I have a confession to make. When I was a much younger lad, I was a soldier in the Army stationed in a little place called Wildflecken, Germany. When I first arrived there, part of my orientation included taking a month- long class in basic German. It was just enough German to have a small conversation, eat at restaurant, and travel around the country to try to make living in a foreign country a little bit easier by speaking the language. Years later, however, I don’t remember very much of the language beyond “Wie geht’s?” or “What’s up?” in English.
Maybe this sounds familiar to some of you who are learning Arabic. You’ve studied Arabic for a few months, but you still don’t remember enough of it to carry out a basic conversation and you don’t want to spend another few months or years learning the same Arabic language skills over and over again. So, how can you learn Arabic quicker instead of losing what you’ve learned over time? Well, you’re in luck because today we are going to introduce five tips on how to learn Arabic quickly.
1. Make Yourself Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
If you have a choice between using your Arabic language skills or your native-language, surely you will choose to use your native language. This is an instinctive decision your brain will make because it is a simpler option that requires less thought. As a result you must consciously put yourself in situations that may be a little uncomfortable to you.
Many people think that when you move to a foreign country, you are going to absorb the language like a sponge absorbs water, but from firsthand experience, I can tell you that is simply not always the case. When I first arrived in Jordan and tried to practice my Arabic, I was often stopped by the person who I was talking to with a, “No. No. No. Speak English. I speak English!” As a result, what I found out was that most people wanted to practice their English with me much more than they wanted me to practice Arabic them. So, my Arabic language learning was stifled.
One day, however, I noticed there was a much cheaper apartment for rent in the Amman suburb of Sweileh, so I decided to move there where I was the only native English speaker in my neighborhood. As a result, I was forced to speak Arabic when I went to the supermarket, ordered shawerma from the local restaurant, or had to pay my rent and utilities. After a couple of weeks, I found that, by putting myself in this uncomfortable situation, I was learning more Arabic words and phrases than I had learned from any book that I had studied over months in the comfort of my own home.
“Great idea,” you might be thinking, “but I live in the small town of Harrington, Delaware and have no plans to travel abroad to learn Arabic. What can I do?
Well, actually, there are still plenty of ways to make learning unavoidable no matter where you live; for example, you can switch your mobile or social media to the Arabic. You can even try switching off the English subtitles when watching Arabic films and videos on YouTube. By moving out of your comfort zone, you’re forcing yourself to learn Arabic and almost guaranteed to learn it faster as a result.
2. Think Fluency over Accuracy
Another way to learn Arabic quickly is to focus more on fluency over accuracy. First, let’s clarify what is meant by “fluency” and “accuracy.” Fluency means being able to express yourself easily and articulately, smoothly using Arabic in real time.
Accuracy, on the other hand, is the ability to be correct and use the exact words you mean to use without any grammatical, vocabulary, tonal or other errors. Your ultimate goal when learning Arabic should be to use it fluently, not accurately. However, you shouldn’t forget the importance of accuracy. Yes, you may make small mistakes when using your Arabic, and that’s okay. The important thing to remember is that you can understand and be understood when having an Arabic conversation.
3. Replace Cramming with Arabic Language Learning Apps
Resist trying to cram your brain with hundreds and hundreds of vocabulary words. You might learn a few words in the beginning, but in the long run that’s only your short-term memory playing a nasty trick on you.
Think of it this way – your brain is similar to a computer. What happens when you try to input data in the computer faster than the computer can accept that data? The computer will freeze. Your brain is similar in that if you try to cram too many vocabulary words into it at once, your brain will stop accepting any new words until its ready to accept more.
One thing you can do is download an Arabic language learning app to your mobile. This way, you can interact and practice more slowly, allowing your brain to take in new vocabulary and grammar at its own pace. Thus, you’ll find that you actually remembering and using the Arabic faster without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
4. Find a Language Partner
Having the support of another person will greatly speed up your learning. No matter what level you’re at, find someone who is also trying to learn Arabic. Social media groups are a great place to find others like you who want to speak Arabic. They also allow you to exchange resources or tips that have been helpful to you and vice versa.
5. Learn from Every Mistake You Make
Not one person who was born on this Earth came out of their mother’s belly speaking their mother tongue perfectly, so realize that you’re going to make mistakes. Don’t let them hinder you, because if you do, you won’t be taking advantage of these opportunities for growth.
One thing that I have found is that many Arabs or more than happy to talk to you and really appreciate you trying to speak Arabic to them, and most will overlook your small mistakes. So be happy with yourself. Look at each mistake as an opportunity to get it right the next time and remember that success is achieved only by the simple fact that you’re trying.
Practice these tips and you’ll soon see that your Arabic will improve faster, and soon enough, you’ll find that you’re almost speaking Arabic as a native.
Did these tips work for you? Drop us a line at kaleela.com and let us know what you do to help make your Arabic learning experience faster or easier.