6 Tips & Resources to Help You Get Started with Learning Arabic

6 Tips & Resources to Help You Get Started with Learning Arabic

Welcome to your journey of learning Levantine Arabic! Whether you’re fascinated by the rich cultures of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine, or you’re looking to enhance your career opportunities, this blog will guide you through the essential steps to get started. Levantine Arabic is not only a key to understanding a vibrant region, but also a gateway to new friendships, delicious cuisines, and unique experiences. Let’s dive into the plan that will set you on the right path. Below is my 6 step plan, tips, and resources that will help you get started on this journey.

Step 1: Understanding Levantine Arabic

The most common question I get asked: which dialect I should learn؟ I have covered this question in a previous post before. You can check it out here. For now let’s focus on learning Levantine Arabic.

What is Levantine Arabic? Levantine Arabic, a colloquial dialect, is widely spoken in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Unlike Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is used in formal writing and speech across the Arab world, Levantine Arabic is the everyday spoken language of these countries. It varies slightly from region to region, but learning one variant will enable you to communicate effectively across the Levant.

Why Learn Levantine Arabic?

  • Practical Benefits: Communicate with millions of native speakers and enjoy a deeper connection when traveling.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Understand Levantine media, music, literature, and cinema.
  • Professional Advantages: Open up career opportunities in international relations, business, and more.

Step 2: Getting Started with the Basics

Learning the Alphabet and Pronunciation

This step is entirely optional! No you do not need to learn how to read or write if you want to learn Levantine Arabic. And this is why I chose to write my textbooks in Arabic script and phonetics. So whether you know how to read or not, you can use our textbooks.

  • Arabic Alphabet: Start with apps like “Alif Baa” or websites like Madinah Arabic to learn the Arabic script.
  • Pronunciation: Focus on mastering the unique sounds. YouTube channels like ArabicPod101 offer excellent pronunciation guides. Keep in mind both Madinah Arabic and ArabicPod101 teaches the Fusha or MSA, so I would just use them to learn the alphabets.

Basic Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Common Greetings: Learn essentials like “Marhaba” (Hello) and “Shukran” (Thank you).
  • Daily Vocabulary: Start with numbers, days of the week, and common nouns. Use flashcard apps like Anki for practice. I don’t recommend creating actual flashcards on paper. Many of my students get excited at the beginning and then after we finish Lesson 1 from Book 1, they realize that they have around 100 flashcards already. It’s not practical! I highly recommend to use an app on your phone to create your visual flashcards. This way you have them everywhere you go!

Step 3: Building Foundational Skills

Listening and Speaking Practice

  • Listening: Immerse yourself in the language through podcasts. Check out ‘Levantine Arabic, made Easier Podcast”. We have more than 40 episodes. The scripts are available on our website and translated in English and are written in both Arabic script and phonetics. You can also check our Instagram page. I share weekly short stories and I provide the script as well.
  • Speaking: Practice with language exchange partners via platforms like Tandem or HelloTalk. You can also work with our wonderful native instructors. Who by the way are real teachers!

Reading and Writing Practice

  • Reading: Begin with children’s books and simple articles available on websites like Arabic Readers.
  • Writing: Keep a journal in Arabic, start with short sentences, and gradually build complexity. I ask my students to write one sentence a day, anything about their day! Could be as simple as; I eat chicken today, I go to work, I speak with my friends etc..

Step 4: Immersive Learning Techniques

Engaging with Levantine Culture

  • Music and Media: Listen to popular Levantine artists like Fairuz and watch TV shows like “Bab al-Hara” to improve your listening skills. I love Nadine Labaki movies! Some are available on Netflix and Youtube!
  • Cuisine: Cook traditional dishes and learn the related vocabulary. Websites like Chef in Disguise offer recipes and cultural insights.

Connecting with the Levantine Community

  • Language Meetups: Join local or online Arabic language meetups through platforms like Meetup.
  • Social Media: Participate in Facebook groups or forums dedicated to Levantine Arabic learners. I’m not a big fan of WhatsApp groups because they can become very busy, with notifications coming in every minute. Eventually, you’ll end up muting the group and only checking it occasionally.

Step 5: Advanced Learning Strategies

Taking Language Classes

  • Formal Courses: Enroll in our online language courses. We offer group and private sessions.
  • Structured Learning: Benefits include systematic progression and feedback from experienced teachers.
  • Self pace learning: If you have a busy schedule or you are on a budget, consider checking out our Masterclass. We offer different memberships as low as $9/month. And the best part is a free trial!

