My Arabic marathon is about to start, and I feel myself stressed yet hopeful. As I've mentioned previously, it's my second attempt to study Arabic while being in Jordan, the first one was a total failure. I have deliberately chosen to study Spoken Arabic (Jordanian dialect), as I'm not planning to master Arabic for reading. I still can't believe locals are switching between standard and spoken version, for me it feels like people who speak Italian, would write to each other in Latin. Special yet complicated!
I am going to consider my level as a total beginner. I know the letters and their pronunciation, and a few words, yet it's not enough to be considered as someone who continues studying the language.
My Plan for Arabic Studying
My self-studying Arabic language marathon will last for 12 weeks. My plan is not very ambitious:
- Study Arabic at least 60min a day, but every day. I believe that being consistent brings better results than jumping back and forth.
- I want to know Arabic numbers. My relations with numbers are very complicated in any language, and I have always ignored the fact I don’t know them;
- I want to learn basic conversational phrases in colloquial Arabic, and practice them in daily life, other than a polite greeting level. Let's say 100 most used phrases;
- I would like to learn as many words related to daily life as possible. Mostly it is going to be a house-related set – “fridge”, “mop”, “lunch”, weekend”. My goal is 500 words.
Even I am going to study Jordanian Arabic, I want to improve my reading and writing skills, as I never seriously dedicated any time for writing in Arabic. However, I don’t think I will use Arabic to memorize words, my plan is to use transliteration.
What I’m Planning to Use
1. A schoolbook "Yalla Ndardesh" from the French Cultural Center in Amman. As I have previously explained, I have finished the first course with them 3 years ago but I was upset with the progress and left. As a matter of fact, it’s a useful book, where daily dialogues are given in a written form, in Arabic and transliteration.
2. Anki – a flashcard app to memorize words. It’s a spaced repetition flashcard program. There are desktop and mobile versions of Anki, with a huge database of cards in different languages. You can create your own cards as well. Anki is free for Android and ridiculously overpriced for iPhone – 24$!
Another option is Memrise, it works in a similar way, and I have used it before for other languages. In both cases, there's no database for Jordanian Arabic, there's one in Memrise, made by a Moroccan guy pretending he's speaking Jordanian dialect, and it definitely doesn't fit my demands.
3. Jordanian Arabic Grammar for Beginners made by PeaceCorps. It might be useful to look through, there are nice tables with verb conjugation rules in there.
4. CGE Jordan Institute for Arabic Studies has a set of videos for the new Jordanian Arabic learners, and they are beautifully made, at least at first glance. There's a difference between a teacher who is a native speaker, and a foreigner who mastered Arabic so he's teaching others, as he focuses at various details that might seem insignificant for a native.
5. Colloquial Arabic (Levantine): The Complete Course for Beginners, by Leslie J.McLoughlin. It’s a book that contains only transliteration, and it’s nicely structured for studying.
6. Gateway to Arabic by Imran Alawiye. It's a course for learning Arabic alphabet and handwriting. The book includes separate letters and sentences writing, basic and tricky combinations in writing.
Any other sources you can suggest? Any advice before the start?