring please fill out the form below.
Arabic is a very nuanced language, one that cannot easily be taught in a traditional classroom setting. After studying Arabic at the university level in the United States, I felt adequate in my ability to read and write. However, my actual communication skills were minimal. After a summer of studying at the advanced level in the CAMES program at the American University in Beirut, I felt that my skills had improved in certain areas. My proficiency in listening, reading and writing Modern Standard Arabic improved greatly. Nonetheless, the challenges of learning spoken Arabic in an orthodox classroom prevented me from fully utilizing my time in Lebanon. Outside of class, I reverted back to English. Despite the advanced level of my coursework, I was unable to converse with native Arabic-speakers. Having studied the language and culture throughout my college career, my advice to anyone interested in studying the region would be to study outside of the box – a program focused on communication, as opposed to the pedantic settings that emphasize ancient texts and translating academic sources. There is more to learn by experiencing Lebanon and its people through the language that they speak than studying a formal version of their language that is almost wholly unused.
Before you study aboard make sure you decide if you want to focus on MSA or the Spoken Dialect. It’s hard to do both in one summer. Once you have decided that make sure to find a program that will be the best fit for you.
I studied abroad in Jordan the summer after my sophomore year at OU. It was great and I feel like I learned a ton but there were definitely parts that could have been improved.
We had a class on MSA and a class on spoken Arabic. The majority of the class time was spent on MSA, which didn’t help as much as spoken Arabic would have. All of the people we met spoke to us in the local dialect and I learned the most interacting with people in the day-to-day activities. If we had spent more time going over common vocabulary and phrases, it would have been easier to practice and learn on my own.
I did feel like I learned a lot just living in Jordan though. I feel like the only way to learn a language like Arabic is to live in an Arabic-speaking country and try to use what you’ve learned as much as possible. The program you guys are running looks great. It sounds like you are focusing more on conversation skills and less on grammar and MSA vocabulary.
-Clint, University of Oklahoma
We recently talked about the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and the spoken dialects. Here’s something that our students have found that illustrates the difference between MSA and what people actually speak. You’ll also notice which dialects are closest to each other:
If you are studying Spoken Arabic at ALPS you’ll learn to say “What are you doing?” in the Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian ways. We also teach Modern Standard if you want to continue to learn to read and write in Arabic.
This book is a great place to start if you want to have a good foundation in Spoken Arabic. You’ll learn how to read and write all of the letters in Modern Standard Arabic AND the Lebanese Dialect. As you study the alphabet, you’ll also learn important Arabic phrases and vocabulary that are spoken everyday in Beirut.
Have you studied MSA before?
Even if you have, Spoken Levantine Arabic Alefba Vol. 0 at ALPS will show you how the Lebanese pronunciation of the Arabic letters differs from Modern Standard Arabic and the help you transfer your MSA knowledge to the spoken dialect by teaching you Lebanese words and phrases.
Are you new to the Arabic alphabet?
Since this book teaches you how the alphabet is used in written Modern Standard Arabic and the Spoken Lebanese Dialect, you’ll be able to take this knowledge with you wherever and however you use Arabic in the future.