So, you’ve read our last blog post about how difficult Arabic might be to learn and decided that the task is not as daunting as it’s been made out to be? Then it’s about time you find out for yourself and get a bit more familiar with this exciting language. Before you sign up for private lessons with one of our great Arabic teachers, getting a head start with learning the basics can be a great idea. We’ve put together this guide to the best free online resources to get you started. And, if your aim is to simply find out a bit more about Arabic, these resources should be more than enough.
A quick note: since Arabic has so many different varieties (mostly in the spoken language), we’ve used resources here that help you with learning Modern Standard Arabic – the formal “base form” of Arabic.
Starting with the Basics of Arabic
For grasping the basics of Modern Standard Arabic, the first step must certainly be learning the new writing system and studying the alphabet. This page offers a great interactive Arabic alphabet to get you accustomed to the new types of letters and sounds. Although they do also offer paid courses and lessons, the alphabet is free to play with for anyone.
After you’ve taken your first steps in Arabic, you can also try one of our long-loved language learning sites: Busuu – you need to register to use the site, but in return, you get the option of personalising your language learning experience. The language learning software L-Ceps also offers 10 free lessons in Arabic to help you get started – these are good for a quick brush with Arabic if you’re going for a trip and simply want to know the very basics.
ArabicPod101 also offers a rather comprehensive approach to learning the language – if you’re a fan of podcasts, this should be your go-to Arabic learning resource.
Writing, Grammar, and Spelling
If you’ve overcome the first hurdle in learning Arabic – getting used to the new writing system – and are still interested in digging deeper, you can start by using these sites to get better in Arabic grammar and writing:
MyLanguages: Learn Arabic – a very good overall resource, it provides dozens of lessons. Starting from the very basics, this site can help you work up to learning the cases in Arabic. To help make learning more personal, try the feature of writing your name in Arabic first!
LearnArabicOnline – this site provides a lot of background information on the language in addition to providing a structured approach to tackling writing and grammar skills. Perhaps somewhat lacking in practical exercises, the site can definitely clear up a lot of confusion by providing detailed info on Arabic.
Reading, Understanding, and Vocabulary
Since letters in Arabic change the way they’re written based on where they are in a word, your first task again is to take a very hard look on the alphabet to start deciphering this different system. Once you’ve memorised all the different forms letters can take, you can start putting more emphasis on improving your understanding:
ArabicReadingCourse – to kickstart your reading skills, try this website which will guide you through the process of starting to make sense of Arabic words and recognising the different-looking letters.
ILoveLanguages Arabic Lessons – divided into 18 free lessons, this site provides a great introduction to Arabic. Each lesson exists in a particular cultural context, helping you make sense of the information better.
Arabic Learning Games and Quizzes
We get it – learning a new language is hard work! If you’re looking to do some productive unwinding after your Arabic lessons, you can try these sites that offer language learning games and activities:
Hello World – they claim to have a database of over 600 games and activities specially developed to help you improve your Arabic skills. Although the site is a bit primitive, the sheer variety of options makes it a great resource.
IIUM Arabic Learning Games – if you’re looking for more of a challenge, the International Islamic University Malaysia also offers some Arabic vocabulary learning games. This site, too, looks like it hasn’t been updated on this century, but the challenging games will put your Arabic skills to the test none-the-less.
Other Useful Resources
The European Union recently got involved with Arabic teaching and helped to develop the Arabic Online course – this offers a free introductory course, although for more advanced lessons you’re expected to open your wallet.
Omniglot can help with learning the most important phrases in Modern Standard Arabic and in other dialects.
For a good Arabic dictionary, check out Lexicool – they offer the chance of comparing the different translations between the most popular sites.