Language Challenge 180: Arabic

by Corey · 25 comments

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This is the Language Challenge 180 page for Arabic. If you are working on this language, please leave a comment below letting other speakers know a little about you and your language skills. Also tell us who will be working on this language (you, your child, etc.) and what you hope to achieve.

Please leave comments with resources that you recommend in this language (online language learning, fun websites, good books in the language, online TV programming, audio programs, online stores where products in the language can be purchased, etc.).

We’ll be updating this page based on the suggestions you make in the comments section below – so add a comment today!


  • Coming soon! Tell us what resources you recommend for learning this language (in the comment section below) and we will add them here!

This page is for Language Challenge 180 participants only. Sign up now to join this event!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy March 2, 2012 at 8:11 am

I am focusing on Lebanese for this challenge, a new language for me (I speak English, Italian and Spanish), and was very happy to find a language course that can be ordered online at

It is the only Lebanese-specific course that I have been able to find. Each volume is a super bargain (US$16 if you order a hard copy, US$11 if you order an electronic copy).


2 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Hi Amy!
I am always so happy to hear of another family speaking/learning Lebanese. I am an intermediate speaker of Lebanese Arabic–my husband and I speak it exclusively with my toddler (and she uses it with us) and I’m always working to improve.
Please let me know if you want any help or want to practice over Skype! How old is your son?


3 Amy March 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hi “mama”!

My son is 9 and my daughter 7. I would love to practice over skype! I am a REAL beginner, so I can’t even have a conversation really, but it would be great to get some initial feedback on my pronunciation of the words I’ve learned so far! Should I contact you through the meetup webpage? (I see it has a “contact” option.)

And yes, I’d like to know about other Lebanese-specific courses. I saw one on, and comments said it wasn’t great for real beginners. From the thread here I went to, and they do have several lessons for beginners (I’m in the midst of the 7-day free trial) that are Lebanese-specific.



4 Amy March 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

correction – has many LEVANTINE-specific lessons. But two of the creators of the lessons are from Lebanon, so I’ve assumed it’s specifically Lebanese.


5 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hi Amy!
How nice to be in contact with you. Yes, please contact me through that page–otherwise I’m not sure how to give you my email address here. 🙂 I would love to help you with pronunciation and tips and anything. The more others can benefit from my challenges and successes, the better.

I was wondering about your kids’ ages because I learned a lot from memorizing the songs on this album:

You can also buy nicely illustrated books that contain the lyrics in sort of storybook form, but they only include the Arabic. These songs are sung in Jordanian dialect, but most of the songs are also Lebanese and the dialects are so close. Singing and memorizing songs is a great way to get pronunciation down. Some non-kids music I’ve enjoyed over the years include Ziad Rahbani and his mother, Fairuz, Tania Saleh, Rayess Bek (rap!), Charbel Rouhana, Fares Karam, and all the old stuff… and of course the typical pop stuff like Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wehbe. You can find all of these on Youtube, and translations for the words by googling.

I’m currently in this weird place in my language learning where I’m upper intermediate but not really fluent yet. It sounds like you have a lot of language experience and I’d love to hear your stories about getting through this phase. 🙂

I’ll post or tell you about the other programs soon. But probably the one you’re doing is fine for a start, right?

All the best!


6 Karolena March 19, 2012 at 6:35 am

I have that CD of Nursery Rhymes from and it has been great listening to it and reading the lyrics on the board books. Memorizing the songs has helped my listening comprehension as well as ease of speaking – not that I have any time/way to practice speaking.

Thanks for the ideas of other music to listen to!


7 MamaInArabic March 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

Hey Karolena,
Just let me know if you have time and want to skype. I’m pretty good at holding a conversation in Lebanese, though I’m certainly not fluent and make lots of mistakes.

I found this site that lets you listen to Tania Saleh and others for free. I think her first album is best for beginners. The second album was good for me because understood almost everything and learned some new vocab, too. The second one is Saleh’s commentary on Lebanon’s political/social situation.


