Just finished the Arabic Tree...
The fact that the final lesson covers "hello, nice to meet you" makes me really pray that expansions are in the works!!! The final lessons in this course are what normally comes in the very first lesson of a normal course.
I should have titled this "shrub" instead of "tree". Maybe "blade of grass" would be more accurate.
Yes, you are definitely right. I can tell you this course is very incomplete. And its contributors were inactive for a very long time, it seems that they wanted to release it anyway.
The little sapling has yet to grow a full branch. Feedback will be invaluable. I plan to give my own in due time. Hopefully there will be ears to hear.
From a non native speaker POV, the lessons seemed good enough exposure to those with zero or some background of the language. As I had learned the script as a child and later took some short course, I’ve been testing out the lessons and trying to gild the tree. But as my vocabulary is weak, I’m learning as I test out. Its been fun because there are new materials for me.
IMHO, this course is similar to the Japanese and Korean ones, where the first few modules/lessons heavily repeats on the scripts and simple sentences. I believe they made the course in such a way as to not discourage new/beginner learners with difficult content starting out.
I am struggling through the alphabet section. It's quite difficult to figure out the differences of different letters. i wonder whether the course would help me differentiate all the alphabet.
thank you very much. I found that just to level up on the alphabet section can also help me grasp the differences. I should have used a different approach to learning arabics than the one used in learning the languages using roman alphabet. I will stick to duolingo to see what it has to offer as youtube is not easily accessible in china.
Yep I use those videos too. Love those videos! It's helped solidify things that where glossed over in other sources.
Wow, we're nearly finished! Yay, we're finished. Well done!
And they've continued to be gold for me after that.
The whole which ones are pronounced like a whistle and which ones like a smile. Great videos!
I read along with them aloud.
Hello, I begun the arabic course. First of all, thank you for the job : I've been waiting for it so long. As a beginner, I've got a problem with the "choose between three" questions, because I'm reduced in gess game with no tips and no audio to help me. At this point of the course, it's frustrating !
I am an absolute beginner and am having to go very slow. But I am trying very hard to absorb fully what is being taught.
The notes I have been keeping are very helpful but it takes me forever to type them out. My hand written notes are easier but learning to type is important to me.
The multiple choice ones that I have come across have all had sound. And mousing over arabic words or letters usually produces sound as well. Maybe you should double check your settings???
Yes, we need the audio and mouse over translations for these! It's not a test, it's learning, we're here to learn, and these feel like test questions not learning tools.
Francois, I know the ones you're talking about. I came across the first one like that yesterday. There were three choices. There is no sound when we click on the choices because they want to test our reading ability. Giving us the sound for each one would have given the answer away. Because, I believe with that exercise they say the sentence and then we have to read and choose which one of the three written sentences was being read.
This happens to me when we get to the full sentences. If I can recognize one or two words it helps me eliminate the other answers. I know it's cheating(?) but I "trace" the words by hitting ctrl-f and typing what (I think) the sentence is.
It's a beta course, and more importantly it's a beta course for one of the most difficult languages to teach to an absolute beginner. Having watched how other courses develop over time, I'm really glad that they're doing a lot of trial and error on the basic literacy front to make sure they have that down before building out all the grammar and vocab lessons. I've given up on certain other non-Western languages in the past because I realized the first-draft tree wasn't really teaching the fundamentals well.
(And speaking as someone who's had their French tree updated three times now, it's a lot better to have them add new skills to the end rather than go back and change up the individual lessons at the beginning so you have to do half the course all over again just to get your owl back.)
Yeah, I finished the Spanish tree before the levels, then two times again after levels, then they added a whole bunch of new modules so now I have technically not completed the tree. It doesn't matter, The new lessons are great and I really like them.
The whole course could have focused on alphabet and how to meld single, initial, mid and final and I would have been thankful.
An entire course on typing would be plenty
But this BETA version is the bees knees.
While I can try to respect your opinion, I must say that no one who already knew the script would agree with you on this one. Imagine starting a Duolingo French course only to discover that the course only covered the alphabet!
You got me Biuljeba a french course on alphabet would be hard to imagine
Arabic alphabet with variations
I think that people get bogged down with the "final, medial, isolated," etc, aspects of the Arabic alphabet. The easiest way to learn them is to first learn them in their initial form.
