Why Learn Arabic

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So you’re thinking about learning Arabic, and it’s our job to convince you that this is a good idea? Well we think that Arabic is the perfect language to learn and here are some of our reasons why.

Reasons to learn Arabic

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Arabic is one of the six official languages of the UN. The other languages are Chinese, Russian, English, Spanish and French. So if you want a job at the UN, Arabic would be one of the languages I would recommend learning. Also other English speakers are more likely to speak French or Spanish, so you’d be putting yourself at an advantage too. Though if you did want to work at the UN, I would recommend learning at least two UN languages, in addition to English.

Arabic is spoken in the following countries:

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen.

This is quite a range, if you want to live in an Arabic speaking country but you didn’t want to be limited, you have more of a choice than with other languages.

Arabic has a lot of native speakers. It is the 5th most spoken language in the world with approximately 422 million speakers. This is a lot of people for you to practise with and it also makes it a useful language to learn in terms of business opportunities. As the Arabic world expands and the language grows in popularity, you can bet that the amount of speakers is just going to increase as well.

Improve your career opportunities

Arabic will really set you apart from other candidates. Arabic is known as a difficult language to learn, and not that many native English speakers can also speak Arabic as a second language (excluding those who are raised bilingual).

Although there are currently no Arabic speaking countries with GDPs in the top ten, the Arab world is booming with oil money and smart investments. And working in banks or business, Arabic is an incredibly useful language to learn. There is a lot of money in that world, and a lot of business opportunities going forward.

The script is beautiful

It is a surprise to find people who disagree with us on this one, but the Arabic script might be the most beautiful writing system in the world. And if not, there are few that rival it. It looks like something out of lord of the rings or some other fantasy world. It almost looks too beautiful to be a real used language. Learning how to write this script alone would be reason enough to make us choose Arabic as our next language to learn.

Arabic influence is apparent in lots of others languages.

For example, Spain had large areas of the country populated by Arabic speakers at one time and this has helped to shape the language that Spanish is today. Here are some examples:

aceite = oil
alacena = cupboard
jirafa = giraffe
mono = monkey
ojala = I hope

Other languages which share a lot in common with Arabic include: Hebrew, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi and others.

Learn Arabic to challenge yourself

This may seem like a silly reason but Arabic is hard. There’s no getting around that, and if you work hard and learn that language to some level of proficiency, that’s always going to be something you’re proud of. It’s always good to challenge yourself and to learn new things, so why not do this the ultimate way, and learn one of the hardest languages in the world.

It might also seem like a shallow reason, but if you learn Arabic, you know people are going to be impressed, and that just does feel good, even if you don’t want to admit it.

Reasons not to learn Arabic

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Although these are our reasons why you might want to reconsider learning Arabic, we strongly believe that the reasons to learn this language are far greater. We just thought we’d let you know some things that might put you off taking on this challenge.

The script can be difficult to get your head around. It is very different to the roman alphabet and it is written from right to left rather than from left to right like most European languages. However, it’s important to know that Arabic only has 28 letters. So if you spend time memorising those 28 letters and learning how to write them, then even though it might take you a while to get used to it, you’ll be much quicker to your goal.

The grammar can be a bit difficult for a native English speaker. In English our sentence order usually goes SVO (subject, verb, object). For those of you who aren’t as savvy with your grammar terms, here is an example:

John ate the apple.

John = subject
Ate = verb
Apple = object

In Arabic, the sentence order is usually VSO, (verb, subject, object) meaning the sentence would sound more like:

Ate John the apple

Ate = verb
John = Subject
Apple = Object

This can be pretty confusing at first but it is something you get used to the more you use it, and you’ll find yourself occasionally saying sentences in English in this format too, but don’t worry, it all gets easier.

The phonemes are difficult. Unlike European languages which have lots of similar phonemes to English, Arabic has some phonemes that are quite unique to the language and can be difficult for English speakers to produce, especially more guttural sounding words. In fact, having spoken to native Arabic speakers, they often say that phonemes of other languages are the easiest part for them because they have so many in their own language they don’t often encounter sounds they can’t make. However, don’t let this put you off, because once you have mastered those phonemes, you’re going to sound really impressive when you can pronounce them and speak in Arabic.

If anything, that’s all the more reason to consider learning Arabic over other languages.

Final thoughts

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We hope we’ve managed to convince you that Arabic is the language for you. Although we’ve given you some reasons not to learn Arabic, we believe it’s important for you to be aware of what you’re doing before you start learning. We don’t actually want to put you off this very old, rich language.

If you have any experience of Arabic, if you’re planning on learning it or even if you’ve decided not to learn it, then please tell us about you’re experiences in the comments below. We’d love to know what made you choose Arabic, or even what made you decide that Arabic wasn’t the language for you. We’re always interested in hearing about your learning experiences.

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