8 MamaInArabic March 19, 2012 at 7:36 am
9 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Oh, and I wanted to let you know there are many Lebanese-specific courses available if this one doesn’t suit you or you want more variety. Also, the Syrian Colloquial Arabic course (from which you can download the first three lessons and mp3s for free) is very appropriate for those learning Lebanese. You really just have to adjust the accent slightly, use “mish” whenever they say “mu” and a few other such minor things. 🙂


10 cami March 3, 2012 at 5:06 am

We will be learning Moroccan arabic. I am american living in spain with my french moroccan husband. My children speak english, some spanish and my oldest is in a catalan speaking school. We aren´t learning arabic consistenly and to communicate with my husbands family it´s neccesary! As I find more websites and resources I´ll post them,


11 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Though I’m a Levantine speaker, I would love to know more about Moroccan dialect and culture. Anything you can share would be great!


12 Karolena March 3, 2012 at 5:28 am

I’ve found books, CD’s, DVD’s, toys, etc at


13 Reshmi March 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

We are focusing on Lebenese and formal (fusHa) Arabic (husband is Lebenese and mum in law visting at the moment). We live in London UK.

Keefik Amy? (how are you Amy in Lebanese dialect) – do let us know how you are doing with your course – I am learning more vocab intermittently as my 3.5 year old dd grows and my Husband speaks to her more.

We are immersing ourselves in as much Arabic as possible so I have bought some favourite books in Arabic to help my daughter
My 3 month old is looking for a feed so I have to run off but looking forward to seeing your journeys…

for FusHa I will be using which is the best free online course I have come across

I also have the Gateway to Arabic books to help me with the writing and reading practice

I also have various apps on the Ipad/phone that I have downloaded for my daughter which I will utilise to help us both with vocab an writing.


14 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Hi Reshmi!
Always fun to meet another Lebanese learner. Please let me know if you’d like to practice with me online through Skype!


15 Daria March 5, 2012 at 6:08 am

السلام عليكم we are revising Fusha from Gateway as well as books such as : Ahlan wa Sahlan, Al Kitaab fii taalum al arabiya which are not completely for beginners , as well as many subsidiary books for grammar explanation and verb forms, Ahlan wa Sahlan has bunch of cds to listen which is fantastic.Great book for me and pleasure to learn if you are not a complete beginners. We will also use Kullu Tamam as an addition to learn Egyptian variation…. . As my husband is Egyptian , I will be ‘using’ him to clarify any ‘language’ problems…. :))) Good luck to everyone!!!!!


16 Donovan - The Mezzofanti Guild March 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Hey Daria!

I found the book 201 Arabic Verbs Fully Conjugated by Raymond Scheindlin really useful for verb forms.

Kullu Tamam is good for Egyptian, but absolutely nothing beats the Kalimni ‘Arabi series. I wrote a very short review about it last week:

Hope that helps!


17 Daria March 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

awwww!!! thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely purchase them as soon as possible!!!! Great!!! :)))


18 Daria March 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

and I did already 🙂


19 Amy March 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

Marhaba Reshmi,

I am hoping to get a little more organized this week, by following the tips that Corey is putting forth about getting organized. I think I am going to have a special challenge because I live in Central America right now and haven’t yet found a Lebanese speaker, so I am learning exclusively from online materials, but the course is very helpful so far – very basic, but that’s where I’m at! I’m hoping to at least start getting my ear used the sounds, as Arabic of any kind is a language I’m totally unfamiliar with (or at least was until last week!). I am going to start by focusing just on conversation, so am looking at transliterated materials, and will worry about the writing later (one bite at a time is all I can manage). but if you have found apps that were useful and are transliterated, I would love to know about them, as we have an ipad here at home.

I have seen that there are some alwan videos on youtube. They were too hard for my son and I to follow since we don’t yet know any Lebanese, but perhaps your daughter would enjoy them if she hasn’t already seen them!


20 Donovan - The Mezzofanti Guild March 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Great to see people learning Arabic! 🙂

I used to watch Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast in Arabic with my host family’s kids in Egypt. The kids love it and it was good for me too because the Arabic was simpler and colloquial.
If you’re trying to get your kids to learn Arabic I recommend ordering a couple of these Disney films.


