We're pretty biased when it comes to Arabic!
It's an amazing language that opens up endless possibilities for interaction with wonderful people all around the world.
But not nearly enough people do.
Hopefully we can help change that.
So here are just a few reasons (we could go on and on!) why you should start learning Arabic if you're still sitting on the fence about it.
1. The Arabic alphabet is incredibly straightforward and easy to read
People generally freak out when they first see the Arabic script but it's actually one of the easiest writing systems to pick up.
With the right dedication and motivation, there's no reason why you can't learn to read and write it in a day or two.
There are just a few things that take some serious adjustment.
- Getting used to it being written from right to left instead of left to right.
- Realizing that most of the letters are connected/joined.
- The diacritics representing short vowel sounds aren't usually written (so it can be difficult to know how words are pronounced in the beginning).
Remember that Arabic script is just like cursive writing in English, only written backward.
They’re just individual letters of an alphabet that are all connected together.
Just to give you an example, here’s the word for ‘dog’ in Arabic:
K L B
The first letter there on the right is a 'kaf' (K sound). It actually even looks like a K that's had the long line removed.
The middle letter's a 'lam' (L sound). Again, this actually looks very similar to a cursive, lowercase L in English.
The final letter on the left is a 'beh' (B sound). You can always recognize this by the single dot underneath it.
The vowels aren't written usually so the A sound is implied/assumed.
Most of the rest of the alphabet is just as simple as these and many of them bear at least resemblance to Latin letters (see here for an explanation on this).
2. Arabic grammar is very simple compared to most languages
Compared to many languages that have very complex grammar systems (e.g. Greek, German and Russian), Arabic is very simple.
Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Noun cases are not an issue in colloquial Arabic dialects (though they are in Classical and Modern Standard).
2. Arabic has no neuter.
Masculine and feminine are all you have to worry about.
3. In the present tense, you can omit the verb ‘to be’.
Nearly all Arabic words are made up of root consonants.
Take for example the letters K T B. They're all connected in some way to 'writing': katab (he wrote), maktab (office), maktaba (library), kitab (book), kaatib (writer), maktoob (written/writing).
Not hard to spot the similarities!
So since all these words come from K T B, you can take a pretty good guess at meanings just by knowing the root letters.
5. The definite article (ال) is indeclinable and never changes.
3. Arabic is one of the most relevant and important languages to learn in 2016
It doesn't take a genius to know that the Arab world dominates news headlines nearly every day (not always for the best of reasons though admittedly!).
It's also in in the top 5 languages with the highest number of native speakers in the world.
Native speakers of Arabic are up around 300 million which means it's right behind English and when you consider that it's geographically spread out from West Africa to Central Asia, you get an idea of just how huge it is.
There are also tonnes of Arab migrants all over the world who still speak Arabic as a first or second language.
As a business language too, there are huge opportunities in places like the UAE and Qatar for Arabic speakers.
This is only going to continue to rise over the coming years so the relevance of Arabic will continue to increase.
4. There are so many Arabic varieties/dialects to choose from
Dialects tend to scare people away from Arabic.
It's just too confusing and difficult to know where to start – which dialect should I learn?
The answer is simple: you should pick the country that interests you and learn that variety.
It does get confusing when you have so many choices, and the fact Modern Standard Arabic is the dialect taught by most institutes and products.
Of course, as we've said previously before, you should not learn MSA first because nobody uses it anywhere as a native language. It's unnatural and way too formal plus you'll never understand other people if that's all you can speak.
You should see variety as a good thing! It makes it interesting. 🙂
Each dialect has a very different flavour and many of them (but not all) are mutually intelligible anyway.
5. Language immersion is so easy and fun with Arab people
Of all the places I've been to lived in around the world, Arab hospitality toward strangers is something truly unique and special.
You never have a boring day living in the Middle East – you're always bound to meet somebody who wants to be your friend.
Since speaking regularly is essential to learning the language, you'll never have the excuse 'I can't meet anybody'.
You can be guaranteed that you’ll have no trouble being truly immersed when learning Arabic.
Already learned Arabic yourself? What other reasons would you add to this list?
Also check out this post: If I Started Learning Arabic Again, This Is How I'd Do It.