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It is great to have a native speaker to practice Arabic with you from the first day. If you don’t have someone already, you can find one – a tutor, teacher, or a language exchange partner – on Italki. Chatting with a conversation exchange partner won’t cost you money. Lessons from professional teachers will, but you’ll spend significantly less than you thought you would. You can search for the people from Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Tunisia, Syria, Iran, and many other countries where Arabic is spoken, depending on your preferences. Also, if you are a native speaker of a language other than English, you can find someone who speaks your language too. Read the full review of italki.
The Pimsleur method is somewhat different than others and works well for some people. You learn to speak the language by listening, imitating (syllable by syllable) and answering questions. The lessons are 30 minutes long, require full concentration, and you speak throughout. The phrases you’ll learn are neutral and appropriate in any situation, and the grammatical constructions are limited to those that you’ll most likely to use. You can develop good pronunciation, sufficient vocabulary, and high self-confidence as you speak. There are two separate Arabic courses covering the two most widely spoken dialects – modern standard and eastern Arabic (Mashriqi Arabic, the dialect spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine). Both courses are available at three levels, each consisting of 30 lessons. Read the full review.
Arabic Pod 101
A comprehensive Arabic language-learning pack, which includes everything a beginner (or intermediate-level learner) needs: audio and video lessons, flashcards, and downloadable PDF lessons. In addition to Modern Standard Arabic, ArabicPod101 teaches Egyptian and Moroccan dialects. You’ll find tons of helpful content and while the platform isn’t perfect, they offer lots of useful materials at a reasonable price. Read the full review.
At the moment, there are over a hundred different Udemy courses of the Arabic language available. The quality varies, the price not that much – most of these courses are offered at the discount price of $9.99. It is hard to tell whether all of them are worth paying, but there is something for everyone. All levels are covered, and some of the courses have quizzes included.
Glossika is another course that promises to teach you Arabic (Modern Standard and Egyptian) without memorizing the rules. The keyword here is internalization – you internalize grammar rules and adopt the patterns of speech, by repeating the most commonly used sentences in the Arabic language. However, not everyone would be thrilled with the study material – it consists of isolated sentences, without any context or story – but many say it works for them. Read our review of Glossika.
The creators of LingQ promise you’ll never need a boring textbook again. The natural process of learning through context is more pleasant and surprisingly more effective than memorizing grammar rules. You can pick the content you find most interesting – and the choice is large – and read and listen to the subjects that interest you. They may try to do too much, from language exchanges to avatars and coins, but the reading section, which is LingQ’s main feature, can be a really useful tool. Read the full review of LingQ.
Rocket Languages cover only one level for Arabic. The emphasis is on the use of the language in practice, so rather than the Modern Standard, Rocket teaches you colloquial language – Egyptian dialect. The packages contain audio content, and there is the option to record yourself and compare your speech to the one of a native speaker. While it’s not terrible, I’m not a big fan of Rocket Arabic. Read the full review.
Talk in Arabic
An online resource that teaches most variants of spoken Arabic – Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan, Saudi, and more – and helps you learn the language naturally. The lessons are very authentic as they’re all created by native Arabic speakers. Unfortunately, Talk in Arabic isn’t very comprehensive and falls short of its potential. Read the full review here.
*Arabic for English speakers Coming 3/1/19!* One of the most popular free language sources, Duolingo offers fun, bite-sized lessons of Arabic. 5 minutes a day is supposed to be enough to develop solid reading, writing, and speaking skills. It is easy to use and it feels like you’re playing a game. Unlocking new levels and earning virtual coins keeps you motivated and, if we are to believe to the authors, 34 hours of Duolingo are equally valuable as one semester in the university.
A language learning social network that enables you to talk to or have your writing corrected by a native Arabic speaker for free on their website or the mobile app. There are also Premium Membership features like grammar lessons, vocabulary trainer, offline mode, and certification (from beginner level A1 up to upper intermediate level B2). Read the full review of Busuu.
This is a free and popular method to study Arabic online. In many ways, it’s similar to Michel Thomas with the teacher helping a student learn the language, but without the price tag. With 38 lessons available, it’s a great introduction to Arabic.
Arabic learning resources (Desert Sky)
The website of a long-time learner of Arabic (who meanwhile earned several diplomas in Arabic from reputable universities in Egypt and the US). In addition to great advice and a lengthy list of recommended textbooks, you’ll find a number of thoughtfully prepared lessons for beginners and intermediate learners of Arabic – covering Modern Standard and Egyptian Dialect, and clearly distinguishing between the two.
