8 useful online resources for your Arabic Year Abroad (and beyond!)
Charlotte Darrell studies Spanish and Arabic at Durham University. She spent 4 months as an English teaching assistant in Peru, before moving to Oman to study Arabic. You can read more about her year abroad experiences on her blog. Here are her recommendations for the best online resources to help you to learn Arabic.
My teachers were forever telling me about the dangers of using Google Translate to look up Arabic words. And they had reason… As quick and easy as good ol’ Google Translate is, it can lead you into some tricky Arabic translation situations and some very funny ones too. Instead, use this online dictionary, which provides way more information about the vocabulary. You can even look up the definition in Arabic too, if you are feeling up for it!
Qutrub is a great resource for those dreaded verb conjugations. It includes the active and passive tenses for all the pronouns you could ever need in a simple to use table. Just type in the masculine singular past tense verb and there you go!
Whether you like reading Aljazeera for its journalistic quality or not, they do have a nice section for non-native learners of Arabic, with videos, texts, and exercises to test your knowledge. You can build up your vocab too with the new word lists for each video/text. The exercises are varied and relatively amusing in comparison to the tediousness of Al-Kitaab.
4. All the Arabic you never learned the first time around
I love this site for brushing up on my grammar knowledge. It’s really thorough and clear. If you are ever unsure on a grammar point, or just want a browse (I’m an Arabic grammar nerd, so sometimes I do just like to have a scroll through, no judging…), then this site is for you!
5. Aswaat Arabiya
Another good website for practicing listening skills and media Arabic. The videos are split up into different sections depending on the level of Arabic you have, and the best thing about it is the feature to slow down the videos to a pace that suits you. This is great for studying video clips and their vocabulary in detail.
6. BBC Arabic
BBC Arabic radio is useful to put on in the background whilst you are doing other things, or just listening to in general. The pace of speaking is generally not too fast (in comparison to Aljazeera!). I have been told many a time by language teachers that having the language playing in the background, even if you aren’t really listening to it, is very beneficial for your accent. It’s also a great way of picking up media vocab, and keeping up to date with the ever-changing political state of the Middle East.
YouTube in general is full of resources that you can use to improve your Arabic, such as films and documentaries. Just type in Arabic in the search bar and you will find something! In particular, ‘Detective Conan’ is a good series in Fusha. It is a Japanese manga series that has been dubbed into Arabic, and is popular among Arabic speakers. It’s actually quite gripping at times, and despite my original thoughts, isn’t a kids program.
This docu-series is about a group of four Saudi guys who have written a bucket list and aim to cross off all of the challenges over the course of the series. The series are in Saudi dialect but it isn’t too difficult to pick up words, and is good to practice listening to real life Arabic. The title means ‘why not?’ and is very fitting for the topic of the program! It’s a funny watch and you don’t even notice that you are (kinda) revising too!
The internet is full of great resources for Arabic learners and it’s easy to improve your skills from the comfort of your home. But don’t spend all of your Arabic Year Abroad on Aljazeera Learning Net - get out there and talk to people! Your Arabic is sure to improve loads.