I completed the Arabic course in 35 days!
I have just completed the Duolingo Arabic course (11804 XP) in 5 weeks, and I would like to share my experience in case there are others looking to binge.
Firstly, it's worth mentioning that I previously had very little knowledge of Arabic. I had started to learn the alphabet and its variations back in June last year, but I ended up busy and didn't stick to it. So, heading into this, I didn't really have a jump start or anything that would otherwise benefit me.
I had also never used Duolingo for any other language before. This was my first ever course.
Secondly, my goal was to get used to reading and recognising Arabic, rather than using Duolingo to memorise phrases or "learn how to speak Arabic". Personally, I felt it would be useless to learn phrases or study it without knowing how it looks in native form, and so first of all I wanted to master the reading/writing of it. For me, this was the first hurdle (and a big one!).
So, to be clear, I did not expect Duolingo to really teach me anything except how the language looks. I decided I would essentially burn the letters/words into my brain so I could read them, write them and pronounce them at a glance.
I got hooked. Immediately.
I spent 1-2 hours a day on the app. I always felt like I was making huge leaps forward in my understanding of the language, and throughout the course I noted some of the things I learned. Some days, I would power through the lessons just as they are on the App. Sometimes, I would repeat the phrases aloud, and other times I would re-write them from memory in a notebook (a big A4 one... which I've nearly filled just from this course!).
I understand that most people think retention will suffer if you speed through a learning course like this. I agree - if you're discussing the retention of phrases/vocabulary. But I believe the way I condensed the learning and almost obsessed over it for a month has well and truly burned the alphabet, it's pronunciation, the effects of its fat-has and dommas etc., and even a lot of how the grammar works into my brain. I don't think I will ever forget how to read or write Arabic. It was intense.
I also really enjoyed writing/repeating the phrases rather than just half paying attention to the lessons in the App. I would recommend doing this to anybody who is attempting to start to learn Arabic.
The app is incredibly efficient at making you want to continue learning it. Its leader boards - for someone like me - truly made me want to win each week and I often learned a lot extra just due to this. The reminders work well too, and the fact that it's so easily accessible whether you're at home, on a train or walking somewhere, really helped drill it in for me.
Overall - I am beyond satisfied with my experience of Arabic on Duolingo. It made learning easy and pretty much ensured that I was thinking about the language at any given moment.
I will continue to learn Arabic with other sources, such as textbooks, podcasts and online videos. I did not expect Duolingo to teach me much vocab, but according to the app I have learned 1,000 words of the language (probably half of which I remember and could recite... for now).
I think it is absolutely useless for learning Arabic on its own. I would not recommend doing the course if you expect to be fluent - or even slightly capable of speaking it - from Duolingo alone. And that's without taking dialects into account.
Just by speeding through the course, I absorbed handfuls of Arabic grammar rules that I didn't expect to, and I can now write full sentences that I come up with in my head. Again, that's from Duolingo alone.
Duolingo will help you become very capable of reading and writing Arabic if you take the time to read it aloud yourself, repeat phrases and write stuff down. I expect if you do nothing but power through the lessons, you will learn almost precisely nothing.
Criticisms: One last thing - I had ONE single part of a lesson, ONE tiny exercise on writing Arabic myself, with the Arabic keyboard. It made me construct a sentence from English completely from scratch. I don't know why this was the only one as it would've been great practise to have more of these - but, for me, it didn't matter because I was writing it by hand anyway. Would be a good addition though.
One day, it would be great to have speaking exercises like on the Spanish one (or so I've heard) where you have to talk into the app. That would be useful, but again for me it made no difference.
If anyone has any other questions, please be sure to contact me or respond to this. I had a great time and I recommend it as a starting exercise for anybody who's experiencing Arabic for the very first time.
I finished it yesterday, although not to five crowns. I have a mixture of 4, 3, and 2 crowns in my tree. Mostly 4 near the top to sections, 3 in the third, and 2 in the lowest section.
I downloaded an arabic keyboard, but it takes me a loooooooong time to type anything because I haven't figured where all the letters are. I have a little chart on the desktop that I use as a cheat sheet.
It has been helpful, but the arabic course is very short--much shorter than most of the other courses I'm doing on duolingo. I expect that it will be improved and lengthened in time.
Re: the keyboard thing - that's what I mean in my post about getting more typing exercises! It would be great practise to be able to type out sentences. I literally only had one very brief exercise that asked me to do so.
Indeed, it's certainly not a completed course but I found it helpful nonetheless. If nothing else, it was the daily reminders + bitesize lessons that kept me going, even if the lessons weren't hugely useful themselves.
I disagree with your not-recommending it. I think it's useful in its own way, even if just as an alternative source to something else. It's an app that keeps you keen to continue learning, with bitesize lessons that let you spend 3 minutes or 2 hours on the app. I think if you do this course but with your own take on it - e.g. I wrote down a lot of the lessons. I closed my eyes and listened to the Arabic speech and wrote the words out that I heard, etc. - then it can be more useful. But that's just how I learn best. It's a good introduction in my opinion, but it will not help with speaking the language!
good review, i completed Arabic Golden Tree in my first14 days, must admit I was doing it quite compulsively :P, I can't wait for Duo to add more. for now I feel confident with reading but I realise it's just a tip of an iceberg, I dowlnoaded the app years ago looking for Arabic with no success this time I was after Spanish and it was the best suprise to see Arabic in here. I can't wait for any extentions