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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Learn Arabic For Free

Arabic is the mother tongue to over 225 million people in Africa and Asia, and there are as many as 246 million non-native speakers (source). Arabic is spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, and Chad. In short, learning a bit of Arabic makes whole lot of sense, whether you are doing it for religious, social or business purposes.

Here are four (4) learning spaces to get you started:

  • ArabicPod
    This website created by Mohamed Moshaya and Ehab Saleh is dedicated to providing innovative and effective methods for learning Arabic. They use web 2.0 technologies such as podcasts, videos, games, etc. to provide a rich learning experience. Although, they only launched recently (March 2008), their free online lessons have been downloaded more than a million times. You will really enjoy their podcasts, which involves two guys having an engaging chat while learning Arabic (Thumbs up!). I also like that one can rate and provide comments to each podcast, which again facilitates learning conversations and continuous improvement. All of their audio podcasts can be freely listened to and downloaded. For most of the other content, there is a subscription fee which is setup to cover the costs of running the website. I hope that some noble investor will come in soon to cover the costs, so that we all can enjoy the rest for free.
  • Madinah Arabic
    This free site has been designed to teach the Arabic language inspired by one of the most popular courses being used today - the Madinah Book Series by Dr. V. Abdur Rahim which is used by Madinah University to teach English speaking students the Arabic language. This course will eventually contain
    (under development) everything an individual needs to learn the Arabic Language (Classical and Modern Standard) from complete beginner to advanced level. If you prefer a straight-to-the-point kind of course (efficient learning!), you have found it right here. I don't mind that the audio provided is being chunked to phrases and words, but it would be wonderful if we could also download the full lesson in one MP3 file (conveniently access lessons on our IPods and Mp3 players). But, besides that it is a splendid and noble initiative.
  • Babel - Arabic
    This is an online course in Arabic. It teaches you basic sentences, how to write, how to count and introduces Arabic grammar. All with sounds! This course will teach you about 400 of the most common words in Arabic. All lessons are the product of cooperation between an Arab native and a non-Arab who have managed to learn the language.
  • Learn Arabic (speak7)
    Learn Arabic for free, their lessons are available to anyone who wants to speak Arabic, from grammar, vocabulary, expressions, phrases and more.
Whether you are 10 or 72 years-old, I suppose you might find one of these four learning opportunities a useful starting point to learn the basics in Arabic. I like the variety of approaches each initiative has taken to facilitate learning. Some people might want to learn through learning conversations (e.g. ArabicPod), while others might want to learn efficiently in a book-style format with audio support (e.g. Madinah Arabic). Either way, these four learning initiatives provides us with different approaches to satisfy different learning styles. Why not use all four to get us started?

Finally, click here if you want to learn Arabic in less than 9-minutes (video). WOW!