Another language exchange platform – a mobile app that allows you to connect with native speakers of the Arabic language, chat with them, and help them acquire a command of your native language in return. It supports text, voice, and video; contains tools for pronunciation, translation, and corrections; is free and easy to use.
FSI language courses were developed by Foreign Service Institute – U. S. Department of State using the FAST methodology (Familiarization & Short-Term Training). There are four different courses of Arabic available – FSI Written Arabic, Levantine Arabic course, Saudi Arabic course, and FSI comparative Arabic courses. These materials are considerably old and a bit old-fashioned, without any interactive solutions or flashcards – you might even need a teacher to guide through – but they are very thorough and entirely free.
Clozemaster is a great way to practice vocabulary, sentence structures, and reading by completing tons of fill in the blank exercises. You can fill in the blank by either typing the answer or choose from a multiple choice option. You’ll score points as you go. While there is a pro plan, the free version offers a ton of value.
Live Lingua is an online language school. The tutors are native speakers and certified teachers of Arabic from Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, and other countries. The lessons cost $10-21/hour (the price depends on the certificate you’re after and the number of lessons you purchase at once), but the first one is free. You can also use what they claim to be the internet’s largest collection of free public domain language learning materials.
Assimil does it a bit differently and reminds you of the difference between US and European models of education. You might find the course too intensive (even the one for beginners). Instead of chunking everything down, it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a real-time conversation that requires your full attention – and you still can’t follow it completely, and it’s okay; you’ll repeat that lesson anyway. Assimil Arabic with Ease SUPERPACK consists of 4 audio CDs, 1 CD mp3, and a substantial course book. This material should make you feel comfortable with the language in three months of learning, and you’d gain a solid base in Arabic (Modern Standard) within six months.
A popular program that enables you to learn many things using flashcards and spaced repetition, and is especially convenient for language learning. You can use an existing deck, created by some of the users – and there are several hundred shared decks for Arabic – or create your own. Anki is an open-source app that works on most of the operating systems, and enables you to sync your decks across devices.
Spoken Arabic Simplified
This Youtuber teaches colloquial Levantine and Palestinian Arabic – from essential vocabulary for beginners to advanced level listening comprehension practice. There are nearly one hundred lessons so far, each addressing a single aspect of the language. You’ll probably find all the expressions and explanation that you need during the first few weeks of learning. Also, there is a useful video on the most common mistakes that learners tend to make in Arabic.
A fancy language learning software and app that nearly everyone has heard of. It may also be known as one of the most overpriced apps that offers considerably less than many free ones. You can start with a trial version and actually learn several nice phrases in Arabic (Modern Standard), but the lessons that follow – which you’d have to pay for – won’t help you move much. However, if you’re struggling with concentration issues and love to learn in tiny steps with lots of (often unnecessary) repetition, you may wish to try it. Read the full review.
Learn Arabic by Maha
This Arabic language school offers online classes of Modern Standard, Business Arabic, Quran, Arabic for kids, as well as a number of Arabic dialects such as Egyptian, Maghrebian (you can choose between Algerian, Moroccan or Tunisian), Gulf (including Saudi, Emirate, and others), and Middle Eastern variants such as Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian, and others. All their teachers appear to be Egyptians, and all of them are fully qualified to work with non-Arabic speakers wrom around the world. You can take individual classes or join a small group. All levels are covered.
This app aims to enable you to learn Arabic from any of the 33 languages that they support. The learning starts with listening to a conversation, memorizing core words, and using them to generate other phrases and sentences. At the end of a lesson, you are supposed to be able to reconstruct the conversation. The apps contain the most common 5000 words and phrases and have the speech recognition feature incorporated so that you can get feedback on your pronunciation efforts. Read the full review of Mondly.
Arabic Mike (Step by Step Arabic)
Mike is a guy from the UK who’s been teaching Arabic on Youtube for about five years. You’ll find some lessons and colloquial phrases for beginners, as well as a lot of interviews, cultural tips and genuine advice from people living and working throughout the Arabic world.
The Living Language Arabic course comes as the Complete Edition and contains three Books (beginners, intermediate, and advanced level), nine CDs, and free online learning resources: games, flashcards, and interactive quizzes. The Platinum Edition also includes live e-tutoring. There is also the Essential Edition coursebook available for beginners.