The consonant marks remain the same, regardless of where the letter appears in the word, which is why when teaching Arabic reading and writing to children, we first focus on just teaching the initial letters.
If a person can memorize these, then they will find it much easier to quickly recognize the letters as they are reading. The other forms become more necessary when they are practicing handwriting.
For me everything starts out in a fog. Little bits and pieces start to come in to focus and then, slowly, over time, things become clearer.
In just the beginning lessons there are some letter combinations that use alef in the middle. Looking at them and trying to figure out how to type in to my notes is taking a long time.
I look at the letters on screen. Then I look at my onscreen keyboard to find the two letters and only after trial and error I finally realize the there are three letters melded
I think it was jaak جاك
produce by type these three characters:
ج ا ك
and the jeem melts in to alef and the dot ends up below????
for me that is going to take a lot of studying to fully absorb. I am going to be perfectly content to work on alphabet until I can recognize each letter, type each letter, handwrite each letter. And then do the same with letters in combination.
It's work. But I understand the Arabic is actually a very easy language that follows scientific rules
I just love it and am so glad to have finally started learning this truly magnificent language
Juliet, what keyboard program do you use to type Arabic? I heard that Arabic grammar is very difficult.
And because of Duolingo, I recognize some of those and know what sounds they make.
I see your chart but Arabic phonology is a piece of cake compared to French, in French the sound of letter depends so much on the letters around them, Arabic is so much more straightforward. This at least cancels out the point you are making about the number of shapes of letters.
This is the beta version of Arabic FOR ENGLISH speakers. You sound as though you were expecting a complete Arabic course for Farsi speakers.
As someone who already knew the Arabic alphabet from learning Pashto, I agree that this BETA course did not have much grammatical or lexical content. That's why it's a BETA course.
I also will point out that even though Arabic is much more consistent in spelling and pronunciation than something like French, it is also much more precise and has little forgiveness for mistakes. En Anglish, yuo cun change half uf the vowels en thi sintance... Yet it will still be understood despite constant mispronunciation and misspellings. That's because English, like all Western languages, primarily uses consonants to give meaning and does not rely on precise vowels. Arabic is the exact opposite.
I realize that different dialects of Arabic do shift some vowels, but if you're pronouncing vowels incorrectly and don't thoroughly understand the diacritics and the difference between "thaa" and "dhaa" then you're going to be saying a bunch of incoherent nonsense when you try to speak. This is why they spent so much time in the beta just to emphasize the alphabet and the sounds--they are absolutely key and failure to understand and use them properly completely changes the meaning of the words.
I completely disagree with you on the vowels and consonants thing. In Englich iu kan chanj konsanants kwait alot and plai wid de vowls a beet and steel gat sumting dat u ken anderstend. With languages like Arabic, which I'm learning, and Hebrew, which I read/write/speak at a native level, which use abjad alphabets, the consonants are so much more important than the vowels, that the vowels are not normally written. I can say, that incorrect vowel in spoken Hebrew may rarely cause misunderstanding, whereas incorrect consonant, whether written or pronounced may often give you either a non-existent word, or a totally different word. I'm not 100% sure it's the same in Arabic, since modern Hebrew phonology is significantly simpler, but I would assume it is, since both languages are very closely related.
You can switch consonants in English with a good amount of understanding and vowels as well. My point was to illustrate that English tends to put one vowel sound between consonants, so mispronouncing vowels doesn't destroy comprehension completely. Just because native Hebrew speakers don't WRITE the vowels and native Arabics speakers don't WRITE the diacritics doesn't mean that they arbitrarily mispronounce all of their vowels, it means that they just know how to pronounce the words without going through the extra trouble of writing vowels just like how modern English speakers write "wont" instead of "won't".
Unlike English and most languages that I'm aware of, Arabic does not strictly alternate between consonants and vowel sounds. In English, it is rare to find a word with multiple vowel sounds consecutively. If you find them, they are typically Latin loan words or Latin derived names of countries and people. Look at what I've written so far above. The only obvious diphthong is the 'ou' sound from 'ou' and 'ow'. When you say 'sound' it has two consecutive vowels and they are actually pronounced differently: ah-oo. 'You' only has one vowel sound despite having two vowels. 'Good' only has one vowel sound. Actually is another one, 'u' and 'a' are consecutive and do indeed have different sounds. But it is relatively uncommon.
