An interesting resource for Arabic

Steve, I love natural Arabic actually, but right now I just don’t have the money to pay. Believe me, if I could I would. I tested out the free portion that they let you look at and it was just amazing. I have a course book that I was lucky to obtain for a decreased price and I’m going through it just listening, reading, and building my vocabulary.

As alleray stated, when Arabic is offered here, there will have to be a division of the dialects from what is Modern Standard Arabic(MSA). In my opinion, I would rather learn the standard of a language before moving on to a dialect such as Egyptian, Iraqi, etc. The lessons or content would have to be labeled which is which for clarity since each dialect is truly a different language in itself. The reason for learning MSA first is that there is more content available than content in those dialects. At least, from what I could find anyway.

Hello, I just wanted to clarify something in terms of the dialects. They may seem like they’re all different languages, but to the advanced learner of Arabic they are quite similar. You start making crazy connections between all of them. It’s normal for me, for example, to speak in a Damascus (SCA) dialect to someone from Alexandria (ECA), them replying in their own dialect, and for both of us to understand each other perfectly. However, some normal words in the former dialect are insults and profanities in the second, which is also something to consider. In addition, if I speak in the Alexandria dialect to someone from Damascus there also will be understanding. There’s an “Egyptian” dialect yet someone from Upper Egypt speaks in a way more closely to the people of the Levant.

Now, most people don’t know how to speak proper Arabic, and rarely have I met someone (from Arabic teachers as well) who does not make several mistakes in their Arabic. You see, a word may be written the same but when pronounced will be pronounced differently depending on its role in the sentence.

It’s a very beautiful language that is so precise that it’s ridiculous with verbs about even the smallest of actions such as putting your hand out on your forehead to block the sun or replying to someone who sneezed. At the same time, it’s very precise in its tone in terms of every word and its role in the sentence.

The problem I have with content is that after looking through some of the beginner content in English (and about translating it) such conversations are not spoken about with the common people. It might be better to use a dialect. However, cartoons usually use MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) as do news outlets. I think I may start with someone basic like getting to know someone and asking them where they live. It may also be a good idea to include all the short vowels on the beginner material, keeping in mind that these are not included in writing (like with Persian), so you must just be familiar with the word to know how to pronounce it.

I’ve been honestly thinking of how to tackle these difficulties and make it easier to learn through LingQ for almost a year now because I believe in the method, but I’m honestly just confused. Perhaps starting with the alphabet then simple greetings I can just get something out there. Well, I’ll just stop my rambling right here, haha.

@ Tammam
I would stick with MSA actually. It is the most standard “dialect” of the language and knowing that will give you a good foothold in the language from where to work off from. I do think Steve has stated this in one of his videos and I agree with this.

I do have a question for you. Are you a native speaker of Arabic?

No, I’m not a native speaker of Arabic, though many consider me that. More accurately, I’m a heritage speaker of Arabic. That means that the first language that I learned was the Damascus dialect of Arabic, though I was raised in the USA. During preschool I learned English quickly, but we kept speaking Arabic in my home to preserve it, my parents almost always speaking to me in it. I learned to read in elementary school (it was Qur’anic and Hadith Arabic, which is classical). I also studied tajwid, the science of proper recitation of Arabic, used for Qur’anic recitation, under a few sheikhs. Though I’m still not perfect, I’m better at it than the average Arabic speaker. I started studying MSA more intensively, however, about 4 years ago. That’s why I feel comfortable with MSA and do not have an accent in it. However, with the Damascus dialect I have a slight accent (in Damascus everyone notices, though in other parts, such as Lebanon or Egypt, they can’t even tell that my accent is not 100%). The same goes for my Alexandria dialect. Here, everyone notices after a few sentences, but in Cairo I can get by as being someone from Alexandria. The best way, as you probably know, to learn the dialects (in my opinion) is to speak to people and go there. The standard in the field of learning Arabic is that MSA is taught then the students study abroad. I was in Damascus for the past summer studying Arabic and have been here in Alexandria since September.

I just provided all of that information to you because I think it’s important for people to know since I would like to contribute to Arabic content. I don’t say I’m “better” than the average speaker in terms of MSA pronunciation because of arrogance. I just wanted to be open, clear, and transparent. Like I said, there’s a connection between MSA and all of the dialects along with English and some foreign words (especially French in the Levant and North Africa) for more modern items. You just need to notice them over time as you learn more or have someone point them out to you (though I think the former way is more useful and helps it stick more). The connection is really cool in my opinion.