Learning new languages can open up many new opportunities. It can make you qualified for more jobs and give you the chance to go on exciting new adventures overseas. However, it’s not easy to learn a new language, and nobody should expect to be fluent in just a few weeks. There is a lot to take in, and languages are nuanced. Even the latest machine translators and AI-driven grammar check tools cannot fully replace the human mind.
Arabic is one of the most ancient languages still used today, and there are plenty of reasons to learn it—personal interest, travel plans, or the possibility of new business opportunities. If you’re interested in learning Arabic, the first question you might ask is how long it takes to learn. Let’s take an in-depth look at the answer.
Arabic is very different from English
Something to bear in mind is how different Arabic is from English. While languages like French or German may be incomprehensible to native English speakers, there will be some noticeable similarities because they all evolved from the same ancient languages like Latin and Greek. Among the most obvious similarities is the alphabets, which are almost identical but with some differences.
We might mispronounce it, but most of us could sound out French or German words even if we don’t know what the words mean.
However, when it comes to Arabic the alphabet is completely different. The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, just two more than the English alphabet, but the symbols are entirely different and not in the same order. Not only that, but the Arabic alphabet also has sounds that you won’t find in English, making it even more alien to learners.
The Arabic alphabet also appears more daunting because it reads from right to left instead of left to right, as the English alphabet does. Anyone who’s had to reverse a string in Python can tell you it can be difficult to get your brain to think in reverse. Arabic writing is also typically conjoined, making it difficult for new students to distinguish individual letters from each other.
How long will Arabic take to learn?
There is no single answer to how long it will take to learn Arabic, although estimates start at around 2,200 hours. This means that if you were in full-time education, studying eight hours a week, five days a week, and learning nothing but Arabic, it would take you just over a year.
Bear in mind that these are conservative estimates, and there are other factors to take into account, including:
- Learning ability: Some people are faster at learning new things than others, and younger people tend to learn more quickly than older people.
- Exposure: Some people will be in an environment where they are immersed in the language, which will hasten their learning. If Arabic speakers surround you or if you have access to Arabic shows on TV, you will likely pick the language up faster than otherwise.
- Practice: Practising any language will help you formulate sentences better while also helping you understand the language when you hear it spoken out loud. With practice, a student will also become less concerned about making mistakes, and the more confident somebody becomes with a language, the more they use it.
- Dedication: Learning anything new can be tiring and even dull. It can be all too easy for us to become distracted and want to do something more interesting. However, if you have the dedication to keep your head down and work, you’re likely to learn the language faster than other people who are less dedicated. Knowing how to make good use of your study time will also help you learn faster.
Despite the estimations that Arabic will take a long time to learn and will appear almost impossible to beginners, it may not be as difficult as it first appears. For example, although the alphabet is different from ours, 28 symbols are not that many to learn. In addition, most of the sounds are the same as those used in English, with just a few exceptions that you can learn relatively quickly.
How long it takes to learn Arabic relies on numerous factors. For example, how well would you like to learn the language? If you want to become fluent enough to use the language in high-level financial discussions with colleagues, you’ll need a level of mastery that will take time. However, if you want to get a general idea and participate in conversations, you will reach that level sooner.
How long it takes to learn Arabic will be different for different people. There are numerous variables to take into account, and you should also consider the level of fluency you’re trying to achieve. Regardless of how long it takes, Arabic is a beautiful language that will open new doors for you if you learn it. Learning Arabic could help you find a new career, make new friendships, and even embark on new adventures.