This platform lets you connect with highly qualified refugees – displaced people from Arabic (and other languages) speaking countries who are able to provide language tutoring, conversational exercises, and translation services. For absolute beginners, there is an integrated four-month program that blends Modern Standard Arabic with Levantine dialect. Intermediate and advanced learners, as well as those who simply want to speak Arabic with a native speaker, can hire a language learning partner starting at $13/hour and, at the same time, help someone live a decent life in a foreign country.
Preply is a global platform that allows you to find an Arabic tutor from the country of your liking. You can find a number of qualified teachers and pick one according to your needs (business/conversational/intensive Arabic, lessons for beginners or children) and budget. They use Skype, which allows you do speak, write and share materials with your tutor, just like you would do in a classroom. You can save 30% on your first lesson by using the link below.
TED Talks Español
TED talks include hundreds of informative, inspiring, sometimes beautiful and often humorous stories that you can listen in Arabic. Some of them have transcripts, which you can use for reference while mastering your listening skills.
Al Jazeera – Learning Arabic
Not only that Al Jazeera has a ton of content in Arabic and English – it also has a dedicated section for language learners. You can choose between general language and the language of the media (it’s Modern Standard in both but the focus is different). The content is organized by level, and there are five levels in each module. You’ll also find some handy tools such as translator/dictionary, vocalization, and morphological analysis tool. Logged-in users also have the option to post a question to a teacher.
BBC Language Guides
BBC offers excellent resources for most languages of the world. Although Arabic is not as thoroughly covered as European languages and Chinese, the Language Guides section offers a great starting point: 10 Arabic language facts in Arabic (mp3, transcripts, and the English translation), 20 essential phrases, “quick fix,” and learning tips.
Get Started in Arabic (Teach Yourself)
The Teach Yourself Language edition contains two audio e-books on Arabic: Get Talking and Keep Talking Arabic. Get Talking Arabic guides you through 10 common scenarios, offers some culture and travel advice, and aims to help you gain confidence to start speaking Arabic in 10 days.
While most language learning apps focus on flashcards and memorization, this one utilizes a different approach. It lets you learn the language naturally by simultaneously reading and listening to various stories in Arabic and your native language (as long as you speak one of the 13 languages they cover at the moment). This way, you learn words within a context and internalize grammar rules at the same time. You can listen to some stories for free but you’ll have to pay to access everything.
Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge)
A comprehensive, innovative, and practical reference guide for intermediate and advanced learners of Arabic (Modern Standard). It covers both traditional grammatical categories and practical language functions. The focus is on authentic patterns of use in modern standard written Arabic, which you can find anywhere from street signs to literature. Contains examples from real journalistic and literary texts, published within the last couple of decades.
A Frequency Dictionary of Arabic (Routledge)
The 5000 most frequently used Arabic words in Modern Standard Arabic and some of the most widely spoken Arabic dialects; core vocabulary, with detailed explanations, translations, and sample sentences. There are two main listings – the frequency list and the alphabetical one – but you can also find the word you need using thematically organized lists.
Western Michigan University
The Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University provides a number of advanced level lessons – including texts, audio, video, and comprehension questions – of Arabic (Standard and Egyptian) language and culture. All materials are free and you don’t even have to register.
The Michel Thomas Method
This highly acclaimed (and just as expensive) method comes through three levels/courses in Arabic (Egyptian dialect), called “Start,” “Total,” and “Total Arabic Foundation Course.” The “Start” course introduces the Arabic language through 50 most common words and their use; “Total” is their standard course, which contains interactive exercises. The Total Arabic Foundation package is advertised as an ultimate tool for effortless learning that enables you to speak confidently within a couple of hours. The fancy mobile app may help you get a feel of what the courses look like, but the free version only contains one lesson.
Practice Makes Perfect Arabic
The “Practice Makes Perfect” series contains several books on Arabic – Arabic Vocabulary, Arabic Pronouns and Prepositions, Complete Arabic Grammar, and Arabic Verb Tenses. The lessons are concise, and most of them do not require more than 20 minutes to complete. The books covers all the aspects of the language – vocabulary, grammar, verbs, and conversational structures – and include flashcard app.
Created by the Qasid Institute, this website has nearly one hundred free Arabic resources such as audio recordings, videos, and PDFs. Survival Arabic will help you navigate through the Arab streets; Connections: Spoken Arabic is a 35-unit audio course that will show you how to start your first conversations; The Arab Street is a mini collection of audio interviews for listening comprehension; Tasali: Colloquial Arabic features the Levantine dialect; and also there is a collection of proverbs and a few more videos.
