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Arabic course needs improvement

I love Duolingo and it has helped me so much, but as someone who studies Arabic at university and was extremely excited for this course to come out, it is a huge disappointment. Why am I still practicing letters so many lessons in? I know many other people have the same issue with the course. My suggestion is that the Arabic course should follow the Hebrew one- they are both Semitic languages with different alphabets. The Hebrew course has the three first lessons focusing on letters and then you can move on to more advanced material. With the Arabic course I find myself wasting time and not learning anything new, which is a pity. I know Arabic is viewed as more difficult, but even just using the Hebrew course as a general outline would improve the course and make it much more effective for learners as well as enjoyable. ​The Hebrew course and many others are fantastic and I know that Duolingo has the ability to make the Arabic course just as great. I hope there is an update soon! :) (I didn't know where else to post this) Edit: I know that learning the alphabet can be a bit tricky at first and of course you need time and repetition to learn it; my issue is with it being even in the last lessons of the skill tree. As @colornbian mentioned, it would be good to have a course that is a compromise between the Hebrew and the Arabic one- focusing on the new alphabet more than the Hebrew course which went too fast, but move faster than the Arabic course. For anyone learning the letters- LearnArabicwithMaha and ArabicPod101 on Youtube helped me quite a bit; maybe they will help you too. Good luck everyone!

August 16, 2019



I am quite happy with the course the way it is but I would like it longer, preferably much longer. I have only one skill left and just feel as if I am getting going. I don't mind the repetition of the letter exercises because I want to be able to sight read fluently so they need to become as familiar as roman letters. I have learned them several times in the past but they didn't stick very well. I have the feeling that this time they will be firmly embedded. There are so many combinations of unfamiliar sounds that extra help is very welcome.


I completely get where you're coming from. But a lot of us already know how to read arabic fluently from the Quran. An option to turn off the letter exercises would be a really easy solution to implement. They just don't do it because the forums are ignored.


I agree, that it might be a little bit boring at the beginning - there is a big emphasis on learning the alphabet first. Presumably there is a close relationship between Hebrew and Arabic(?). I do not know Hebrew but I can compare the Arabic with the Chinese course (also with a character set completely different from the latin one). The Chinese course offers nothing regarding the basics of characters, but how can you learn (to read and write) a language if you don't know the characters? I prefer the way how it is done in the Arabic course. Usually in Duolingo you can test your language skills and start on a higher level and if you already know some Arabic this might an option for you ("Test out ... skills").


I know the letters are different and of course beginners need to learn and get used to them, my issue is that even after "testing out ... skills" and moving forward I am still met with basic material, being learning the letters. I do think that this is good for beginners, but I don't think this course isn't suitable for anyone beyond the beginners level, unlike some other courses on here. Anyway, I wish you lots of luck with Arabic! :)


Thank you but I know Arabic and I would like to learn more only ..... There are also several sites to learn the letters until mastery in the Arabic language. Good luck


This is my problem as well. Adding an option to turn those exercises off would be great.


You can't do that for Arabic. The only way to test out of all the skills which teach the alphabet is to test out of the entire course.

I have now managed to unlock everything up to "Picture 2" and it is still teaching the alphabet. That's the 27th skill and there are only 4 more skills left.


Good luck. I am an Arab, so I can finish all the skills, but I want to learn more


I hope there can be some sort of compromise—as someone who studied Arabic in university, but had no experience with Hebrew before Duolingo, I find that the Arabic course is much too slow, but the Hebrew course was too fast for me. I do not feel that I can recall the sounds of Hebrew letters, except for maybe 5 or so, whereas I came in knowing how to read and write in Arabic, so the Arabic course feels painfully slow


For me as a complete beginner the course is not easy at all. Maybe the course is not meant for people who have learned Arab already at an university! I must admit that all the matching the pairs exercises get boring for me too. But maybe it is the only possibility to get used to the new alphabet.


I 100% agree. I also came into this course already knowing the Arabic letters and their sounds. I don’t get why they’re still being taught so deep into the course. It feels like a waste of time. There should be a way to test out of it.

Another major disappointment is that it seems like the course is teaching Egyptian rather than standard Arabic. What’s the point of learning a dialect before learning the standard? It’d be like learning British English slang before learning standard English. The standard should be taught first and the grammar and vocabulary in this course should reflect that. Otherwise they should at least warn you from the start that this is Egyptian Arabic because it can create problems later for those of us that desire to study the classical ‘fusha’ Arabic when we have to unlearn the things we thought were correct from this Duolingo Arabic course.


