I often say that the hardest part about learning a language like Arabic is not the speaking.
Speaking can be picked up pretty quickly believe it or not (made even easier by amazing sites like italki that connect you with Arabic speakers).
The hardest part about Arabic is actually learning to listen – training your ears to grasp what you’re hearing.
You need to listen constantly.
Surround yourself with Arabic every spare moment you get.
Even when you’re not studying you should be having active rest time which means that although you’re not in study mode, you’re doing fun, recreational activities that involve Arabic in some way.
These could be things like watching movies or listening to music for example – things that are relaxing and enjoyable but still keeping your mind in the ‘Arabic zone’.
So today I’m going to help you out. 🙂
Here you’ll find some excellent links to high quality material online that will improve your listening skills in Arabic.
There are many many more than this online and probably a lot that I don’t know about but what I’ve listed here are high quality listening resources (mostly free, some paid) in a wide variety of dialects.
If there’s a site, YouTube channel, station or podcast that you think should be listed here, share it in the comment section below. 🙂
Arabic TV for listening practice in all major dialects
There are actually tonnes of channels in Arabic, many of which have online streams to watch.
What I’ve listed here are only a small handful of TV channels but these are the ones I’ve found the most helpful to me.
A lot of online streams rarely (if ever) work unfortunately and the ones that do work more often than not just aren’t great quality for listening practice.
So here you’ll find direct links to the stations that I watch personally or have used in my studies in the past.
These stations work very well and are great quality for listening.
I’ve tried to provide one link here for most major dialects.
CBC Egypt (Egyptian)
There are quite a few stations in Egypt but this by far my favorite.
You can watch individual episodes of shows on demand for free here.
The live stream doesn’t seem to work in Australia but might work in other countries outside the Mid East (let me know if it does for you).
I’m currently using this in my own Moroccan study to improve listening.
Click the live play button at the top right.
You’ll find streams for a few Tunisian channels here on Tunis Vista.
There’s some awesome stuff on this channel.
I can’t find the live stream but you can watch tonnes of videos on their site or YouTube channel.
Saudi TV 1 (Saudi)
PBC Palestine (Palestinian)
BBC Arabic (MSA)
There are a lot of Arabic streams on these sites but most of them don’t work at all unfortunately (just try your luck).
Remember too that because Egyptian and Levantine TV shows and movies are so popular in the Arab world, you’ll often find them on the stations for other dialects as well.
Don’t be surprised if you turn on a Gulf TV station and hear Egyptian. 🙂
The best YouTube channels for Arabic listening
Let’s face it – there’s an endless supply of listening material on YouTube for Arabic. 🙂
So much that it’s just impossible for me to list them all here!
But what I’ve listed here are the channels on YouTube that I personally follow and find very helpful in various dialects.
There’s not a whole lot here but this is an excellent website for a lot of languages.
You’ll find a decent selection of Egyptian “street language” videos with subs to listen to.
Not exactly ‘listening material’ per se but this Egyptian guy has some great videos with slowed dialogue and subs.
It’s great for new learners of Egyptian.
This is the Egyptian spin-off of the American Today Show with Bassem Youseff (it’s no longer running but was hugely popular in Egypt when it was).
If you’re Muslim, this might interest you.
Amr Khaled’s unique in that he’s an Islamic evangelist who speaks in colloquial Egyptian dialect about spirituality and religious topics (in contrast with most Islamic scholars who use MSA/Classical Arabic). If Islam’s important to you but you want to learn a spoken dialect rather than standard Arabic, check it out.
This is an interesting Saudi cartoon channel.
I recently shared a post on my other blog from one of their cartoons (see here).
The “world’s first Arabic web series” in Lebanese Arabic.
Great show with English subs too.
I haven’t discovered any remarkable Maghrebi YouTube channels yet (Moroccan/Algerian/Tunisian/Libyan).
If you know of any please share them with me. 🙂
Children’s (or low level) Arabic video
Try these resources out if you’ve got kids learning Arabic or you’re at a low level yourself.
Cartoons are usually spoken in much simpler language which is perfect for learners.
