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Arabic course is awful

The Arabic course not only is not good but actually it is AWFUL and I'll tell you why.

Duolingo focused too much on the Arabic script and pronunciation. it should focus more on Language structure and new words.

Someone who is trying to learn Arabic using Duolingo have to spend 60 percent of the time on learning sounds and pronunciation and scripts. and I'm telling you, it is boring! you have to do really ridiculous exercises over and over again just to learn "how Duolingo use English to write Arabic!! "

And one more thing to assure you that this course has nothing to teach you (or at least not enough): I finished Arabic course easily (got through all checkpoints) , simply because I know some primary words and know how to pronounce Arabic words!

Make something like French course. It's Perfect. Or like Chinese. i'm sure that Arabic Script isn't harder then Chinese!

September 13, 2019



I understand it would be discouraging for new learners but I really wish they had put all the writing lessons at the very beggining so people who can already read could just skip them. Hopefully the future modules won't have any.


I think the Arabic course is bad. One bad thing that stands out immediately to me is the lack of consistency with pronunciation. The letter ج has 3 different pronunciations that I've heard in the Duolingo course. I've heard it as the MSA way, sounds like "j" in "just". This is the way it should be taught. I assume the Duolingo course is supposed to be MSA (Modern Standard Arabic). But I've also heard it pronounced like "je" in french and even crazier as "g" as in "good". This is the Egyptian Arabic pronunciation. This sound is not in MSA. If I hadn't studied Arabic before this would be extremely confusing. I think there are some dialect pronunciations within the audio of the course. It should all be MSA in my opinion. If Duolingo wants to make Arabic dialect lessons that would be awesome but to fold it into the MSA is a bad idea and very confusing for people learning.


I was sure that they are going to add new skills soon, but they got the Arabic course out of beta so early. I know that they will probably add skills anyway, but I really don't like the fact that they felt confident enough in the course to take it out of the Beta. I am, however, still thankful to the contributors.


Yes, as I keep on saying this tree is a trainwreck. I already gave it up. Also, the creators of the course are mysteriously missing, which doesn't give me hope that the course will ever be improved.


Agreed, this is a terrible course. The alphabet learning is the worst I have ever seen. No past or future tenses are taught. Many of the sentences are nonsensical, I recall being asked to translate a sentence saying something like, "my bag is in her lion"

This course should be removed and revised to at least the French course quality. Why is the disparity in quality between different languages so large?


I am not a native speaker, but I can read and understand Modern Standard Arabic rather well. This was not how I was taught. We went straight to the script and sounds, sorted that out and then started in on complete sentences totally in Arabic without the silly Anglicized transcriptions. I remember the first one we learned: The Bedu live in the desert and travel from place to place looking for water. That was cool. That was a good start.
I am not paid to be critical but there is a lot of room for improvement in the Arabic program.


Where did you learn Arabic from?


I actually think it is rather good. I have lived and worked in an Arabic speaking countries for a long time. Many years ago I taught myself the script and I could communicate on a very basic level. In recent years having moved to a more developed Arabic speaking country, much to my shame, my Arabic has shrunk to a few stock phrases and I have forgotten the script. I have found that the approach taken on the duolingo course has helped me to retrieve some of the Arabic I had forgotten and I'm sure in the long run it will improve it. I've only been studying it for a week, so it is early days, but so far, I am impressed.


"The Arabic course not only is not good but actually it is AWFUL"

Not only do I not agree, I don't see that you've justified either using the word 'awful' or capitalizing it.


Fair enough. sorry 'bout that! maybe I just expect much more from Duolingo.


Nothing wrong with that :)


As someone who had 0 experience with the language (FR native), the beginning was painful, but necessary. I like the approach they took, but once again I have 0 idea if it'll be enough. I'm looking forward to see if they'll increase the quantity of new words per course as we progress. My only concern as pointed out is, what are we learning ? Is it MSA, is it a mix of dialects ?