I don't think that's on purpose. I think that's because the volunteers who are helping make the course are from Egypt. So it seems to be influencing the way the write MSA. But I've experimented with writing my answers in Egyptian, MSA, Syrian. It accepts any answer I've tried as long as it was grammatically correct.


as a beginneer in arabic (outside of knowing a random handful of words due to friends), i find the emphasis on alphabet really helpful. it's so different from the latin alphabet


I like the Arabic course. People like me need a lot of time to learn the alphabet. Of course it would be nice to have new lessons at the level the advanced students need, and I hope to be able to learn those new lessons in due time, too.


i like the Arabic course as well. And wow, you've already reached level 24 in Arabic course. cool.


Use Madinah Arabic for grammar. Free MSA course


I agree with many of the comments that have been left. I am completely thrilled that Duolingo has finally added Arabic. I think it was a long time coming. (Hoping for Persian still!) I'm glad for the course, but I just hope they add more skills. I'm sure that will depend on things like the volunteers they have working on the course and how well the public receives the course. Also, I agree with the comments about taking tips from the Hebrew course. I speak Arabic. I don't speak Hebrew. But I've done a few of the introductory skills in Hebrew and the way they build up your skills quickly is very interesting. I think the Arabic course could definitely adopt some things from it.


I absolutely agree with you. Whenever I'm progressing, I'm getting exited more and more about the topics but eventually I'm disappointing because of the alphabet exercises over and over.


I am also disappointed that after all the alphabet practice I've done, I still have no idea what I'm saying, for the most part. Yes, I know how to say the word "and", a few names of countries, and a few people's names, but certainly some of these early words must have meanings. For example, Bakar, Kabaj, Duud, etc. sound interesting but what do they mean?


I am pretty sure those words are names.


I'm so excited to just to learn the alphabet. Where I live, Arabic is used a great deal and I would like to be able to start reading the language.


I felt so excited when I was able to read my first Arabic word in a random setting- I just learned the alphabet and the word was chocolate, quite a universal word, and it was written on some menu. I suppose in the original post I should have clarified that it isn't a great course for anyone who has been studying for a longer time/someone who is beyond the beginner's level. Anyway, it just came out and I am sure there will be many improvements coming to this course. I am still very grateful for Arabic being introduced to Duolingo and that it is helping so many people learn this beautiful language. Also- you might like to check out the Youtube channels LearningArabicWithMaha and/or ArabicPod101; they helped me when I began learning Arabic and still help me today. All the best!


I really recommend what I did!! Since I'm doing this outside University hours I gave myself as much time as I wanted and what I did was learn a new letter for each day at least 15 minutes. So day 1 I learned alif, day 2 I reviewed alif and learned ba, day 3 I reviewed alif and ba and learned ta, et cetera... On days I felt more confident I even learned 2 new letters instead of 1 new letter but never more then that in order to prioritize reviewing what I learned. It really helped and although the hand movements and handwriting are really awkward at first, after a while it gets a lot better and feels more natural :)

The only downside is it takes around a month until you get to all the letters...


The thing is, most things that are written in Arabic like news articles text messages don't use the vowels. So even if you could read Arabic, you wouldn't be able to really sound out the words unless you know them by heart. That's why everyone is so frustrated with this course; because reading is something you progress with your speaking skills in Arabic and not separately.


I'm working through now, the alphabet revision has been very useful for me although it is a bit too repetitive. I am using Duolingo in conjunction with another app that teaches vocabulary but not the alphabet so the combination has worked well. But I'm disturbed to read that it still has alphabet drills near the end, I would like to get more vocabulary and a bit more grammar. Still I am enjoying the course, it's encouraged me to do much more Arabic than I would have done and I like the fact it has an emphasis on Egyptian Arabic. Of course I think ideally you need a setting for the dialects. Anyway thanks to those who have created it and I hope it goes on to intermediate as I think I'll finish in a few weeks.


I'm looking for much more vocabulary. What other app are you using?


I couldn't agree more. The course is essentially teaching the alphabet, not the language, and nobody seems to care!