Using Advanced Learning Resources

  • Textbooks: use our Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Textbooks. Learning through textbooks will give you structure and a clear plan towards the next step.
  • Grammar and Vocabulary: Focus on understanding complex grammar structures and expanding your vocabulary. Hire a professional instructor that understands the language. Not everyone that speaks Levantine Arabic is able to teach it. Be very selective. Learning Arabic is time consuming and a financial commitment!

Step 6: Staying Motivated and Consistent

Setting Realistic Goals

  • Short-term Goals: Set achievable goals like learning 10 new words a day or completing a chapter of a textbook each week.
  • Long-term Goals: Aim for conversational fluency and ability to construct longer sentences.

Overcoming Challenges

  • Consistency: Create a study schedule that fits your lifestyle. Consistency is key to language learning.
  • Motivation: Every word and conversation brings you closer to fluency. Stay curious and consistent—celebrate your progress. You’ve got this!

Creating a Study Routine

  • Daily Practice: Dedicate time each day to listening, speaking, reading, and writing (if writing is part of your plan).
  • Integration: Incorporate Arabic into your daily life, such as watching the news in Arabic or labeling household items.

I always tell my students don’t study Arabic once a week for an hour. Break that hour down and try to study frequently for a shorter period of time. Sometimes it’s only 10 minutes a day!

Embarking on the journey of learning Levantine Arabic is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. By understanding the basics, building foundational skills, immersing yourself in the culture, and staying motivated, you’ll find yourself making steady progress. Remember, the key is consistency and engagement with the language in a variety of forms. Start today, and enjoy every step of your language learning adventure!

10 English and French Words Arabs Use Daily

10 English and French Words Arabs Use Daily

Thank you for being here 🤍

Notes of Video “Words that you can use in English or French”. 

In daily conversations, many Arabic speakers often use English or French words to sound more fluent and modern. This blending of languages, called code-switching, is especially common among the younger generation and in urban areas. Here are ten examples of such words frequently used instead of their Arabic counterparts. Understanding these can help you sound more like a native speaker. Let’s explore these words and their context in everyday Arabic. Incorporating these foreign terms into your speech can enhance communication and make interactions smoother.

Phonetic Script:  

3inde telmiz na7feh w moser yo7faz kil kelmeh bil 3arabe. W seret ayletlo alef marah mish kil kilmeh bil 3arabeh lezim titarjam. Khastan iza badak te7ke mitel el-natives. 

Masalan: 

  1. Asenseur mish mis3ad
  2. Escalator mish daraj kahroba2e 
  3. Computer mish 7asoub 
  4. Credit card mish bita2et e2timen 
  5. Cellulaire mish jawal 
  6. Package mish tared 
  7. Autostrade mish tare2 el-sari3 
  8. Rond point mish douwwar
  9. Bus mish hafilah 
  10. Gateaux mish kaleb el-halwah 

Arabic script: 

عندي تلميذ نهفة ومصر يحفظ كل كلمة بالعربي. و صرت أيلتلو ألف مرة مش كل كلمة بالعربي لازم تترجم. خاصةً إذا بدك تحكي متل natives. 

مثلاً

  1. أسونسير مش مصعد
  2. أسكيلتر مش درج الكهربائي. 
  3. الكمبيوتر مش الحاسوب. 
  4. الكريدت كارد مش بطاقة إئتمان. 
  5. السلولار مش جوال. 
  6. الباكيج مش الطرد. 
  7. اوتستراد مش طريق السريع. 
  8. الرنبوان مش الدوار. 
  9. الباص مش الحافلة. 
  10. و الغاتو مش قالب الحلوة. 

English Translation: 

I have a very funny student who tends to memorize every word in Arabic and I have told him a million times that not every word in Arabic needs to be translated, especially if you want to sound like the natives.  

Example: 

  1. Asenseur not mis3ad
  2. Escalator not daraj kahroba2e 
  3. Computer not 7asoub 
  4. Credit card not bita2et e2timen 
  5. Cellulaire not jawal 
  6. Package not tared 
  7. Autostrade not tare2 el-sari3 
  8. Rond point not douwwar
  9. Bus not hafilah 
  10. Gateaux not kaleb el-halwah 

 

Checkout or textbooks HERE

Join our group classes HERE

Schedule a private class with ME

Join our free Levantine Masterclass HERE

We offer kids classes & kids stories Too! 

Daily Phrases that Include Body Parts in Arabic

Daily Phrases that Include Body Parts in Arabic

Welcome to our blog! Today, we’re going to learn the names of body parts in Arabic. This guide is perfect for anyone curious about Arabic or wanting to expand their vocabulary.