One Minute Arabic (Coffee Break Languages)
Even though there’s still no Coffee Break Arabic, the Radio Lingua Network (Coffee Break Languages) has created a small, ten-episode course in basic Arabic called “One Minute Arabic,” which you can access for free from your chosen podcast player app.
Conversation Countdown (Fluent in 3 months)
For those who are not very self-disciplined and are only efficient under pressure, “Fluent in 3 months” offers a crash-course that aims to help you develop a ‘mission-mentality’ and strategize your learning. The 7 lessons consist of bare essentials and shortcuts, but the fact that you have a scheduled conversation with a native Arabic speaker in a week creates a sense of emergency and keeps you super-motivated.
A dialog-based learning program that focuses at vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and culture. The elements of conversation are presented as building blocks – sentences are broken down into smaller units, which you can internalize more easily. The content is enriched by critical-thinking and memory-building exercises, semantic color-mapping; pronunciation practice; grammar and culture notes; interactive audio material; and voice comparison. Read our full review here.
Audible is Amazon’s audiobook service and also an excellent resource for learning Arabic. There are several resources from popular language learning resources such as Pimsleur, ArabicPod101, several books of short stories, and many more. This is in addition to the thousands of regular books narrated in Arabic. Best of all, you can get a 30-day free trial which includes two free audiobooks!
Al 3 Arabiya
An archive of free resources from around the web – textbooks, softwares, and various other stuff including Disney comics in Arabic. Contains a lot of resources in languages other than English.
A 5-minutes-a-day app that helps you memorize words (mostly nouns) with the help of simple visual illustrations. Includes games and exercises that cover vocabulary (matching word and image), spelling and translation. It feels effortless but it is efficient and you do learn those words, but without any context or grammatical construction.
Earworms’ Rapid Arabic is meant to help you learn useful phrases (and get a feel of the grammar constructions on the way) by exposing yourself to catchy tunes. You get the Arabic language essentials the way you memorize lyrics, refrains, and jingles. While some may really like this method, most will probably find it more annoying than helpful. Read our full review of Earworms.
Readlang Web Reader is an extension for Google Chrome that enables you to read online content in Arabic (and over 40 other languages). Just click any word or phrase and you’ll have it translated and saved in the flashcard library. The free version is limited to 10 phrases a day, while the number of individual words you can translate remains unrestricted.
Lingbe is a language exchange platform that’s a bit different than the others. With Lingbe, you don’t need to find someone to talk with, you simply click the call button and they will connect you with a native speaker of the language you’re learning. That can help get rid of some people’s anxieties and time wasted finding someone to talk with. After the conversation, if both people click the like button, you’ll be added to each other’s friend list and you can chat with them anytime.
Bab Al Arabiya
This Arabic language school offers online classes of Modern Standard, Business Arabic, Quran, Arabic for kids, as well as a number of Arabic dialects such as Egyptian, Maghrebian (you can choose between Algerian, Moroccan or Tunisian), Gulf (including Saudi, Emirate, and others), and Middle Eastern variants such as Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian, and others. All their teachers appear to be Egyptians, and all of them are fully qualified to work with non-Arabic speakers from around the world. You can take individual classes or join a small group. All levels are covered.
If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a certain word or phrase in Arabic – from greetings, apologies and flirting to whichever expression you may find in the book you’re reading – you can type it down in Forvo, and hear it pronounced by a native speaker.
This is a social network for language learners. You can find a language exchange partner based on your interests and goals. Learning can be done through chat, audio and video within the app itself.
Aswaat Arabiyya (University of Texas)
A large collection of listening comprehension materials created by major Arabic broadcasting companies, and handpicked by the professors and students from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to a variety of video and audio materials for all levels that feature all major Arabic dialects, you’ll find accompanying PDF lists of questions and activities.
Verbling is a good platform for finding tutors online and you can book lessons directly from the teacher. You can see how many lessons each teacher has given, their rating on the site, and a short video introduction of their experience. However, prices are higher and the number of teachers lower compared to italki. Read the full review of Verbling.
Qasid Arabic Institute
The online programs offered by the Qasid Institute cover Modern Standard and Classical Arabic, as well as the Jordanian dialect. Advanced students can also get personalized, private tutoring in Business Arabic, Media Arabic, Translation or Classical Arabic Texts.