21 Yazmin @ A Pretty Rock March 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I guess I’ll be doing a refresher on my Arabic. Learned it while I was in the Army, but that was over 10 years ago so I feel a bit like a newbie. I just hate the thought that I spent over 2 years learning this fantastic language to just let it go like that. So MSA it is for me.

Sadly, I don’t have any of my supplies from back then, with the exception of my well worn dictionary which I have to dig out. I’ll be looking for supplies tomorrow…


22 Reshmi March 11, 2012 at 8:16 am

Marhaba all,
OK we have all been a bit ill for the past week but Alhumdulillah have managed to spend time on our Arabic still…

I did the free registration on LingQ but as Arabic is still only a beta langauge I did not sign up for it – but you can hear some of the conversations there for free (it seems to be Egyptian dialect for what i listend to)

I am using the free stuff for now (having now spent a lot on Arabic books and puzzels for my children!) but you can also sign up for different package which gives you the transcripts and some other resources which seem reasonable.

The hosts speak a mix of colloqiual and classical (One is Jordanian and the other I think form a Saudi background). This is great for me as I also want to be able to converse with any Arab speaker (especially when I go back to work).

@Amy, Marhaba, keef sa7tik? (“How are you” or litterally “how is your health” – a less informal way to keefik which is the shortened Lebense version of the Fus7a which is “Kayfa 7aluka”) Insha’Allah Kullun bikhayr. (God Willing all is good). The 7 represents a soft “h” which is like when you breath air out of your mouth to steam up a mirror.

I agree – starting with the listening makes most sense for you and it will help you in due course when learning to read/write.

If you do have any specifc questions re the Lebenese Arabic or your move please feel free to email me We are planning to be in Beirut for the summer insha’Allah which should help with our Arabic too.


23 MamaInArabic March 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I’m an intermediate speaker of Lebanese Arabic, and it’s my husband’s first language. My 2.5 year old speaks Arabic with us. We live in the US.

My language journey has involved many different resources, starting with Pimsleur and then Maksoud Feghali’s Spoken Lebanese, homemade Anki flashcards using Ziad Rahbani monologs and plays as well as other sources, the excellent Syrian Colloquial Arabic Course book and mp3s, and the Notre Dame University — Louaize’s Spoken Lebanese/ AlmaHkiyye el lebneniyye Course. At first I wasn’t so in love with it because it’s quite clunky, but it has turned out to be revolutionary for me!

I also only listen to/watch Arabic media as much as possible, and seek out recordings of interviews and real conversations. I really like listening to MTV Lebanon’s 90 second “min AL?” (who says?) TV shows. The MTV website is very easy to get videos (and turn them into mp3s if you wish) from.

Some favorite resources:
Extensive listing of online Arabic Resources
Has some nice Levantine resources, including youtube videos that might be nice if you’re feeling frustrated and want something easy/fun.
The US Defense Language Institute actually has Levantine dialect lessons, including recordings of staged “phone conversations” that are great for working on listening comprehension. Call search for recordings by difficulty level
Interviews with Levantine speakers on many subjects. Also includes transcriptions and translations. Some of these are fairly inaccurate, though.

Also, this little web drama in brief episodes, with subtitles, is pretty nice:

p.s. to any other Levantine/Syrian/ect. speakers with kids who speak the language, I am really interested in perhaps organizing an in person meetup/informal convention (maybe regionally? I live near Dallas, TX) so that families and kids can support one another and make friends!


24 MamaInArabic March 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I forgot, the other resource that has been useful is the website for finding people to practice with on skype or through writing,

Since I really am exclusively focused on Levantine, I only accept friend requests from people from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, or Syria (or from people who are from those areas or speak those dialects), and I have plenty of potential conversation partners. There is a wealth of Egyptians looking to trade for English, too.


25 Andrew May 20, 2012 at 6:29 am

ahlan ena adrusu 3rabiyeh msree, antom ya3rufoo izay ashTaqal ?
hey i am learning egyptian arabic, do you know how i can? Please let me know
andrew 🙂


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