Arabic is a beautiful and rich language. By learning the words for different body parts, you’ll not only improve your language skills but also gain a deeper understanding of another culture. 

By now, you know how much I love teaching you new things, especially Arabic expressions. In this post, we’ll explore some daily Arabic phrases that include body part words.

We’ll go from head to toe, covering all the basics. Ready to start learning? Let’s dive in!

Arabic Expression Literal Meaning  Definition 
3ala rase’ / على راسي On my head You are welcome/ You got it
Min 3youne / من عيوني From my eyes  Of course my pleasure 
Min timak la bweb el-samah /من تمك لأبواب السماء From your mouth to the doors of the sky May your wishes come true
Toli3 el-sha3er 3ala el-seneh / طلع الشعر ع لساني Hair grew on my tongue  When someone doesn’t listen to you
Yale’ fee saleh ta7et batou btin3aru / يلي في سلة تحت باطه بتنعره Whoever has a basket under their armpit will punch them  A person who feels offended will be offended 
La ejre’ /  اجري To my leg  I don’t care 
Salem Dayetek/ak / سلم دياتِك Bless your hands Thank you especially when someone cooks for you or gets you a gift. 

 

More Body Parts in Arabic 

Body Jesem / Ajsem (pl) جسم (ج) اجسام
Skin Jeled  جلد
Head Ras / Rus رأس (ج) رؤوس
Brain Dmagh / Admegha (pl) دماغ (ج) ادمغة
Hair Sha3er شَعر
Face Wej / Wjoh وجه (ج) وجوه
Eye 3ein / 3yun عين (ج) عيون
Eye brows  7ajeb /  7wejeb حاجب (ج) حواجب 
Ears Dayneh / Daynen دينه (ج) دينان
Nose Munkhar منخار
Mouth Tim تم
Tongue Lsen لسان
Armpits Bat باط
Hand Eid / Eiden  ايد / ايدان
Tummy Batten  بطن
Thighs Fakhed / Fkhad فخد (ج) فخاد

 

Checkout or textbooks HERE

Join our group classes HERE

Schedule a private class with ME

Join our free Levantine Masterclass HERE

We offer kids classes & kids stories Too! 



My Friend Invited Everyone to her Wedding Except me! Let’s Talk about it in Arabic!

My Friend Invited Everyone to her Wedding Except me! Let’s Talk about it in Arabic!

If your friend has invited everyone to her wedding except you, it can be a hurtful and confusing experience. The best course of action is to approach the situation with open communication. Ever wondered how to talk about this in Arabic? This week’s new video, I will share a story that was shared by you and talk about it in Arabic. As usual, watch the video at the end of the page and check out the important vocabulary that you might need to add to your list.

Thank you for being here 🤍

Notes of Video Wedding”. 

Phonetic Script:  

Rfe2te 3azamit kil as7abna 3ala 3ersa ela ana! Shu ba3mul?

A new story shared by you, let’s talk about it in Arabic. 

Akid hayda shi biza3elne law ana ma7alek. Bus fike ta3emle sha-gheltein. Fike tanshiha w ma t2ole shi abadan! Bil 3arabe min2ol ‘la ejrek’. Bil 3akes hek btkune wafarte 3ala 7alek masare le2an ken lezim tshtrela hdiyeh aw cadeau. 

Hal2 iza badek twa27e 3ein, fike te7emle telephone, w de2ela, w t2ilila enta we7de bala zo2 w bala akhla2. Kholsit

Arabic script: 

رفيقتي عزمت كل اصحابنا على عرسها، الا انا شو بعمل؟ 

قصة جديدة بعتولي ياها انتو، خلينا نحكي عنها بالعربي. 

اكيد هيدى الشيء بزعلني لو انا محلك، بس فيكي تعملي شغلتين فيكي تطنشيها وما تقولي شيء ابداً، بالعربي منقول لاجرك،  بالعكس هيك بتكوني وفرتي على حالك مصاري لان كان لازم تشتري لها هدية او كادو cadeau.

هلأ إذا بدك توقحي عين فيكي تحملي التليفون وتدقي لها وتقولي لها انت وحدة بلا ذوق وبلا اخلاق، خلصت!

English Translation: 

My friend invited all our friends to her wedding except me. What do I do? A new story shared by you. Let’s talk about it in Arabic. 

Of course this would make me sad if I were you, but you can do two things. You can ignore her and not say anything at all. In Arabic we say, ‘for your leg’. On the contrary, you would have saved yourself some money because you needed to buy her gift. 