Well actually I am nearly finishing it and I am quite surprised : although I already knew quite a bit of Arabic, I managed to learn quite a lot of other things. The only down I would mention is that some "Tips and notes" are missing... UPDATE - Just 'conquered the skill tree'


IMO they should just do Alphabet 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and then get into words. I'm pretty deep into the lessons and I feel like I've only learned a few words. "Description 2" is really Alphabet 4. I have no idea why what I'm learning has anything to do with descriptions. Same for countries. No idea what any of the stuff means but I can sure read it.


Do you know when the update is coming for Arabic? I just completed the course today and it covers only very basic words and grammar. They need to add more advanced content to this course.


А по мне вполне нормальное количество уроков на буквы. Я буквы знал и раньше, но все равно есть какая-то задержка между взглядом на слово и тем, как быстро начнешь его произносить. В других языках этой задержки практически нет. Буду стараться ее минимизировать. Ну, а если кому-то количество заданий представляется чрезмерным, то ведь можно просто пройти по одному разу и двигаться дальше. Как-то так... :)


Здравствуйте .... Арабский очень легко, не так, как некоторые думают, когда вы учитесь произносить буквы в состоянии легко учиться, как я ......... Удачи


I completely agree. I came to Duolingo to learn and practice Arabic while it was in the incubator. But after doing the knowledge test, I unlocked almost the whole tree and the part of the tree that was left was still below my level.

But to be fair, Duolingo only provides the basics for a language so my opinion is kind of biased.


I finished the whole in the afternoon of the day it came out!


So at the end of the course you're still learning letters? If you make a skill test in the beginning, shouldn't you skip the letters and go right to sentences instead?


It probably has to do with the fact that the Arabic abc has "different shapes" costumed to where they are in a word so you need more practice on it for people who don't know them well enough. That way they can learn to recognise what are the same letters if they didn't check it out by themselves (but I do agree it's kinda annoying and overly stalling since I do actually know the letters)


It is essentially the whole course. If someone already knows the alphabet, there is next to zero new stuff in the course for them to learn. Assume an English speaker opens the Spanish course but is taught the Latin alphabet from beginning to the end, without any real "language" lesson.


Thank you for summing up all aspects of the new Arabic course. I am really hoping there will be a one level up course soon. The funny thing is: I was very irritated by the reading repetitions, but I found out that I still learn subtle differences by listening to the pronounciation. And one request. Could the arabic words be slighy bigger please?


I just started the Arabic course and I find the repetition of letters very helpful reinforcement, so far. As someone who knows a lot of Hebrew and a few Arabic words and phrases (but does not know Arabic writing at all), I would say that the Arabic alphabet is much harder to learn than the Hebrew one. Arabic letters are different depending on where they are in the word, which, for me, anyway, makes it harder. That is not the case with Hebrew.


I wish it could be replaced by meaningfull words. So you'll be learning at least something, not just "english transcription".


I have passed the 2rd checkpoint and I'm getting meaningfull words in the transliteration tasks :-D This should have been from the first checkpoint.


Yes here Arabic is boring


I'm not finding it boring. I just wish there was more information given about the Arabic letters, and real words instead of sounds and names of people.


Just finished the course in level 5.

  1. I wish there was a way to limit the questions types to listening and translating instead of writing/reading.
  2. I felt the vocabulary is limited and the pair matching was indeed boring but that's probably becauae i was looking to learn everything but letters :)
  3. On the other hand maybe MSA is just not the right option if you care about spoken arabic only

Looking forward to more content!


I think you can change that in the settings.


I disagree with the mentality that practicing the alphabet gets frustrating when you're deep in. It's always a good thing that you practice the alphabet. If the alphabet was only confined to the first alphabet tree, think of how hard the trees to come would have been!

Practice makes perfect, and since the Arabic alphabet can be very difficult to learn at first, practice is ALWAYS helpful.


Hey! I disagree, and my reasoning is- if you're studying Arabic, you are constantly practicing the alphabet. However, you are practicing the alphabet with new material- new grammar, new vocab, whatever else. Once you know the alphabet and keep studying, there is no way to forget it because you will always be in touch with it (unlike some grammar or vocabulary which you can easily avoid). Also, about your last sentence- while you are still just learning the alphabet, of course you have to practice. However, once you know it you simply know it and you will gain an even better understanding for it using it in context or practical usage. Hope this makes sense, but of course, feel free to disagree. :)


The course so far is really good, so tops off to the contributors, but I feel it's still quite basic (4 sections as opposed to other languages which boast 8-10). Does anybody know whether there are any updates in the pipeline? It'd be nice to get a few lessons on broken plural formation and verbs.

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