The Mezzofanti Guild Language Learning Made Simple
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[Ep. #20] How To Start Learning Arabic

In this episode, I share how I began learning Arabic over 15 years ago and how I would approach the language if I were a beginner all over again.


  • Arabic was the first foreign language I learned to fluency.
  • Choose one dialect in the beginning and stick with it before learning others.
  • Don’t learn MSA in the beginning unless you need it. Nobody speaks it anywhere as a native language. Pick a spoken dialect.
  • Learn to read the alphabet quickly. It’s much easier than it looks.
  • Cultural assimilation is vital. If you want to succeed, assimilate into Arab culture as much as possible.
  • Surround yourself with Arabic from day one.
  • Get a teacher who uses a communicate approach and not a traditional/formal method.
  • Forget grammar. Speak Arabic immediately and make mistakes.
  • Use high quality resources. Here are mine.
  • Avoid fear and cultural stereotypes of Arabs which may dampen your efforts.

Related blog post:

Check out my blog post where I went into detail about how to learn Arabic.

Resource: Visit for spoken Arabic dialect material (review here).

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic) and simplifying language learning.
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