An award winning interactive course of Modern Standard Arabic. A short, simplified course for absolute beginners is free. They offer three paid courses – Beginners to Intermediate, Advanced Programme, and Corporate Arabic. To enroll in the Corporate Arabic course, you’d need to purchase premium subscription, which gives you unlimited access to all the courses they offer; tests and certificates; bonus programmes such as word trainer, conversation practice, and grammar explorer; an ebook on writing Arabic; and advanced help and support.
Another free app from the Duolingo team, for those who love bite-sized lessons, spaced repetition and gamification. You can pick from the endless list of Arabic flashcard decks, or create your own. The app is fun, easy to use, and available on all platforms.
A Q&A app created by the Lang-8 team. You can ask questions to native speakers of Arabic, and answer those made by the learners of your language. Available on iOS and Android.
Free courses created by the Defense Language Institute (U.S. Department of Defense). The courses are thorough and intensive. The materials consist of heavy books (the basic course has over 1000 pages), corresponding textbooks and audio files. As long as you ignore the military-related content and you’re not afraid of large books, you’ll find those courses immensely useful.
The language learning software and online course used by many public institutions in the US. The creators have developed the so-called “Declarative Method” (focus on long-term memory) and “Declarative Acceleration” technique to make the newly acquired knowledge stick. All aspects of language are covered on all levels, and you can take a free test to determine your current level of Arabic proficiency.
These lessons are only available for the learners in the USA, Canada, UK & Ireland, Australia & NZ, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. The approach is highly personalized. After you’ve taken their free language proficiency test and completed a trial skype lesson, you’d get a qualified native teacher to develop a curriculum based on your needs and work with you in one-on-one sessions. There are also some specialized courses available, such as Arabic for business, healthcare, family relationships, real estate, relocation, and more.
Tatoeba is a different kind of dictionary – an impressive database of translated sentences, created and maintained by the user community (which you can join). Enter the word, and you’ll get in translated in numerous contexts and sentences.
A free podcast from InnovativeLanguage (the creators of ArabicPod101). The 15 episodes contain essential Arabic phrases in context, thoroughly explained, and followed by precise pronunciation guidance. More material – including downloadable audio and PDF files, and more episodes – available on their website, where you can buy a lifetime membership for less than $50 (sometimes they offer a 50% discount!)
Colloquial Arabic (Routledge Colloquial Languages)
Routledge’s Colloquial Arabic is a complete course for beginners and it contains the up-to-date textbook, accompanied by audio files which you can download for free. Colloquial Arabic helps you learn the language as it is written and spoken today in three different dialects – Egyptian, Levantine, and Gulf Arabic. The explanations are both meticulous and easy to understand. The goal is to grow your skills and speak Arabic confidently in various situations.
Polly Lingual offers online courses for beginners and intermediate learners, and several specialized courses, such as Arabic for Travel, and the Arabic Grammar. The lessons cover all aspects of the language, include cultural references, and contain audio recordings. You can also hire a teacher (a “Polly Ambassador”) to help you with the lessons, or ask a relevant question and get a video answer for free.
Linguaphone offers several courses of Arabic (Modern Standard). The Arabic PDQ course is aimed at beginners, and it consists of 4 hours of audio material and a small course book. The complete course has materials for all three levels – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The importance of speaking is highlighted, and the practice involves both imitating the way native speakers talk and taking part in conversations. The course creators say that the content is not just useful, but also enjoyable, and helps build confidence while you speak Arabic.
A comprehensive collection of online dictionaries, including Arabic-English dictionaries, thesaurus, slang dictionaries, and more. A multilingual keyboard is incorporated.
A free dictionary and, more importantly, a community forum where you can find and interact with people like you, doing the same as you do – studying Arabic and pondering over the ways to express themselves using that language.
Free multilingual text to speech solution that works on PC, Android, iOS, and online as the Chrome extension. Talkify instantly recognizes supported languages (including Arabic), and reads any webpage or PDF (beta). You can even save audio as MP3.
This Cairo-based Arabic language learning corporation offers both online and on-site courses of Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian colloquial Arabic, Classical Islamic (Quranic) Arabic on all levels – from absolute beginners to native Arabic speakers who want to upgrade their language skills – as well as three different courses for kids and students. All plans (which are rather pricey and range from $69 to $99 a month) include at least two one-on-one speaking classes a month.