I also wonder why there is so much difference between Duolingo and Google Translate. Google translate offers a "popularity" / "frequency" factor and some of the words taught don't seem to be really used.

In any case, I'm glad Duolingo is offering the course, and hopefully it'll improve thanks to the feedback.


I agree with you. But for a beginner who knows nothing about Arabic sounds a time of 3 to 6 months is logical to learn how to read and write and pronounce Arabic sounds. This tree is in beta and since it not full it should be longer and more difficult than the German tree for instance, considering grammar and declension system etc. Arabic is a difficult language including the sounds and the alphabet for sure. I guess one of the most difficult ones.


I agree with you. Before I started the Arabic course I didn't know anything about Arabic and the repeating things over and over again helps.


I kinda agree, from the first 2 chapters I tryed. There are some easy things that would improve it a lot from my point of view. Starting with the alphabet chapter, it assumes that you are not yet familiar with the new letters. Therefore I think it would make sense to use a larger font for the Arabic words, that you are supposed to translate into English. The task translate is bold, black and in larger letters while the still unfamiliar words to be translated, are not bold, smaller font, orange and in the corner. This could e.g. be optimized fairly easy.


I completely agree. I'm passionate about learning Arabic and was super excited for its release on Duolingo, but so far it's just been too boring to motivate me. I learned more about pronounciation and writing the alphabet from a short YouTube video. For now, I'm learning elsewhere.


Can you share where you are studying? I have about a month to go to finish duolingo and I am looking for the next place...


Hi, For me the Arabic Course is great and even makes me happy. I was so afraid ,lacking a good visual memory, that my efforts in learning the Arabic Alphabet might easily fail. But no, I am after about one year able to read lyrics of songs and listen to music ( the way I love best to practice a language) , learning or strengthening vocabulary by using the English translation . ( I like to copy each Arabic sentence of a song next to its English counter part in a new column on an excel file which enables to write the new words with their translation in new columns, all in the same line. I am enthusiastic enough to do so without getting bored, because thanks to Duo I am "living" the progress. ) Before Duo I started a course for conversation only. But it's a great help to identify each letter with its sound, and to improve your pronunciation constantly If your native language is not directly related to Arabic it takes some more time to master a conversation in the case that you study a language that is much similar to your native one. Regarding Arabic there are totally new grammar patterns you have to cope with.

Of course there is always place for improvement, even so Duo is a great and much recommended way to learn easily and ensure progress. I by example would like to learn more verbs at an earlier phase. Here and there are some mistakes with sounds, but this is really negligent. MANY THANKS to all who created and continue creating Duolingo. Each language and community is a fascinating adventure which anyone can take part in . It's free and "digestable" even after long working hours.


I completely agree. I had been very excited for the Arabic course to be released and I was rather disappointed when it finally came out, as by that point I already knew the script and a lot of basic vocabulary. I'm sure they'll improve it a lot though in future course updates.


I hope so. My real intention was to let Duolingo know that Arabic course is not good and try to do better, and of course share my experiences with others.


I agree, I for one speak Arabic and I tried this to see how well it is, trust me, it's terrible. I speak 5 different dialects and this doesn't help with people learning more than one type.


I totally agree. You don’t actually learn any words for a ridiculously long time in each lesson - alphabet recognition just repeats and repeats. It’s crap.


I agree. It’s terrible. I’ve studied Arabic before but this course is useless. Someone who has never studied it before would never learn the meaning of any of the words they are saying.


I am still trying Arabic on duolingo, but I am also very disappointed. Sometimes the audio is not clear, or missing, the Arabic words are way too small to see, the sentences to translate are too long, and make no sense at all. I can say that I haven't learned one word yet, and can only "read" two or three letters in Arabic.


I definitely agree, I've wanted to learn Arabic for ages for words/phrases but non-stop learning of the alphabet before you can get to this is incredibly boring. Maybe there should be two separate courses; speaking and listening OR reading and writing.


