Arabic for English Speakers Lesson #1
WELCOME TO MY ARABIC LESSONS مرحباً بكم إلى دروسي للّغة العربيّة
Before I even begin, let me just say that I'm not sure I'll keep doing this. I might get bored ;) And . . . Arabic can get tricky for native speakers too.
- This is MSA
I - THE ALPHABET
There's not really much I can do to help you learn the alphabet, you need outside sources, like this video to help you learn it.
But here are some notes:
Arabic is written from right to left
There are no uppercase or lowercase letters in Arabic
Everything is written in what I could simply call cursive.
Take this for example: حب (Hob)
This is the Arabic word for "love". It's made up of 2 letters: ح - ب
But combined, the first letter, ح, changes its shape, and connects itself to the ب.
It is absolutely wrong not to connect the letters. Most Arabs wouldn't be able to read what you've written.
Because letters connect to each other, all letters have more than one form.
For example, if you were to switch the ح and ب in the word حب, this is what it would look like:
Now compare them: بح/حب
Unfortunately, the forms of the letters simply need to be memorized =(
- Some letters don't attach to the letters after them.
Like in the word "ana" - أنا (which is Arabic for "I")
It's made up of 3 letters, أ-ن-ا
The first and last letters are both the same = alif (the first letter of the alphabet)
The alif (أ) doesn't attach to letters after it, only letters before it. The ن attaches to both letters after it and before it.
This is why the word "ana" is written this way: أنا.
Here's some calligraphy that you'll one day be able to read :)
This says: Life is good
Now let's get to the fun part:
Arabic has no "verb to be". So you don't have to waste your time learning conjugations like you probably did with German, Spanish, French etc . . .
Don't get too excited though, there's verb to be in other tenses, just not the present ;)
That said, if you want to say, "I'm a boy," you'd take the word for "I", which is أنا, and the word for "boy" which is ولد (walad)
Put these two words together: أنا ولد.
Congratulations! You just formed your first Arabic sentence!
I = أنا
You (male): أنتَ (anta)
You (female): أنتِ (anti)
(YES, we do have different "you" forms based on the gender of the person =D)
Random words just so you'd be able to say you're these things:
Happy: سعيد (for male, saEEd) - سعيدة (for female, saEEda)
Cat: قط (for male, KiTT) - قطة (for female, KiTTa)
- Note on word order: In Arabic, like many other languages, the adjective comes after the noun. Ex: She is a pretty girl would be: She is a girl pretty.
Now, can you form these basic sentences?
I am a happy boy.
You (male) are a happy cat.
Write them in the comments below.
PS: If you want to know how to write your name in Arabic, ask me =)
Danke, Bedankt, merci, thank you
There is a new wonderful book called .....
It is also in Arabic with translations
It is a book that inspires me to learn some Arabic
BESTIMMT WIRD ALLES GUT is the real-life story of two young asylum seekers and their journey from Syria to Germany.
I have met several families from Syria that are now established in Scotland ..
But this story in this book from Germany should be available in our schools.
أنا ولد سعيد.
أنت قط سعيد.
And in Amharic, because I feel like it
ደስተኛ ወንድ ልጅ ነኝ።
ደስተኛ ድመት ነህ።
Fascinating. Thanks for posting! I can see why an Arabic for English speakers course is long in coming. I can already start to imagine some of the issues they're having.
I would like to know how to write my name in Arabic btw, yes please. It's Jessica :)
There you go, some people might write it in different ways though =)
Yes, I figured with a big world language like Arabic, there might be variation :) If anything, if you stick it in Google, you do get several famous Jessica's, so I think you must have gone with a common enough version.
Thanks a lot Salma. Best of luck :)
I am also here if anyone needs help.
Nice comparision :D
But i've heard that many Arabic dialects aren't mutally inteliggible like the Maghrebi and the Gulf Arabic because of the geographic distance...
Yes, it's a little hard for me, and I'm sure many other Arabs, to understand the Maghrebi dialect, they speak so fast! But that's about it . . . they speak too fast for me. If they spoke slower, I'd understand them =)
This language is sooo much easier than Turkish in my opinion. To people who are considering learning, do not let yourself be intimidated by the alphabet. Writing without errors can be a little challenging, reading is not hard, and speaking and listening is probably the easiest part. Not to mention, the best music in the world comes from the Arabs ;) Thanks for this Selma
Thanks for this! I hope I'm not to late to ask >:
Is the way you say something based on gender always depend on the object? I understand that you write أنتَ (you) when you talk about male, no? But since سعيد (happy) doesn't have gender, you says سعيد when you are male andسعيدة when you are female, right? So is it also depends on the subject?
Why the ة in سعيدة is silent? isn't it read as t?