Arabic does this constantly. And it doesn't just have two consecutive vowels with different pronunciations, it often has three or four. And different words are often distinguished by these vowel sounds.
tl;dr I've had a Chinese friend tell a teacher 'here's my sh*t' as he handed in his SHEET and an English friend learning Pashto switch one vowel and talk to his teacher about 'female genitalia' in an exam when he meant 'people'. Those were mistakes from one wrong vowel. Arabic quadruples the possibility of those mistakes by cramming masses of consecutive vowel sounds together. You absolutely DO need to learn them well.
But isn't that a bit like saying 'I know one of the hard things about Arabic (a completely new alphabet); why is most of the course that!'? Ok, if this was a full course, this might be reasonable, but it has just been released into beta.
Beta doesn’t mean beginner. Beta means they are testing it.
When I took the skills test, I was told that I knew enough to start at an advanced level. Clearly, they don’t have an advanced level, so I got pushed down into what they do have, which is only beginner.
They should call it what it is: Beginner Arabic.
I think they should just improve it. I really looked forward to an Arabic course. I have faith they will. I think it's a nice start, and I am so very glad to see it, because it allows us to talk about something as a starting place and as it was so long in the coming I think we really needed this.
I suspect this course will expand nicely before too long. I don't think it anywhere near qualifies as beginner. More like we're all building it together, they need us to tell them what we want. We want more!
And thank you to the developers, you have done an awesome job, even realizing it's not done yet. Maybe there is an opportunity now for more volunteers to be added to developing Arabic?
I have over a decade of experience with Arabic (although it's quite rusty now) and I promise that the alphabet is BY FAR the easiest part of the language. It takes about a week to learn the alphabet. Here is a list of things that are hundreds of times harder than the alphabet in Arabic:
-Pronunciation -Grammar -Lack of cognates compared to European languages -Extreme dialectualization
The alphabet is less than a drop in the bucket.
I get it, but the majority of users don't have experience with it. They can't make a course for everyone.
It's just a beta version, cut them some slack guys. They're testing the waters. I'm sure in a few months there will be a better brighter version waiting for all of us. We just need to be a bit patient.
your guess is right. there are still more development on the way. Hopefully you will like it.
The Arabic course is really kinda driving me nuts. Yes, I get that it's a "beta" course, but come on. I tested out of the beginner, but I'm still getting beginner stuff (basically just alphabet and the temperature of fish!).
Also, the Egyptian accent is grating. The letter jeem should not be pronounced as though it is the French J.
I really really really wish that Duolingo had NOT gone with an Egyptian accent. Basically anyone with zero exposure to Arabic before this course will think that this is the ONLY way to speak Arabic afterward.
This is sort of like having a Southerner teach ESL.
This is my first exposure to Arabic and I am loving it.
There are a lot of good resources outside of Duolingo to help us along.
I watched a professor talk about the pronunciation of “jeem” ج and he said all 3 are all correct whether gulf, north aftican or cairo https://youtu.be/K83YZYcpExc?t=05m19s
I wouldn't say that all are "correct," since one is a clear mispronunciation of the letter jeem. All are accents, that is for certain.
I grew up in Texas, where people say "aigs" for "eggs," but no one would ever say that it is "correct" to say that. It's merely an accent, and surely a mispronunciation.
Egyptians mispronounce the letter jeem because of French influence. This needs to be discussed. And Duolingo needs to teach proper pronunciation of all Arabic letters for the course to be accurate.
"I really really really wish that Duolingo had NOT gone with an Egyptian accent. Basically anyone with zero exposure to Arabic before this course will think that this is the ONLY way to speak Arabic afterward."
As someone approaching Arabic for the very first time, my assumption is the opposite: Everyone I've ever talked to, and everything I've ever read, has warned me that "Arabic" is about as standarized and consistent across the Arab world as "Romance" is across Europe. Anyone who knows enough about the Middle East to bother attempting even basic Arabic is probably familiar with the endless debates in the Western media over the correct pronunciation of "Qatar" (...or "Qaddafi"... or "Daesh"...), so finding out that ج is pronounced differently elsewhere is the least surprising thing ever.
