Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages with over 300 million native speakers. With its unmistakable script, Arabic is the official language of over 22 countries and the language of the holy Quran. Interestingly, Arabic is written from right to left, it is the only language with the ‘ح’ sound (an ‘h’ sound unique to Arabic), and has 14 distinct ways to say the word love.
With more than enough reasons to learn Arabic, this article will explore how difficult it is to learn and how you can find Arabic conversation partners to fast-track your learning with language exchange apps like HelloTalk.
How hard is it to learn Arabic?
One of the first questions you may ask yourself is how easy is it to learn Arabic? Arabic is known as one of the hardest languages to learn as an English or Romance language native speaker with the exception of Japanese and Mandarin. While Arabic may not be the easiest language to learn, it is by no means impossible. Let’s dive into the hard and easy parts of learning Arabic.
1. The writing system
For many learners, it may feel strange initially to read and write from right to left. There are 28 characters and their appearance varies depending on the position in a word (e.g. end, middle, or beginning). Do your math and you have 84 permutations to master before you can read and write. With a bit of upfront work and practice, it’ll become so automatic that you will have forgotten that you are reading the other way!
Arabic grammar is notorious for being tricky. Whether your navigating the famous ‘dual’ case for two objects or trying to stay consistent with the gender of nouns, Arabic can be challenging for many learners, especially at the beginning. The good news is there is no capitalization and punctuation (think quoation marks) is used instead to imply the importance of a word.
3. Arabic dialects and regional differences
The deep history and diversity of nations that speak Arabic has resulted in different ‘dialects’ or regional variations in the language. For example, Egyptian Arabic sounds very different than the Arabic spoken in Lebanon. Depending on your goals, it may be best to start with standard Arabic before moving onto more distinct variations of the language. The good news is Arabic has influenced many languages from Malay to Spanish. In fact, experts estimate 8% of the Spanish lexicon is derived from Arabic, so you may already know more Arabic than you think 😊. Now that you have an idea of the hard and easy parts of learning Arabic, let’s jump into how to find Arabic conversation partners.
How to Find Arabic Conversation Partners
It is a good time to be a language learner. The convenience of the internet has made it easier than ever to meet, connect, and learn from people across different timezones. Here are two common ways to find Arabic conversation partners:
1. Language exchange websites
2. Language exchange apps
Mobile apps such as HelloTalk let you connect with native speakers from around the globe. You can search for Arabic conversation partners by country, timezone, and more.
Tips for a Successful Arabic Language Exchange
1. Warm up beforehand
It is a good idea to warm up ahead of time to prime your brain to start thinking in Arabic. Listen to Arabic music, tune into Aljazeera news, or practice speaking in front of a mirror to get into the zone.
2. Use HelloTalk’s Language Exchange Scheduler
We know modern life can be busy and not everyone has time for the back and forth to arrange a mutually convenient time for language exchange. HelloTalk app’s built in language exchange scheduler can help. The feature lets you set your desired time, duration, and automatically synchs with your calendar so you stay consistent with your practice.
3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
It’s true that mistakes are often the best teachers. Even native speakers will admit that Arabic can be difficult. So don’t be afraid to try using a new expression, word, or grammatical tense to express yourself. Your language partner is likely to applaud your effort and offer helpful corrections to sound like a native speaker in no time!
4. Find conversation partners with similar language profiency
The best language exchanges typically take place between learners with similar language proficiencies. For best results, if you are a beginner in Arabic, you should partner up with a native Arabic speaker who is a beginner in your native language.
Join HelloTalk – Learn with more Arabic native speakers for free
HelloTalk is the world’s #1 language exchange app and home to a global community of language learners and culture lovers. Join over 35 million people from 190 countries who’ve made HelloTalk the hub for language and cultural exchange. Practice with native Arabic speakers for free through text, voice, or video. The app also includes self-paced lessons, instructional livestreams, and intuitive language tools such as translation, transcription, and transliteration to get your Arabic learning on the right track! Download the free app today at HelloTalk.