My arabic friend always tell that every arab understand MSA, but it is awkward to converse in it. Is it true? They said it is better to learn Egyptian dailect, since huge load of literature are in Egyptian dialect
I noticed your profile picture is a picture of woman with veil, so I assume that you are a Muslim. So is it possible to understand Qur'an if I know MSA? or is it only possible with certain dialects?
1- It's important to know that Arabic has two types of sentences, usually based on what's the first word in the sentence is:
a) (The Nominal Sentence = Al-Jumla Al-Ismiyyah = الجملة الإسمية) where the first word is a noun like: He is happy = هو سعيد Notice that in Arabic, as selma said, we say "He happy", cause verb "to be" is not in the present-tense form. So there is no verb there.
b) (The Verbal Sentence = Al-Jumla Al-Fe'liyyah = الجملة الفعلية) where the first word is a verb like: Axel loves duolingo = يحب أكسل دوولينجو. Notice that Arabic follows a template of (Verb-Subject-Object) so the literal translation of the Arabic phrase would be "Loves Axel Duolingo) and as you can see the verb comes first.
So in the verbal sentence, the verb gender follows the subject. ex: Bob loves (male form: you-heb = يحب) Duolingo Alice loves(female form: tou-heb = تحب) Duollingo
And in the Noun sentence, the predicate follows the subject. ex: He is smart (male form: zakeyy) She is smart (female form: zakeyy-ah)
Just read it couple of times and tell me if it makes sense :D
2- the ة is pronounced as a T if it is followed by a word. If it is at the end of the sentence you don't pronounce it (actually, you pronounce it as a Ha, like "saeed-ah instead of saeed-at". Fun Fact: If the word ending with ة is followed by another, you will pronounce the T differently based on the position/role of the word in the sentence. So it can be saeed-at-on, saeed-at-an, saeed-at-en, saeed-at-a. The rules that govern how you pronounce the last letter in a word is called the science of "Nahw".
3- It's not awkward but rather formal/poetic/Shakespearean/and some how religious. It's not true that literature is mostly written in Egyptian Arabic, it's still heavily dominated by MSA. And although you won't find MSA in Arabs' speech you may find it in their Facebook posts and online interactions. It's a matter of taste. Here on Duolingo, most Arabic users post in the forum and comment using MSA. The only categories that sometimes use spoken MSA is politics and religion.
4) Quran is written in what's sometimes called "Classical Arabic". You cannot understand Arabic without MSA! And dialects are far from the classical Arabic. You can think of MSA as the link between both Classical Arabic and modern dialects and it's your best chance of understanding Quran. However, although you will be able to understand the text of the Quran you will not necessarily understand the linguistic gestures that are not directly indicated in the predefined words but rather in the context and timing. It's a living text so to speak, and with MSA you only understand its anatomy.
Thanks for your explanation! you made it crystal clear! but your answer on no (2) really made Arabic seems challenging haha
This is somewhat an advanced topic :D most modern dialects removed such complexities, I just wanted to answer your question and give you a sense of how inflictive and exact Arabic is.
This is actually similar to German. What Amgad meant by "position/role" of the word in the sentence is known as "case" in German. So it's really not that hard =)
Can hardly wait until the Arabic for English speakers arrives...would prefer Levant (Syrian) dialect. I'm finding it really hard to find out the progress on this...is there a page or link one can refer to with regular updates? I have been hearing that a course has already passed the Beta...but I think after digging a bit that this was an English course for Arabic speakers, SaHH?
Arabic For English Speakers has just been added in the incubator. It will teach MSA and Egyptian dialect.
Maybe this is a pedantic point, but if you write right-to-left, should the (smiley-face) be on the left?
It is to the left :) إنه على اليسار :) If you see both of them the same maybe it's something with your browser's encoding. Arabic gets messed up easily on browsers :(
Thanks for the lesson! Arabic is so much similar to Hebrew (=
I hope we will see an Arabic for English speakers course very soon in the Incubator.
Such a beautiful language, I do hope someday we could see an arabic course here. Arabic culture was fundamental to build portuguese and brazilian identity, we have lots and lots of arabic words in portuguese.
أرى أنّك تتعلّم الكثير من اللّغات! أتمنّى لك التّوفيق والإجتهاد =)
Great first lesson! Arabic is definitely an interesting language, altough I don't think I'll ever be able to read the alphabet :p
Saabhl is right! Have you tried? It's always easier after you try. Just learn two letters every 3 days, slow and easy.
I've never learned any Arabic before so it's quite new, I'm only used to the Latin, Cyrillic and to a lesser degree the Greek alphabets and it's not even close to any of them. Then again, you're right, practice will help :)
But I'm also not sure I should learn it fluently, I want to visit Egypt and Jordan in the future (I'd love to see the Pyramids and Petra) and some basic knowledge would be nice but learning a whole new language is quite a investment of time. Also I only have one friend that speaks Arabic unfortunately (plus a few others from Morocco who speak Berber, but my friend said their Arabic is attrocious), so I'm not sure it would be very useful for me at the moment.
