One thing I appreciate about the net is that people are always compiling lists to share their experiences and help others find (or avoid!) certain tools and sites. With that spirit in mind, I thought I’d jot down some services I’ve come across so far on my journey to learning Arabic (and wow, it is such a long road).
With no further ado, here’s my must-have list:
- Arabic Pod: This excellent and gratis podcast, run by Mohamed Moshaya and Ehab Saleh out of London, offers regular audio lessons for beginner, lower-, and upper-intermediate speakers. It has been my favorite language companion so far because Mohamed and Ehab have a wonderful delivery and knack for explaining tricky grammar and phrases. They alternate lessons between classical Arabic and colloquial, and their website features transcripts of their lessons, videos, and more at a reasonable price. I really appreciate these guys — shukran!
- Alkitaab Podcasts: Jeremy’s an American grad student who’s put together a series of podcasts to accompany the ubiquitous Al-Kitaab textbooks (which btw is also a great site, for those advanced enough to decipher the syllabi). In Jeremy’s Alkitaab podcasts, he walks through each page and exercise in the famous textbook and explains the questions and provides example answers. It’s a really helpful homework complement.
- Alkitaab Audio: Speaking of the glorious textbook Al-Kitaab, San Francisco State University offers the audio, re-recorded by their own native speakers, so you don’t have to buy/burn the Al-Kitaab DVD. The sound quality isn’t as good, and having the original DVD is actually really beneficial, but in a crunch, or for data exportability, use SFSU’s audio as a solid fix.
- Al Jazeera’s Children Channel: You can watch and read plenty of things in Arabic on this channel’s website. The content is geared towards kids, so it’s colorful and interactive, and therefore good for people wanting to learn the language.
- Arabic Internet Radio: Plenty of the links are broken, but you can still find some streams from radio stations in Lebanon, Tunisia, the UAE, and elsewhere.
- Yamli.com: Arabic transliteration can be hard, especially when you’re new to the language. This search engine suggests Arabic spellings as you type and brings you results usings several orthographic variations.
- Nice Translator: This service builds upon Google Translate, but gives it a much better interface and immediate as-you-type translations. You can also set it up to translate into several different languages at once.
Update: An absolute gem for free Arabic tutorials can be found at Learn Arabic Online. It contains a real wealth of material, including audio lectures, conjugation charts, grammar study sheets, writing guides, history, and heaps more. I’m also very impressed by their vocab lists and poetry tutorials. I’ll definitely have to spend more study time here! (Thank you to the Shariah Program for sharing this link with me!)