Sometimes they’re spoken in Modern Standard Arabic but for many of them you’ll find them spoken in Egyptian.
Disney Arabic YouTube channel
This is not an official channel but one of several that have uploaded lots of Disney cartoons in Arabic.
You can find quite a few of these on YouTube (nobody seems to complain that whole Disney movies are being uploaded).
CartoonArabi (Arabic Cartoon)
This is one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen for Arabic.
It’s full of old school cartoons like the Flintstones and tonnes of anime cartoons – all in Arabic.
Most are full collections too!
You’re welcome. 🙂
Arabic audio (podcasts) and music for listening practice
For news/current event audio and podcasts check out:
This probably won’t interest many people but if you’re interested in Australian news in Arabic, then SBS runs an Arabic service (and many other languages).
There are a few excellent Arabic podcasts here but most of them are of a religious nature.
I listen to this one quite a bit because it’s a really good Sudanese dialect resource. It’s listed on the AiringPods site too.
Depending on your tastes, Arabic music can be incredibly helpful to improving your listening comprehension.
The reason I say this is because music is very repetitive so when you listen to the same words and expressions repeated over and over, it catches quickly. Music’s also enjoyable of course so it’s a perfect downtime activity (unless you’re using it for study!).
Mazika’s good if you know the artist you’re looking for (and better if you can write the name in Arabic).
If I’m looking for specific music from a particular singer, I go here.
This site is one of my absolute favorites. I usually use the Country selector and choose the Arab country I want to hear music from, then select from loads of popular artists in that country.
Make sure to get the mobile app for this one.
This one just scrapes and sequences music videos from YouTube. I usually just click Play Arabic tag and let it surprise me. 🙂
Melody’s a station in the Mid East and their YouTube channel has tonnes of music in it.
TuneIn’s a really handy website that allows you to search online radio station streams by location.
Just select the Arab country and you’ll get a list of radio options.
Arabic study resources with a strong focus on listening comprehension
Finally there are actual study products that are designed specifically to help improve your listening comprehension skills in Arabic.
There are quite a lot more than I’ve listed here of course but these are hands down the best available resources.
Rapid Arabic (MSA)
Think of this is as an audio phrasebook spoken over the top of specially designed music that causes the phrases to get ‘stuck’ in your head.
All based on research too.
See my review here.
ArabicPod101 (Moroccan, Egyptian and MSA)
This is one of the best online resources for Moroccan Arabic.
They do have material in Egyptian and MSA too but I’d mostly just recommend this to people who can’t find decent Moroccan material.
See my review here.
Rocket Arabic (Egyptian)
This is probably the most comprehensive Egyptian dialogue resource I’ve seen online.
Highly recommend this to anyone learning Egyptian. I explain why I like it here.
TalkInArabic.com (Egyptian, Levantine, Iraqi, Saudi, Tunisian, Sudanese, Moroccan and Algerian)
Our own resource put together for this very purpose. 🙂
We’ve been attempting to cover every major dialect with quality video and audio resources for listening (including subs, transcripts and dialogues).
Here are some samples:
Pimsleur Arabic (Egyptian and Levantine)
I’m hesitant to put this here because frankly the accents aren’t that great and there’s way too much English for it to be overly useful as a listening resource.
But in case you’re interested, see my review here.
So these 3 resources (provided freely by the US military to the public) are pretty amazing.
They’re definitely suited to higher-level learners however. This resource (G.L.O.S.S) contains a lot of lessons in various dialects but the interface is quite old and even the “beginner” lessons are definitely way above a beginner level.
Available in Arabic and Spanish dialects.
These are excellent for listening practice. Basically they’re just natural phone conversations.
Pretty cool idea 🙂 (no written transcripts however)
This is also an amazing resource.
You can listen to the same recording said in something like 10 different dialects.
It doesn’t provide written transcripts either but it’s great to hear the differences in the way the same thing is said by different dialect speakers.
So that’s it!
I hope those suggestions help you somewhat.
If you’ve got recommendations please let us know below in the comments. Thanks!