(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ ❣❣❣ TIHS IS ⇨⇨⇨ ★M★A★R★A★V★I★L★L★O★S★O★ ❣❣❣ ☆٩(♡ε♡ )۶
I'm fascinated more and more with Arabic. I really want to know my two names in Arabic (Diego Javier)!!!
I am a happy boy!!! ❤(ӦｖӦ｡) !!!أنا ولد سعيد
You are a happy cat. 【=°±°=】 .أنتَ قط سعيد
¡Todas las GRACIAS a ti! ლ(´ڡ`ლ)
That's a hard name to write in Arabic, just saying, but I'll try.
Note that the "g" sound doesn't exist in Arabic, so I replaced it with a letter that's basically the French "r". The "v" sound doesn't exist either, so I replaced it with an "f".
The sentences are correct, ¡bien hecho!
¡No hay de que!
¡¡Qué bueno saberlo!! I will try to type my name in the Arabic keyboard then! ;)
In Spanish, it is Ja (with the English sound of "h") - vier (with the sound of Janvier, but the "r" sound is rolled), also, the "v" sound is the same as "b" in my country. Now, I am using my name Diego in Arabic, and the second name as Jawi (جاوي) taken from the Jawi alphabet because I am really interested in the culture of Indonesia, Ancient Java, and all the Austronesian cultures. ;)
Mine is Myron, so it would be this:ميرون or something other? Thx, waiting for the Arabic!!!
It is a very beautiful written language, no wonder there is so much amazing artwork! I think it may be too difficult for my old brain! I did learn some spoken Arabic during my 3 yrs working in Saudi. I still remember it too.
hello selma.. if i go to mecca and medina... what arab dialect should i use? and what is the different between dialect in that area with arabic in Al-Koran? thanks
In Mecca and Medina they speak the Khaleeji dialect (Saudi Arabian). The Arabic in the Quran is called the Classical Arabic, while Khalleji is a dialect. If you learn any dialect you won't be able to understand the Quran
if local people in mecca and medina speak khaleeji, could they understand both egyptian dialect and MSA (modern standard arabic)? and can i understand the Quran with just learning MSA without learning classical arabic ? thanks
مبادرة جميلة جدا اختي سلمى لانو فعلا الكثير من الناس يحتاجوا بالفعل الى تعلم العربية وانا بشوف من هدول الناس كثير في حياتي لانو انا صح مصرية ولكن اسكن بالسعودية فقد تعودت اكثر على التحدث بالخليجي اكثر من المصري وصراحة بطريقتك الجميلة بتحببي الناس في اللغة العربية وهذا شئ يرفع الرأس
1- شكرا جزيلا اختي سلمى , انا عضو جديد اتعلم اللغة الانجليزية في (مجتمع دولينجو)
2- صدقيني اختي الفاضلة انه بالرغم من ان الدرس موجه للراغبين في تعلم اللغة العربية , الا انه سينعكس اجابا ايضا على العرب الراغبين بتعلم اللغة الانجليزية .
3- مجملا اسلوبك سلس وبسيط في طريقة طرح الدرس وهذا ما يحتاجه كل مبتدأ .
بالتوفيق لك ان شاء الله.
Selma, have you thought about creating a course in the incubator? I would certainly take it if you did.
Update: you can contribute to the course here: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/ar/en/status
The word for boy (walad) is correct. It is undefinite just like you wrote it. But the adjective happy (sa3iid) should follow the word it describes and therefore also be undefinite.
I am very happy to see that work has begun on the Arabic for speakers of English course! This is a big day for those of us who want to learn this language!
I can't wait for the Arabic course! I just hope my head won't get super confused by learning both Arabic and Hebrew all at once. The similarities can be helpful and a problem at the same time :D
Also, Arabic calligraphy is beautiful. Definitely my favorite.
I speak arabic fluently but i cant read or write that well so that helped a lot thanks! =D
كاثرين other people may spell it differently but that’s how I would do it
Hi! I've been trying to study Arabic on my own (I was living in the UAE for some time) and I adore the language! I was wondering if you could help me with two translations, just to make sure that I'm not saying something totally stupid. I'm still quite the beginner and my speaking came way faster than my reading haha
does this actually mean:
"forget the past but never forget the lesson" اترك الماضي ، لكن لا تنسى الدرس
"Collect moments, not things" اجمع اللحظات وليس الأشياء
thank you so much in advance! it's a really hard language! and if you ever need help with Spanish, let me know! It's my mother tongue :)