Even though the Stanford University does not offer an online course of Arabic, you’ll find a couple of extremely useful pages on their website. The Arabic Alphabet chart will help you learn how to write individual letters in Arabic, understand what the position of a letter in a word means, and differentiate between letters that are written or pronounced similarly. There is also a list of vowels in isolation and context. Click on any image of a letter to see how to write it.
Oxford Arabic Dictionary
This comprehensive dictionary contains over 130,000 words and phrases, 200,000 translations, and over 70,000 real-life example phrases chosen to help all groups of the Arabic language learners, including students, business people, and occasional travelers. It is enhanced by Arabic verb tables, numbers, dates, and years, and irregular English verbs.
This Jordan-based language institute provides both on-site (in Amman, Jordan) and online (one-on-one or two-on-one) classes, and offers a number of highly customisable programs for students and professionals, including an intensive program and targeted skills practice. You can check out some of their lessons on Youtube first.
An online dictionary of Arabic slang, reminds a bit on the Urban Dictionary. Contains colloquial phrases from all dialects, but Saudi dominates.
Read Arabic (Maryland Uni)
These free Arabic reading practice materials are developed by the University of Maryland. The focus in on the Modern Standard language. There are three kinds of reading content available – basic reading lessons for novices, intermediate lessons, and cultural modules. The first two sections contain a number of lessons, and there are three cultural modules/learning objects featuring a text on the Ramadan, a biography of Khalil Gibran that aims to teach you the structure and language of biographies, and a story about a hero from pre-Islamic literature.
Arabic Language and Iraqi Dialect Through Dialogue
Lots of useful audio content from San Diego State University – LARC Lab website. The lessons cover all three levels of language proficiency – especially intermediate and advanced. The dialogues include high frequency dialect (A’miyyah) utterances, Arabic music and songs, and idiomatic expressions. These dialogues and communicative exercises are developed as an addition to the existing textbooks, which you can buy from the publisher’s site.
All the Arabic you never learned the first time around
This website offers materials and insights from the book with the same name (although it is not endorsed by the book author), and it includes thoroughly presented lessons on grammar and vocabulary, verb charts, and various drills. You can also buy the book from this site.
If you’re a language student struggling with Arabic (Modern Standard) verb conjugation, this little tool can save your precious time. You just need to enter a verb in the infinitive, and you’ll get the complete inflection of that verb. Verbix works on Windows and online, and is entirely free.
Perhaps the most popular book for beginners, Alif Baa helps you get to know Arabic sounds and letters, and get a solid basis for learning both formal (Modern Standard) and colloquial Arabic. The 200 basic words and phrases covered in this book are followed by video dialogues, while the text itself is color-coded, so you can pick between Modern Standard, Egyptian, and Levantine Arabic.
Authentic Arabic audio material with transcripts — twelve native Arabic speakers of different origin have narrated their audio essays in both Modern Standard and their native dialect, so you’ll hear Levantine (Lebanese, Palestinian, and Jordanian), Egyptian, Yemeni, Moroccan, and Tunisian in addition to Modern Standard Arabic. The content includes vocabulary, exercises, voweled transcripts, cultural insights, and more.The recordings are free to download once you’ve purchased the book.
Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-‘Arabiyya
Widely used in U.S. Arabic classes, these textbooks are very thorough and include audio and video CDs. However, according to many reviewers, they are not suitable for self learners. The Al-Kitaab textbooks apparently contain exercises that require specific knowledge of vocabulary or grammar that has not yet been covered; they introduce random words while skipping some essential vocabulary; the grammar explanations appear to be chaotic; and you’d need to buy the answer key and website subscription separately. But if you are to begin learning Arabic in a U.S. classroom, you’ll probably need these books.
The Freelang dictionary is a free online dictionary and a platform which enables you to have some (short, non-commercial) content translated for free by a volunteer, or to find a professional to translate whatever material you may have.
Arabic for Life
A very promising resource for beginners. Unlike the majority of textbooks, this one is not focused on grammar or another specific aspect of the language. It offers a comprehensive, multidimensional view of the Arabic language and culture. There are also over one hundred audio and video recordings on the accompanying DVD, as well as a number of activities and exercises.
My American Neighbor
A bilingual – Arabic (Jordanian dialect) and English – TV series. The dialogues in Arabic have English subtitles, while the English dialogues have Arabic subs. Useful if you’re interested in this particular dialect and some easy cultural reference.