I completely agree. I don’t have a problem with the focus on alphabet and phonetics but I do have a problem with the content. For some reason the creators are obsessed with the word “weird” and stick it in every sentence. Where on earth am I going to use sentences like “A weird French queen”, “A weird American university”, “Judy is a weird doctor”, “Arwa is a weird engineer”. Don’t they know there are other adjectives out there?


I haven't tried this course. But the examples you are giving may not be so much about trying to teach people the word "weird". They may just be helping people learn the sentence structure of Arabic, as they will recognise the word weird in different places depending on the context.


I kind of like it.


I would love it if DuoLingo included short stories in Arabic like they do for the Spanish course and made it longer. Because the Arabic course is so short, I did not pay for the Plus level.


I love Duolingo. Many thanks for the course. But like Marilyn would much appreciate short stories in Arabic. Please, please!


Honestly, I was happy that they finally added Arabic, but I was annoying to go over learning the alphabet when I already knew it. They should have done what they've already done in the Hebrew lessons


But it is good for beginners


I agree with you. As I think, just exchange the language of the English course for Arabic speaker to replace this one will be even better


Irish fella here. I have been on-off learning Arabic via the app now since December, and I am happy with my progress. Happy as it’s fun and I can notice my learning curve tighten as time goes on. To be honest I’m only doing it for fun, so I guess it depends what you really want out of it. It’s probably nothing perfect but watching tv and hearing words and phrases I recognise, or seeing words in various mediums in real life and recognising them and understanding them, I get excited. It’s such a treat and a privilege to be able to learn a language for free, especially this one which seems worlds apart from anything I knew before. It’s not perfect but I love it


I am happy with the course. My knowledge of the letters was close to zero. So for me the repetitions are helpful. I too was a bit surprised about the word weird appearing a lot. Not so politically nice word. But it is interesting and challenging re pronunciation, re composition of sounds.


Not to mention it doesn't really sound like the pronunciations are even correct, at least from what the tips menu says it should be. It keeps pronouncing words that DUOLINGO ITSELF says should be pronounced "wii" as "waah"


As someone who doesn't speak a lick of Arabic I'm worried because it's not like I have any background in the language so I wouldn't be able to tell when something is off which seems to happen quite a lot ...


I find the whole thing very discouraging. I have been doing it for some time now, and I can't say hello; I can't say sorry; I can't say thank you. I can say 'Riga and Baku' though. And 'amazing fish'.


i know right..... started a year ago and lost interest pretty past. For someone who knows the arabic alphabet, its pretty worthless


When do you think they will update the current content and add more materials to the course?


When will there be short stories in Arabic? That will be great. I love Duo. Arabic is a challenging language, and thanks to Duo I make progress and enjoy. I also ( like Marilyn) loved the Spanish short stories, which were done smartly and should for beginners perhaps include transciption, as well as the Arabic letters.


This course is frustrating for those of us who already know Arabic script. Even more frustrating is that a very small amount of useful vocabulary is interspersed within lessons otherwise completely devoted to learning the script. If someone wishes to review that vocabulary, they will need to endure a review that is 90% reading/transcribing exercises. There is no motivation to go back and do that. I have not moved past level one for any of the modules because they are mostly useless for me. The limited practical vocabulary is not worth the effort of going back. I only hope that it will be reintroduced later in the course.

Now I am approaching the second checkpoint, and still, almost all of the exercises are on learning the script.


The beginning is a necessity for Arabic.


"you have to do really ridiculous exercises over and over again just to learn "how Duolingo use English to write Arabic!! " I couldn't put this in better words! They should AT LEAST show the meaning of the words. Could be that Duo ignores the value of learn vocabulary?


As of 2021, it’s still terrible. A lesson asked me to translate “Omar is Arab” into Arabic. So I said “عمر عربي”. It got marked wrong because it had got any accents on it. Honestly, this course can f**king do one


Looking to learn arabic any recommendations or where i should do so?

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