Learning Arabic starting from scratch : how long?
Replies: 31 - Last Post: Mar 24, 2013 9:18 AM Last Post By: mejo
Sep 26, 2012 7:50 AM
Learning Arabic starting from scratch : how long?Hello,
next year I will have 3 months off my job and my dream would be to learn arabic . I will need to be at home (Italy) for the first month, but I could study / take classes/learn online 3 hours/day f. I could then move to an Arabic speking country and attend classes there for 2 months, and of course study and practice.
At the end of this program, will I be able to read / write / have a conversation in arabic ? Or it will be just knowing the numbers , letters and how to order a meal ? I want to to go ahead only if I can get to a decent level and try to maintain it once at home and back to work doing conversation twice a week.
Sep 26, 2012 10:44 AM
1It all depends on your own ability and also the techniques you apply.
But -thinking positive is part of good techniques.
So - yes, you will be able to hold basic conversations in Arabic after three months!
ıf you apply yourself of course.
reading and writing, I would say haltingly.
numbers letters and ordering a meal can be done in a few days, so you will definetely pass that stage.
Sep 26, 2012 12:52 PM
2I'll be much less encouraging than #1.
Three months is a very, very short amount of time to study any language, even one closely related to your own. Arabic isn't closely related to any European language. In fact, along with Chinese and Japanese, it's consistently rated as one of the most difficult languages for speakers of Indo-European languages to learn. The US State Department rates Arabic on exactly the same level as Chinese in terms of the number of classroom hours required to achieve "fluency" for its diplomats.
Further, the different dialects of Arabic are extremely different. If you learn MSA (Modern Standard Arabic)--as most people do when studying abroad--you may find you have serious difficulties communicating with the local population of any given Arab country.
In the best case scenario, after three months you should be able to hold basic conversations about everyday topics in MSA, but it will be on a very simple level. Nobody serious about the language imagines that anything approaching fluency can be achieved in anything less than a year, even while living in an Arabic-speaking country.
Sep 27, 2012 4:16 AM
I picked up a little more than just the basics, when in Egypt for a month.
The reading and writing however, I struggled badly with.
Sep 27, 2012 4:37 AM
Sep 27, 2012 10:32 AM
5Thanks for your advice , very appreciated. I am Italian mother tongue, fluent in both English and French , can get by well in Spanish. Buth I Iearnt all these languages 15-20 years ago and I lived both in the US and in France...
I am still tempted to give it a try . Does anybody have experience with online training or "Rosetta stone" ? Maybe I could already start with this before I move to the middle east.
Sep 27, 2012 10:39 AM
6I've heard many mixed reviews about Rosetta Stone, some praising it - and others who don't like it at all.
My thoughts are that it's down more to people's language abilities, rather than the actual product.
Some folks can pick up a language and it's alphabet reasonably quickly. Others just never grasp it.
Sep 28, 2012 1:57 AM
Sep 28, 2012 2:06 AM
8Call me a skeptic, but I'm doubtful of battybilly's claim to have picked "more than the basics" (whatever he might mean by that) of Arabic in a month
Pretty ripe coming coming from someone who says Rosetta Stone is rubbish.
Gotta say, I'm rather sceptical about that statement and claim.
I did OK in Egypt with the lingo. In fact, the waiters and guides were also impressed with what I learned.
You have every right to be sceptical though. It's called something like 'Freedom of Speech', I believe.
Alsalam alaykom. Or if you prefer.... Ahlan Wasahlan.
Sep 28, 2012 2:56 AM
Lol! Well, you know how to say "hello" and/or "welcome." Congratulations! Egyptians must have been awed indeed. I know I am. Though why you are throwing those in at the end of your post is a little mysterious.
Since most tourists in Egypt don't attempt any Arabic at all, it is likely any attempts at the language you made were met with polite approbation by "waiters and guides." People in most countries, in fact, are pleased and flattered when addressed in their own language. I'm afraid, however, that this says nothing whatsoever about how well you do or do not know the language.
Gotta say, I'm rather sceptical about that statement and claim.
My skepticism of your claims to know more than a smattering of Arabic is based on my own experience of studying Arabic, and that of many, many foreigners I know here in Saudi Arabia.
Your skepticism of my opinion of Rosetta Stone, on the other hand, is based on what? Clearly, not on any first-hand knowledge of the product or you would already have mentioned it. My opinion is shared by many who have used the program. Since the OP is specifically interested in Arabic, this review neatly sums up some of the major problems with it. And for a pretty damning critique of the whole Rosetta Stone approach see this analysis by a language-loving polyglot.
Sep 28, 2012 3:11 AM
my own experience of studying Arabic
For someone who states on their profile that they don't speak Arabic, you've picked it up very quickly.
Isn't Google great ? ? ! !
Oh - and you are showing your total lack of the language openly.
Alsalam alaykom and Ahlan Wasahlan.... Two differemnt greetings.
One is Arabic and the other is Islamic. But you already knew that - didn't you?
Incidentally my daughter, who was 12 at the time - learnt even more. Sorry to disappoint you.
Are you perhaps one of those sceptics who doubts that a language can be picked up quickly?
I have a Bulgarian friend who came to stay with us recently (he speaks around 10 languages).
We went to Wales for a couple of days - and when we left, he was already doing the lingo quite well.
No doubt you're sceptical about that as well.
I'm not here for an Arabic lesson. I merely quoted what I was able to learn in a month.
Believe it, disbelieve it at your leisure.
Sep 28, 2012 3:35 AM
Batty (such an apt moniker!), I haven't updated my LP profile in at least 5 years. If you check my posting history in the Middle East branch, however, you'll see that I've spent the last 3 years here in Saudi Arabia.
And, yes, Alsalam alaykom and Ahlan Wasahlan are two "greetings"...just as "hello" and "welcome" are two greetings. What on earth is your point? Neither belongs at the end of message. In Saudi, at any rate, they are not interchangeable. One is what you say whenever you meet someone or walk into a room, the other is mostly used to greet customers at places of business. In Egypt, a much more secular society, it may be slightly different and Ahlan Wasahlan may be used in more contexts than it is here.
I'm not going to respond further to your post, as a) it completely ignores all the substantive points I raised in #10 b) it merely repeats your ludicrous claims to be adept at "picking up the lingo" wherever you go without providing the least, tiniest bit of supporting evidence or quantifying your knowledge in any way. Your level of hysterical defensiveness and self-delusion is striking even by "Your Choice" standards.
Sep 28, 2012 3:36 AM
Sep 28, 2012 6:25 AM
Never at the end of a message, though. It would make no sense. Literally it's something like "(May you be here as) with your family and at your ease." That is, "welcome."
You're in way over your head, billy. Time to retreat quietly.
Does that mean "You're right and I'm wrong," as it so often does?
Sep 28, 2012 6:27 AM
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