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I have taken a few Arabic courses. One where we spent a whole semester learning the alphabet (and real words that use the letters along with their meaning) and an intensive course where we spent one day on the alphabet and then were expected to know and use it the next day. So, I understand that there are a variety of ways to go about teaching it. And, I’m very happy that I took the slow semester learning the alphabet before going to the intensive course.

I tested out of seven skills in the Duolingo course because I know the alphabet. So, why is it that when I am supposedly going to be taught “countries” they are still testing me on the abjad? With nonsense “words” and no context or vocabulary!! If you want to teach the shadda - it’s definitely helpful to show that حَمام with no shadda is pigeon versus حَمَّام with a shadda is bath/bathroom/bath house. And then the pupil can compare the two pronunciations side by side over and over (if they’re particularly tone deaf, like me). But, it seems that the Duolingo course chose not to use this tactic of reinforcing the importance of the various parts of the abjad while also teaching vocab and pronunciation at the same time - killing 3 birds with one stone. Instead, it forces someone that has already demonstrated a grasp of the abjad to beat a dead horse without introducing any new competencies while they’re doing it.

The placement test made me tentatively optimistic that I would at least be using sentences in this Duolingo course. Such is not really the case thus far and I am frankly so frustrated that I am not looking forward to continuing.

July 3, 2019

1 Comment


thank you a lot for your contribution, the course is still in Beta phase. There are so many development to come.

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