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  5. Where to begin?


Where to begin?

Hey everyone.

Im seeking advice from Arabic speakers, whether you are natives or people who have managed to learn Arabic and now speak it.

I've learned some languages up to this point in my life, but because they were Latin script based - with which the whole world for the most part is so familiar with, it might not have been easy, but it did not seem intimidating and just required hard work, passion and dedication.

However when it comes to Arabic - everything is new to me. Reading right to left. A different alphabet which is not remotely similar looking to mine ( Cyrillic ). And from what I can tell the sentence structure is also quite unique.

So my question is - how would you advise going about studying/learning it?

1) Alphabet?

2) Learning how to read?

3) Then working on listening comprehension?

4) Then starting to produce something yourself? (Whether writing or speaking)

Please let me know if this plan makes sense, if you think you have better ideas - or honestly, just any tips at all how to go about learning Arabic in general would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time,


September 23, 2019



I am also a beginner in Arabic and so I'm happy to make your acquaintance. In addition to Duo, I bought a book on Amazon, "The Arabic Alphabet" by Nicholas Awde and Putros Samano. Between the two sources, it's starting to make sense. I wish the (Arabic) fonts on Duo were a bit larger. I'm on a desktop, so I wonder how hard it must be for those ppl on a mobile device. My strategy is to keep a notebook and write down what I'm learning. I can then take that notebook with me during my daily routine and when I have a few free moments, review all my scribbles. I haven't got to speaking any words yet, but when I do, I'll be speaking out loud, not just reading the words. That will help to train the muscles of the mouth to make the correct sounds. I do that now in Spanish and French so I know it works. You do get some strange looks from people at the mall, tho. Anyway, Good Luck and don't give up...


Thanks Ronaldo, happy to make your acquaintance as well! Yeah I am starting with the alphabet right now as well, got a book in a local shop called " The Gateway to Arabic". I feel like im being offensive with my terrible scribbles and pathetic attempts to write this beautiful language haha! Thank you for your response, good luck to you as well!


THanks for the info on the book Gateway to Arabic. I found it on Amazon at a decent price. It has a lot of practice pages for writing and joining letters, also vocabulary and much more. The author, Dr. Imran Hamza Alawiye is an excellent teacher and can be found, in person, on Youtube. He teaches a series of lessons based on his books.


I am an absolute beginner too. I tried different addidional ways to learn better than with duo alone. What helped me most learning to read was a Memrise course called "Learn to read Arabic" . For memorizing the vocabulary I use Anki, another very good App for spaced repetition. I prefer to make my own cards, where I can insert pictures and sound. Duolingo helps me to learn something about the structure of the language. My newest strategy is typing the answers here in Duolingo instead of using the word bank. This last task is not easy at all for me and takes a lot of time, but I learn much more.


Thank you Katharina! I found the Learn to read Arabic on memrise. Will be combining duo with memrise and see where it takes me. Much appreciated!


I try to answer your questions but beware - I'm a beginner myself. I took a one year course at my home town but the pace was very, very slow. Sometimes it was frustrating because it took so long but it helped a lot to go that slow. We started with the alphabet and writing - only five letters per week, but all the forms (beginning of a word, middle, end, single). I used different apps for this and practised a lot by hand. In addition we learnt to speak some sentences like "my name is ... I am from" to practice speaking - and to stay motivated, because it was really frustrating how hard the alphabet was! My teacher told us that it's relatively easy to learn just speaking but we would deeply regret it later.

The course was helpful (alas, it did not continue) for learning how to read the alphabet and simple words. Nevertheless, Duolingo is great for repetition and it can probably also teach you the alphabet? Just keep in mind: it's a long way. Stay motivated. Maybe find some youtube Videos teaching you the first basic sentences and words and try to write them. And absolutely use the Memrise Course in addition to Duolingo - I learn the new words with that app first, then I do a new lesson here. Otherwise new grammar and new words are a bit too much for me.

Good luck and have fun with the challenge!


Gotchu Emma. Thank you for your response. I will keep watching some youtube channels for advices and basic lessons. Maybe you've heard of them, but just in case I'll mention them - Arabic Mike, a great guy speaking amazing Arabic, sharing all kinds of interesting facts about the Arab world . And learn Arabic with Maha, havent seen much of her videos yet, but heard a recommendation about her channel, so I will give it a go. Thanks again and good luck to you too!


In my eyes, this following series of 6 lessons is the best place to learn alphabet plus read and write.







She is a great teacher to study from - and in just a few days I learned all the alphabet. And she has many more lessons that could help you along the way.

Then, go on with Doulingo and enjoy learning!


Thank you Tzif Tzuf! Shukran jazilan!


“Teach Yourself Beginners Arabic Script” by John Mace is good. It discusses printing, handwriting, and pronunciation. Not very big, not expensive, but full of information.

Mango Languages is another app and website. They are one of my favorites for listening to pronunciation. They have 4 different dialects of Arabic to choose from.

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.