Quick tip for remembering ب ت ث ن
Maybe this is obvious to some people, but maybe it will help others. It can be difficult when things look alike. (Disclaimer: this is a memorization tip, not a pronunciation guide.)
ب the dot is Below (B)
ت Two dots (T)
ث Three dots (Th)
ن at Noon (nun), the sun is high in the sky (N)
(Please also note also that this one sits below the line, not on it, and the shape is different.)
I don't have tips for all the letters, but this helped me when I studied years ago. If this helped you and you want more, let me know.
Thank you for an indispensable start. I've been trying to learn the Arabic script on and off for years now, first on Memrise then Drops, but find that they and DL (no offense) go too fast into vocabulary. The letters in their stand-alone and shape-shifting positional forms should be covered first, arguably.
In any case, learning the script is no small feat. I understand that it traditionally takes about two weeks to master. Hopefully online platforms can expedite the process with enough entertaining mnemonics.
Any prospective DL Farsi course from English would pose a similar challenge, adopted as the Persian script is from the morphing Arabic one. Kindly take heed, any budding volunteers ...
They definitely throw you into a bit, though I've seen some people complain that there are too many alphabet lessons. Lol I'm sure there's an app specifically for the alphabet or a great Tiny Cards deck. I was in the middle of creating a Farsi alphabet deck to do just that, though of course the pronunciation is different.
I am one of those complaining that there is too much repetition in the alphabet lessons. I love repetitions, I need lots of repetitions, esp. when it comes to learning vocabulary. The problem with the repetitions for learning the Arabic script is that they repeat the same 5 pairs over and over again in the 'match the pairs' exercises, thereby making it pattern matching exercise, while paying less and less attention to the details. And by pattern matching I mean here that you can find the pairs just by distinguishing the number of characters, or by identifying the easy to recognize characters (like, oh, this is the one with the k). Whereas the confusing pairs (for me esp. ـنـ|ـبـ and ـيـ|ـتـ) don't get special training. And this is not about not knowing the difference between a baa and a nuun, or a taa and a yaa, it is about reliably recognizing these characters, esp. in their middle form, when text is written in smaller font. There are scientific studies on the difficulty of reading Arabic, which shows that reading the Arabic script in smaller font sizes is very error prone, not only for learners like us, but even for natives. And a lot of the practice for characters could already be done with real words, rather then the non-word character sequences, esp. using minimal pairs, ie words, which differ only be one character.
I think that's valuable feedback, and it might be worth posting on a new thread so the folks in charge are more likely to see it. I definitely agree that the middle form is the most challenging, especially with the small font size (which I'm really hoping they'll change).
It's not so easy to remember as your mnemonic, but for the letters that have dots, the position of the dots is the same as the position of your tongue when you make the sound. You'll notice if you try saying ي (y) or ب (b) that your tongue is at the bottom of your mouth, whereas is you say ث (th), ت (t), ض (ḍ) etc it's at the top :)
Wow this is awesome, I had no idea that scripts were related to mouth parts! I haven't learned the entire alphabet yet, so I just went on a whole internet journey figuring out the rest of the connections between all the other letter shapes/dot positions and mouth shapes/tongue positions, LOL. Thanks for sharing :)
That is helpful! I started trying to teach myself the Arabic alphabet months ago. The free online tutorial taught these letters together among some others. I got a bit frustrated and stopped kind of stuck with Arabic through transliteration. I hope the Duolingo course can help me with recognizing the letters.
I'm really dating myself here, lol, but I initially studied Arabic like over 20 years ago. I taught myself a bit using the book Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. (Good book - highly recommended. I was able to go into a local Mediterranean market and understand some conversations between customers and clerks, which completely blew me away!) I had no idea at the time that there were different "versions". Lol I've revisited the alphabet over the years (mostly due to a brief study of Farsi). But I remember little else.
Due to life in general, I stopped learning Arabic altogether, and I've been dying for this course to come out. The language seemed to be a good fit for my brain before, but I'm significantly older now. Lol So, we'll see. Doing okay so far.
I think part of that is Duolingo's method. It usually works well for me. I hope it does for you, too!
I love both of these comments! They give me hope. :) I also had some medical issues that caused me memory problems, and I've really been struggling. But I decided to take up the kalimba and have spent a couple of months learning music and music theory, and it's had a huge effect on my brain. I've barely been practicing my languages (just keeping my streak alive, really), and yet things are suddenly easier - even in Korean, which was killing me. Lol I was determined before, but I now I have hope that it won't be such an uphill battle.
I've been living in Beirut for 2.5 years and have been learning colloquial Lebanese dialect on and off for 1.5 years. I feel like I have almost nothing to show for it though. I can pick on some things in a conversation or when asked, but I really struggle to answer, especially with my terrible accent, and to remember the verbs.
The main problem is that you don't need to speak Arabic to live in this city. There wasn't really too much pressure or motivation to make me feel like I had to learn and become fluent in it to survive. I'm about to leave very soon, so there'll be even less motivation for me to continue with the language, especially when I'll have to start brushing up on a different language in my new location.
I would like to at least learn some more, if not all of the letters. I think Duolingo is helping with that already.
Yes, I'm very aware that Lebanese/Beiruti Arabic is not the same as fusha, but that could be said for any spoken Arabic in the Middle East/North Africa.
The courses I took were actually a strange mix of multiple colloquial dialects and somewhat Gulf focused. Our teachers would read and correct things to be more Lebanese: replacing words that aren't used in the country, generally not pronouncing the "qaf", adding "b" before verbs, etc, so I think I know a little about these differences.
Granted, it would probably be easier to start with MSA and then learn dialects. I never expected to move to Beirut though, and it made more practical sense (as is the case for many expats) to take courses in the dialect for daily purposes.