This textbook blends spoken Levantine Arabic with Modern Standard standard Arabic and you get a sense of a “real” Arabic as it is spoken in several states and regions (Syria, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan). All audio&video material is recorded in Jordan. Probably a great choice if Levantine/Jordanian is your targeted variety of Arabic, although some reviewers don’t recommend it for self-study.
A free collection of videos and transcripts covering everyday situations and conversations in Arabic as it is spoken in Levant, Egypt, Iraq, North Africa, Western Sahara, Yemen, Yordan, and Palestine. The material is developed by the staff of the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages (FCCSWL) with the help of student native speakers from the Five College Consortium.
This website offers an organized list or Arabic language learning resources, as well as some free materials – a few textbooks and related exercises on Memrise and Anki.
Egyptian Arabic Diaries
Twenty genuine personal essays in the form of diary entries in Egyptian Arabic. The texts are given in several forms – handwritten and typed; unvoweled and voweled; accompanied by translations and audio recordings made by native Egyptians. Great reading and listening comprehension practice materials for intermediate and advanced students of Arabic.
Kallimni ‘Arabi Bishweesh
An introduction to colloquial Egyptian Arabic by The American University in Cairo Press. One audio CD is included. Apparently works best in classroom environment. This textbook is the first in the series Kalaam Gamiil: An Intensive Course in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.
501 Arabic Verbs
This combined book and software package contains the 501 most commonly used verbs (and 1000 additional ones, which are conjugated similarly as the 501 in the title) presented in tables. One page contains a single verb in all its forms in Arabic, which helps you notice the patterns behind grammatical structures, and the English translation.
Conversational Arabic Quick and Easy: Emirati Dialect, Gulf Arabic of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE Arabic, and the United Arab Emirates
A super-simplified guide for those who want to communicate in Gulf Arabic fast. There’s no single letter in the Arabic script – everything is transliterated. This book is essentially a shortcut. The author admits you won’t learn proper Arabic and you’ll still have little idea about the grammar, but it might help you if you are to visit the Emirates in a week or so, and you never planned to master your Arabic anyway.
A handy textbook that introduces the colloquial Moroccan dialect, explains pronunciation system, and gets you ready for some real-life situations on the streets of Morocco. Translations and transliterations are included.
Lebanese Arabic Phrasebook / Hiba Najem
A Lebanese Arabic phrasebook created by a popular Youtube teacher. All the lessons in the book are linked to related videos, where you can hear every word and sentence pronounced.
Modern Iraqi Arabic
A detailed introductory textbook for students who want to focus on Iraqi dialect. The twenty story-like lessons feature the dialect of middle-class Baghdad. The book includes essential dialogue, vocabulary, grammar, drills, and a lengthy glossary. You’ll also find a lot of idiomatic phrases in cultural context. There is also a MP3 CD that includes pronunciation exercises in addition to the dialogue content.
Arabic Between Your Hands
This beginner level textbook focuses on communication and vocabulary. Each of the 144 lessons (organized in 16 units) has quite a few exercises for vocabulary, reading, writing, and speaking. Maybe it is not fully suitable for absolute beginners as there’s no transliteration. Also, it seems that it doesn’t cover the grammar quite thoroughly.
Another platform that enables you to speak Arabic with native speakers on Skype. There are teachers from several Arabic-speaking countries available. They use a standardized framework of references to describe your progress – the European one. As for the learning process, you choose a tutor according to their profile, feedback from other learners, price, location, and availability; book a lesson (a part of the fee should be paid in advance) and there you go.
Book2 (50 Languages / Goethe Verlag)
100 free lessons for beginners and intermediate learners of Arabic. The course includes text (free on the website, but if you’d prefer a physical book, you can buy it on Amazon), and audio files spoken by native speakers. The free mobile app contains 30 lessons, tests and games. The paid version contains the same volume of content, but it is add-free. The goal of the course is to learn the basics quickly, and use them in typical situations. You don’t need to know English (as long as you speak one of the 50 world’s most popular languages); it is possible to learn Arabic using your native language.
Arabic For Dummies
If you’ve read some of the books from “For Dummies” series, you already know what to expect – an easy-to-follow guide through the basics and some interesting phrases and idioms that will help you have a small talk and won’t leave you helpless on the street. There is also the popular top-tens section, which includes ten quick ways to pick up Arabic (Modern Standard) swiftly, ten popular slang expressions, and ten expressions that can make you sound fluent.
Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar
This succinct Arabic grammar reference book has lots of real-life examples that will help you learn all the essential verbs and grammar patterns, and use them in communication. Very useful for beginner to intermediate level students.
Bab.la is a dictionary – and a lot more than a dictionary. It translates words within the context rather than isolated. Bab.la is a powerful tool which you can use to, for example, write an impressive cover letter in the language of your liking (in this case, Arabic) and prepare for the interview by finding the right sentences in your native language and defining the language pair (e.g., English-Arabic). It is free to use, and you can download thematic mini-phrasebooks from any page.
A conjugation tool that aims to be the coolest one around. It is free and works in over 40 languages, including Arabic (Modern Standard). Type a verb (it doesn’t have to be in infinitive or even in Arabic – any, tense, mood, or form in Arabic or English would do) and you’ll get conjugated forms, English translations, examples, transcriptions, pronunciation hints, and more. At the commercial section of the site you’ll find ‘Interlinear’ bilingual ebooks that might be worth checking.
A lite resource for non-bookish people. Learn Arabic vocabulary from 500 flashcards, practice spelling and writing, take quizzes to check what you’ve learned, and play games to remember it.
RhinoSpike helps you get Arabic language audio on demand. It is a language-learning exchange network and a great tool for listening/speaking practice. If there is any piece of text that you’d like to have read aloud and recorded, just submit a request, and a native Arabic speaker will provide an MP3 file. In return, you’d be expected to help those who are learning your native language. You can also listen to some of the 810 existing recordings in Arabic to get a feel of how it works.
Bravolol / Learn Arabic
A phrasebook and translator app for iOS and Android that helps you to pronounce and memorize the most common words and phrases in Arabic. Includes clear audio and you don’t need internet connection to practice the language.
Spotify is more than just a music-streaming service. It offers over 200 hours of free language lessons, including over 12 hours of Arabic lessons and songs. In addition to these audio lessons, there is other content available, such as language-learning playlists created by users, podcasts, audiobooks, Disney movies, and more.
A fun, free app for iOS that enables you to practice your Arabic (among others) vocabulary and spelling by solving crosswords puzzles. The game is addictive and lets you learn hundreds of words, but it requires at least basic knowledge and it is not suitable for absolute beginners.
My Language Exchange
A platform that hosts language exchange practice. You can find exchange partners and practice online in voice chat rooms, using tools such as an online dictionary, pre-made lesson plans, and a notepad. Voice chat rooms are designed and work best for intermediate and advanced level learners, while the beginners can engage in text chat (using a tool called Chat Companion) or find a penpal.
Imperfect as it is, Google Translate is a powerful and immensely useful tool – as long as we use it properly and don’t expect to get 100% correct and complete translations from it. The outcome is always a work in progress. A considerable portion of actual work is finished instantly, but you still need to do your part. You can use it to translate words, documents, and entire websites. The translation is editable with a lot of ready-made alternatives for any word or phrase. The extension for Google Chrome enables you to translate and navigate through the interface of sites that are entirely in Arabic, which has been used more than once during the creation of this list.
One of the most popular translation apps, available for iOS and Android. The free version allows you to translate text from and into more than 100 languages, including Arabic. Other features include transliteration, sharing, and audio in male and female voices. Pro features include offline mode, verb conjugations, voice-to-voice conversations, website translation, and lens – you can use your camera to translate signs, menus, and more. The last two functionalities are available only on iOS.
A collection of linguistic tools that facilitate translation, conjugation, and pronunciation, and include a dictionary and free spell checker. Translation tools use translation memory feature, and dictionaries combine several sources. You can also learn about the latest changes in the Arabic spelling, the professional titles, and neologisms.
GreenLife Apps – Arabic English Translator
This translator app offers sentence correction and voice recognition. You can use it to translate emails and SMS messages as you receive them (the free version lets you do this 50 times). Your translation history is saved for your reference.
Arabic-English Translator (Klays-Development)
Another free translator app that enables instant translations of words and entire sentences. It includes a list of favorite words and phrases and supports voice input. Available on Android.
Probably the most concise, yet surprisingly comprehensive reference you’ll ever find regarding Arabic Vocabulary and Grammar. Sold as separate items, the two three-panel (six pages) charts – covering basic vocabulary and grammar – contain everything you’d put into a cheat-sheet and more.