There's No Babbel Arabic But Here Are Some Better Options
- Donovan NagelTeacher, translator, polyglot🎓 B.A., Theology, Australian College of Theology, NSW🎓 M.A., Applied Linguistics, University of New England, NSW
Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator. Founder of The Mezzofanti Guild and Talk In Arabic.
Babbel currently does not offer an Arabic version despite there being high demand for it.
As one of the most popular and well-marketed language apps, Babbel has been extremely successful with other major (European) languages, but hasn’t broken into the Middle East language market yet.
As for Arabic, the good news is that despite there being no Babbel Arabic yet, there are some fantastic alternatives available. I’ve listed a few of the best ones below, but you can find my more comprehensive list of Arabic courses here.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Babbel Arabic, look no further than TalkInArabic.com.
This resource is the largest and fastest growing spoken Arabic dialect resource to date (covers 8 spoken dialects of Arabic). It’s not a “course” in the traditional sense but rather an extensive resource for video and audio lessons - something for independent Arabic learners, teachers and students to draw on as they progress.
You’ll find a wide variety of lesson topics in all major dialects. Lessons range from absolute basics – e.g. ‘how to say how are you in Egyptian Arabic’ to very advanced and specific – e.g. ‘getting your plumbing fixed in Jordanian Arabic’. New content is constantly rolled out in different dialects, which usually includes either a video (interactive subtitles recently added), audio podcast, vocab, transcripts and lesson notes.
Lessons are intentionally short and very easy to digest.
A brand new web and mobile app are currently in the works and due to be rolled out later this year, making TalkInArabic.com a perfect Babbel Arabic substitute.
See this detailed review of TalkInArabic.com.
Rocket Arabic (both web and mobile app) as a Babbel Arabic alternative is definitely suited to the structured learner type. If you’re looking for a straight progression from the basics (incl. reading and writing Arabic script) up to to advanced level content, you’ll enjoy it.
It focuses on the Egyptian dialect.
This one’s always been the top of my recommendations for Arabic learners (see this Rocket Arabic review).
Of course, you don’t have to learn in a straight path and can choose your own path if you prefer.
The course is primarily made up of podcasts and dialogues that teach Arabic in a fun, clear and relaxing way but there also natural dialogues and plenty of other content delivery styles within the courses. The course covers all language skills equally well, and their inbuilt voice recognition is very accurate (it uses one of the best speech recognition technologies available).
For a solid, high quality Babbel Arabic alternative, this is my first choice.
ArabicPod101 is a first-class, online resource for learning Arabic (especially listening comprehension). It’s definitely very different to the style you see in Babbel but an excellent substitute.
This one focuses on Egyptian, Moroccan and MSA.
ArabicPod101 uses podcast lessons to teach Arabic. Lessons are suitable for beginners through more advanced levels, with content being regularly updated.
The instruction not only includes listening skills but also incorporates essential vocabulary and grammar with loads of other useful features.
The best part about ArabicPod101 is that it’s very inexpensive (cheaper than Babbel in fact).
Everyone’s heard of Pimsleur by now. They also offer Arabic (Egyptian and Levantine dialects).
Pimsleur is an audio-only, SRS (spaced-repetition) language course so it’s very different to Babbel in its approach.
The lessons focus on practical vocabulary and expressions one might need in various scenarios. This includes greetings, common phrases, and vocabulary you’ll need when interacting with locals.
The Pimsleur method prepares you for the necessary Arabic you need to get by in your travels in a short period of time (see this Pimsleur review).
You have the option of buying the course outright or subscribing online as you would with Babbel Arabic (very inexpensive option).
Despite there being no Babbel Arabic, you still have great alternatives
So I hope that helps.
I also can’t end this without recommending italki for Arabic lessons. There are some amazing teachers on there at extremely low hourly rates.
I’d also recommend taking a look at Glossika (available in multiple dialects).
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