7 Amazing Tips on How to Speak Arabic Better
If you’re an Arabic language learner, there is no doubt that your number one goal is to be good at speaking Arabic. Right now, however, whether you’re good at it or not, you have to go about learning how to speak with the right attitude. This means you have to look at speaking Arabic as something that you can and should do often. With that in mind, we’re going to share some awesome tips with you to help transform your attitude into one that allows you to speak with native Arabic speakers in a comfortable and natural way.
- Get in the Mood
How well or poorly you learn depends greatly on your emotional state at the time you sit down to learn. That is, if you’re happy and open-minded, you’ll learn better. Likewise, if you’re upset or sad, you’ll either not learn much or not learn anything at all. So, before you start to speak, be aware of the emotional state you’re in and try to adopt the best mood possible. Additionally, you can get yourself psyched up and in a good mood by repeating the following affirmations to yourself:
“I’m really looking forward to speaking with my Arabic language partner today!”
“When I’m finished with today’s lesson, I’m going to be a better speaker than ever before!”
“If I make mistakes, my partner and I will laugh about them together.”
Hey, whatever mantra works for you, use it to put yourself in the mood to speak Arabic better.
- Face Your Fears
Before you can get in the right mood, however, you first need to identify what keeps you from being in a happy, open-minded mood in the first place, so let’s grab a piece of paper and a pencil and start writing down all those negative things you think will happen when you start to speak Arabic. For instance, you might write:
“Native Arabic speakers might laugh at me and think I’m stupid.”
“Maybe I’ll forget a lot of the Arabic words I should know by now.”
“Maybe something will be lost in translation and I’ll offend somebody.”
Next, go through your list and ask yourself what the likelihood is that these things will happen and rank them from 1 (least likely) to 5 (most likely).
After really thinking about your fears, you’ll likely realize that most of them are unfounded. And if one of them really does happen, like forgetting some Arabic words, for example, you can always ask your language partner to help you fill in the blanks.
- Make Friends
Of course, they’re not going to be just any old friend, but a friend who speaks Arabic, perhaps even a native speaker who lives nearby.
You see, most people who are struggling to speak Arabic are doing so because they’ve probably had a bad experience trying to speak it in the past. For example, my brother once worked with some Iraqis at a big hotel chain in Baltimore, Maryland. He tried to learn Arabic online from one of those “Learn Arabic for free in only seven days” courses he found in an online search. However, the course taught him how to speak in the fusHa (Classical Arabic) dialect, so when he tried to speak Arabic with his Iraqi colleagues, they didn’t understand a word he said because they spoke in the Iraqi dialect. As a result, my brother became frustrated and stopped trying to learn to speak Arabic.
So how do you overcome such a problem? Well, the best way to learn Arabic is by practicing with a supportive Arabic speaker in a one-on-one conversation. You can find a plethora of Arabic language partners and tutors online, and many times they are looking to practice your mother-tongue in exchange for practicing Arabic with you – a win-win situation for both of you!
- Talk about Whatever You Want
Whether you’re learning Arabic for beginners or you’ve been at it for a while, if you’ve ever tried to learn to speak Arabic in a classroom or online, you know that one drawback is that you’re stuck talking about whatever the instructor chooses to talk about that day. I mean, how many times are you going to talk about food, travel, your family, and so on?
The greatest thing about having a language partner is that you can talk about anything you want to talk about. The conversation my start with how you’re planning a trip to Jordan and progress to your language partner talking about the time he was camping in Wadi Rum and ate mansef with the native Bedouins.
With these free reign conversations, you’ll soon find that you’ll not only have much more interesting conversations, but more importantly, you’ll also actually look forward to speaking in Arabic with your new-found friend.
- Focus on the Message First, Grammar Later
When you have some good news to share with your family or friends, sometimes you’re so excited about it that you really don’t think about what you’re going to say first, you just say it. It may always come out the right way, but they get the gist of what you’re saying and that’s the important part for right now.
This same attitude should be applied when speaking Arabic. At first, try to get the gist of your message across and don’t worry so much about grammar at this point. The more you practice, the better your grammar will eventually become and if you make mistakes, ask your language partner to correct you so you can be even better the next time you share your news.
- Don’t Get Too Comfortable
It’s really no big secret that you have to get out of your comfort zone and take more risks if you want to become a fluent speaker of Arabic. Don’t just stick to the same old phrases that you’ve been practicing since you learned “Marhaba!” (Hello!) and “Sabah al khair!” (Good morning!). Take a risk by trying other ways of greeting someone in different Arabic dialects, like “Shlonik?” (What’s up?). This is a great way to build your vocabulary along with your confidence as well. When you learn basic Arabic words, try to make sentences with them. Sure, you are going to make mistakes, but there’s no shame in that, because every time you take a risk and move out of your comfort zone, you’re learning something new and that will make you a better Arabic speaker.
- KISS Your Arabic Language
You’ve probably heard about using the KISS acronym (Keep It Simple, Silly) for writing in your own language, but it also applies to learning how to speak in Arabic.
As humans we tend to want to use bigger, fancier words to show how much we really know when learning a language because we think it makes us sound smarter somehow. However, if you want to speak comfortably, avoid this temptation, especially if you’re worried about making mistakes. Stick with the basics formulas at first.
For example, don’t say:
“أحب قراءة الشعر العربي ، خاصة شعر محمود درويش”
“ ‘uhiba qira’at alshier alearabii, khasatan shaear mahmud darwish.”
“I like to read Arabic poetry, especially that of Mahmoud Darwish”
“أحب قراءة الشعر العربي”
“‘uhiba qira’at alshier alearabii.”
“I like to read Arabic poetry.”
“. أحب أن أقرأ شعر محمود درويش”
“‘ahibu ‘an ‘aqra shaear mahmud darwish.”
“I like to read Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry.”
Get to the point whenever you speak. You’ll feel more comfortable, and make fewer mistakes.
So that’s it! If you want to speak Arabic more comfortably and easily, get yourself in the right mood, by overcoming your fears, make friends who speak the language and let you talk about whatever you want, friends who won’t focus too much on your grammar at first, and help you keep your conversation simple yet challenging.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another way that can help you speak Arabic better is through one of the best Arabic language learning apps available for download today – the Kaleela Arabic language learning app.
Even if you’re currently taking a course in Arabic, it’s a great way to supplement your lessons by helping you build your Arabic vocabulary, hone your Arabic pronunciation skills, and even step beyond basic Arabic and learn Egyptian Arabic or Levantine Arabic. Check it out at kaleela.com!