Incubator : Arabic
A request for all native speakers of arabic language , please apply to add ARABIC in incubator , so we can help extand the qualities of this website and help people to learn a proper arabic .
The Arabic team wrote in the incubator page:
Arabic for English Speakers. For the moment, the team’s efforts are focused towards the current course graduation from beta, before which exists no will to commence another course, to prevent any disperse in efforts, and to maintain the best quality. We are, as you all are, enthusiastic to start an Arabic for English speakers course, but please be patient, for there is a season for all things.
You've got to know which Arabic dialect you want, though. I don't know Arabic, but I've heard that many of the dialects have wide differences and while they are somewhat mutually intelligible, the differences are enough that some speakers cannot understand speakers of other dialects.
MSA is supposed to be the international standard, but it is not spoken, only written. Quranic is extinct and is like reading Middle English. Egyptian is widespread, but not universal. The remainder only service a small area.
I'd like to learn Arabic because of the number of Arabic-speaking people at my university, but I wouldn't even know where to begin!
Yes there are different dialects of the Arabic language, to each country its own dialect. But the language taught here on Duolingo does not belong to any of them, it unites them. So even if there are multiple dialects but what the Duo course will teach you is going to be understood by all the Arabic-speaking countries :)
I've been learning MSA and some Iraqi Arabic. It seems that most Arabs understand MSA (since it is used in television) however, if I want to actually speak with an Arab, I have to speak in the local tongue in which they were born into or would they just switch to MSA? Is it normal for, as an example, an Algerian and a Syrian to speak with each other in MSA?
Classical Arabic is used almost strictly as a religious language only. Only the Quran and ancient Arabic poetry actually use it. It’s like Middle English, I guess. English speakers can understand it to a certain degree, but they don’t necessarily speak it fluently. You would just sound weird speaking Classical Arabic out of context, honestly. I suggest learning it only if you want to learn how to read the Quran or research Arabic poetry.
Firstly, Duolingo didn't mention Classical Arabic as the language of its upcoming course, rather Modern Standard Arabic (or Standard Arabic). There are differences between the two varieties which you can research.
Second, the standard variety of Arabic (commonly referred to as MSA, or fus'ha in Arabic) is not only used in religious contexts as CieSteam mentioned. It is used across more than 21 countries in the Middle East and north Africa and in various domains such as news broadcasts, books, novels, most political sermons, religious sermons, documentaries, brochures, street signs, some TV programs and interviews, children cartoons, some films and TV series etc. The standard variety is the variety we study at school from a young age so everyone across the Arab world is familiar with it.
When it comes to learning the language by non-native speakers (e.g. westerners) my personal experience as a teacher is that students find it easier to first learn the standard variety and then learn the dialect(s) they're interested in (if any). Standard Arabic is a good base to start and acquiring a foundation and a level of competency in it is necessary for the learner of the language.
One important issue to bear in mind when one suggests teaching a colloquial/local variety is: What variety are you going to teach? Some may be interested in Darija/Moroccan, others in Egyptian, which is a lot more popular throughout the Arab world predominantly due to the popularity of Egyptian media, others in the Levant dialects, or the Khaliji ones, or perhaps the Iraqi dialect etc! So which one are you going to offer?
For all the above reasons it is always good to start with MSA, the standard and literary variety. Any Arabic language program outside the Arab world usually offers MSA as a start and may later have openings for local dialects. I think it would be wise of Duolingo to follow suit.
It is important to point out here that the variations between MSA and colloquial dialects are not as vast as one may think! They mainly lie in pronunciation and vocabulary. These are easily learnt and picked up once one becomes familiar with standard Arabic.
I didn't say Egyptian, I said Egyptian Arabic. If they had MSA wouldn't they have the flag of Arab League which is used in some language teaching websites to indicate that they teach MSA. So if they teach MSA why would they have the Egyptian flag ? That would be quite confusing I think.
The question is, which variety. Arabic has many dialects and each has notable differences in phonology and even syntax. That may make them even unintelligible (it's noted that the Maghrebi - West African - dialects and the Gulf dialects are very different).
There is a common "Modern Standard" Arabic which has remained more or less unchanged from the Holy Qur'an to the Umayyad and Abbasid eras to our times, but while that is the standard register taught in schools, it is not spoken as widely. Think of colloquial English vs. the kind of English you see in Dickens' novels. Or if you're South Asian like me, you can think of colloquial Hindi/Urdu as opposed to Shuddh Hindi or Khalis Urdu (pure/literary Hindi or Urdu) which illustrates the difference better because of the absence of loanwords, which are a point of difference also among the Arabic varieties.