That said, almost everyone I've talked to about Arabic says Egyptian is the best "default" pronunciation if you don't have any reason to specialize, simply because it's the media powerhouse and everyone can at least kind of understand it. I have zero faith that I will finish even the completed course and walk around Riyadh or Amman or Tunis the same way I can walk around Mexico City or Paris.
I don’t know who thinks that Egyptian is the best accent. Really. I don’t.
That is, not among native Arabic speakers anyways.
And I happen to know LOADS of native Arabic speakers. Being Muslim as I am, I happen to be surrounded by them. Native Arabic speakers from a variety of countries.
Are you as bothered when other dialects shift vowels, or you just specifically dislike Egyptian?
That part does't bother me so much. I bet they will have more accents added to the course in the next course in the next few years -- and yes, accepting that it is kind of like dialects.
I have decided that I will use many sources for Arabic to increase my exposure to different dialects. Something has to be taught so I'll take it!
I understand that people are saying they're okay with the Egyptian dialect and whatnot, but I have to agree that it's still a dialect and that not everyone taking this course will know that. So it causes confusion and after you've learned it you wouldn't want to go back and relearn some new rules, grammar or vocab. I think it would've been better to just stick with MSA, no dialects, from anywhere. Just so that it's easier and learners can get what they want: Understanding/being understood and speaking Arabic everywhere. If everyone's good with the dialect, then the course is a success, as long as they know that what they're learning has some Egyptian (and I think other) accents. Also, if they're putting in the dialects because the developers themselves speak it (so it's not really intentional), then why not accept the request of other people from other regions who are willing and able to translate? There are a lot of people(including myself) that have said on forums that they haven't received a reply for months. I think it would be better if they got more people to work on the course.
"I understand that people are saying they're okay with the Egyptian dialect and whatnot, but I have to agree that it's still a dialect and that not everyone taking this course will know that."
I would have preferred MSA as well, but I would say in response that MSA is also a specific variant of Arabic that is not widely used outside of media and literature, and not everyone would know that. Whether you're in Iraq, or Egypt, or Morocco, I highly doubt that you're going to go somewhere in normal society and encounter people speaking "pure" MSA/Classical Arabic.
The course instructors explicitly said that the grammar is based mainly on MSA, I don't know why the pronunciation they chose is Egyptian. But the point is that no matter what variation they chose, there were going to be large segments of native Arabic speakers who don't speak in the way that the course teaches--including MSA. That's why I'm not really upset about them choosing Egyptian, even though I agree with you that MSA would have been my first choice.
I suspect the reason it is Egyptian accent is because it's just the best they could do. Someone had to do it, and there's always a concept and then an execution of that concept. It's not perfect, but MSA really isn't used like dialects are, so creating material for it would be difficult. I've gone through quite a bit of material from other sources and I find it's all lacking.
They've done a good job. It's a starting place. It will grow from here, I bet it will be closer to an MSA standard at some point.
I am just so happy to have this course, even with all the work it so clearly still needs!
Don't confuse accents with dialects. They are teaching MSA, not the Egyptian dialect.
So far, I have heard alif, and fatHa, pronounced four different ways: ah, eh, ai and, uh which is a bit confusing because I had been under the impression that there was only one way to pronounce them; aah and ah. So, I'm still trying to figure out just why I'm hearing four different sounds e.g. alif sounds like aah after raa, but eeh after baa, daal, and kaaf. But that could also be because of the letters the vowels follow, not just an accent. But, I don't know for sure what's going with that because no developers have talked to us in the lesson discussions about the different pronunciations. I hope someone does, though.
Ineya:, jiim has three different pronunciations depending upon the region. J like in Jack, j like in bonjour, and g like in game. It's not Egypt, from what I've read and been told, that uses the "French J", it's most of the Levant and North Africa. The "g" sound is heard in Egypt. It's Iraq, the Gulf, many rural areas, many Bedouin dialects, and evidently Texas ; ) that use the J as in Jack sound.
Disclaimer: Any errors or omissions are not mine but the fault of the Arabic text book I bought and Arabic speaking friends from my past who done told me so!