But if you want to be unapologetic, you can hold the telephone and call her and tell her you have ‘zero taste and zero moral’. It’s done! 

Notes: 

Vocabulary Masculine Feminine Notes (if any)
Wedding 3eres
Thing Shaghleh You can also say ‘shi’ which means something. But ‘something’ can’t be changed into duals. Whereas, if you are trying to say two things, you must say sha-gheltien. 
Ignore Tanesh Tanshe’ Ignore her: Tanshiha 

Ignore him: Tanshe

The root verb is Tanash(Ytanesh). And this word is in the command form. 

To your leg La ejrak La ejrek A phrase that means ‘don’t care’
Gift Hdiyeh
To be unapologetic Twa2e7 3ein Twa27e 3ein Literal meaning is: not make your eyes shy. We say it when we are trying to ask or do something without being shy about it. 
No taste Bala zo2 Which means no class or no manners
No manners Bala akhla2 No manners
Done! Kholsit Comes from the verb to finish: Kholis (ykhlas)

Checkout or textbooks HERE

Join our group classes HERE

Schedule a private class with ME

Join our free Levantine Masterclass HERE

We offer kids classes & kids stories Too! 

 

Bringing the First and Only Kids Immersion Program to Lebanon

Bringing the First and Only Kids Immersion Program to Lebanon

Nasma of New York Culture Center: Bringing the First and Only Kids Immersion Program to Lebanon

 

A New Chapter in Levantine Language Education

At Nasma of New York Culture Center, we are thrilled to announce a groundbreaking initiative that marks a new chapter in our journey of promoting Levantine Arabic language and culture. After more than 11 successful years of offering Levantine Arabic classes in New York City, we are excited to introduce Lebanon’s first and only kids immersion program. This summer, we are bringing our expertise and passion to Lebanon, offering diaspora children a unique opportunity to reconnect with their linguistic and cultural roots.

A Homecoming for the Diaspora

For children of the Lebanese diaspora, maintaining a connection to their heritage can be challenging, especially when living far from their native land. Our new immersion program is specifically designed to address this need. By immersing children in the Levantine Arabic language and Lebanese culture, we aim to strengthen their sense of identity and belonging. This program is more than just a language camp; it’s a cultural homecoming, a chance for children to embrace their roots in an engaging and supportive environment.

Why Choose Nasma’s Immersion Program?

Nasma of New York has earned a reputation for excellence in Levantine Arabic education. Our teaching methods are innovative, effective, and tailored to meet the needs of young learners. Here’s what sets our program apart:

  • Expertise: With over a decade of experience, our curriculum is designed by seasoned educators who understand how to make learning fun and effective.
  • Cultural Integration: Our program goes beyond language instruction, incorporating cultural activities that bring Lebanese traditions to life. From folk tales and traditional dances to culinary classes, children will experience the richness of their heritage.
  • Community Building: Our camp fosters a sense of community and belonging, helping children build friendships and connections that transcend borders.
Program Highlights

Our two-week immersion camp, running from July 15 to July 26, is packed with activities that are both educational and entertaining. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store:

  • Language Immersion: Daily interactive sessions focused on conversational Levantine Arabic, using songs, stories, and games to make learning natural and enjoyable.
  • Cultural Activities: Children will explore Lebanese folklore, participate in traditional dance lessons, and learn to prepare classic Lebanese dishes like manakish and hummus.
  • Creative Arts: From painting to clay modeling, our arts and crafts sessions will help children express their creativity while learning about traditional Lebanese art forms.
  • Team Building: Group games and team-building exercises designed to foster cooperation, friendship, and a sense of community.
Our Dedicated Team

Leading our camp this summer is Mirna, a seasoned educator with over 10 years of experience in teaching and curriculum development. As a mother of three, Mirna understands what children need to stay engaged and motivated. She will be supported by a team of fantastic instructors, all dedicated to providing a memorable and enriching experience for every child.

Join Us This Summer!

We invite you to enroll your children in our pioneering Levantine Arabic immersion program. Whether, they are seasoned speakers or just beginning their language journey, this camp offers a unique opportunity to enhance their language skills, connect with their cultural heritage, and make lifelong friends.

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity. Join Nasma of New York Culture Center in Beirut this summer, and give your children the gift of language and culture. You can read more about the camp here!

If you won’t be in Lebanon this summer don’t worry, we offer several other activities separate from our two-week courses. Please read on to learn more!

Experience the joy of reconnecting with your heritage. Register now and become part of the Nasma family!