How do I learn Arabic?

All you need to know and plan your leaning, including a FREE editable electronic Arabic language learning reflective journal / instant PDF download. + Join my upcoming online course for breakthrough beginners for free!

No journey is successful without a clear plan. Although any Arabic learning course or foreign language course in general, whether online or in person, has general goals, it is important that you align and set your personal ones too, corresponding to your own abilities, needs and wants. This will help you continue and expand your learning beyond the classroom and long-term. Self-learning and development is an important skill that I strive to foster and support in my classrooms.

Importance of Journaling:

The attached Arabic learning reflection journal, will help you set individual goals. There are sample examples that will assist you in writing your own, with enough pages to go for a long time. The book can be printed or filled digitally by editing and writing in the text boxes. After each lesson you can add entries, for example, or you could add weekly reflections.

Taking ownership of your learning and using the SMART goal setting technique when it comes language acquisition. Moreover, journaling your progress can be helpful.

Assessing Your Current Situation & Understanding the Various Language Levels:

Before going ahead with your SMART goals, you need to assess your current situation, in terms of your current level of knowledge (perhaps taking a free online Arabic language level assessment / Click to check), specific learning needs and wants, and any obstacles facing your learning. If you are attending a course, this will most likely be discussed and facilitated by your teacher. For that reason, it is also important to be realistic and have an idea about the different language levels that one progresses through as they learn a foreign language. This can be checked in the following article, which compares ACTFL and CEFR standards.


The following is a summary infographic explaining expectations for Novice learners/Beginners in Arabic according to ACTFL standards(CEFR 0-A1):

As you can see from the picture, there are four areas to tackle when learning a new language:

"The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are a description of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context. For each skill, these guidelines identify five major levels of proficiency: Distinguished, Superior, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. The major levels Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice are subdivided into High, Mid, and Low sublevels. The levels of the ACTFL Guidelines describe the continuum of proficiency from that of the highly articulate, well-educated language user to a level of little or no functional ability." (ACTFL, 2012)

SMART Arabic Learning Language Goals:

Going back to goal setting and planning your learning, your SMART goals must be:

Specific: I want to get to A1/B1 level... I want to pass a certain test. I want to be able to converse with family/friends about specific subjects. I would like to expand my office/business relevant vocabulary and conversation skills...

Measurable: I will study for 15 minutes daily; take 2 weekly lessons; watch a video every day; write a paragraph every day; do 30 minutes of language exchange with someone twice a week...

Attainable: goals you can reach, smaller milestones are better. Aim at the near future and more realistic goals. Ex: I will learn 25 office vocabulary this week and use them in sentences, instead of 200 or just saying I want to improve my vocabulary.

Relevant: goals have to be relevant to what you are passionate about and what motivates you, example being able to use the language on holiday or for a business lunch.

Time-bound: I will achieve A1 level in xx months/weeks.

You will see more examples in the excerpt below:

Download by clicking below:

Reflective Journal-Learning Arabic With Angela-copyrighted
Download PDF • 6.85MB

What topics will or should I learn about at Novice / A1 beginners level?

You will of course be learning to read and write Arabic, as well as familiarize yourself with the sounds of a new language. In addition, the following are the most common topics for beginners:

  • Personal information and introductions; greetings and salutations

  • Cultural awareness and exposure; general etiquette

  • Offers and requests (can you ..., do you want to ... ?)

  • Speaking about and introducing family members

  • Counting numbers, shapes, colors, animals, professions

  • Speaking about school/study

  • Speaking about work

  • Speaking about the weather

  • Daily life and routine; most common verbs

  • Describing places, homes (... is big/small/red/etc.), as well as people (tall, short...)

  • Speaking about food and shopping, food (e.g. ordering something at the restaurant; buying something from the market...)

  • Directions and getting around

  • Speaking about holidays, vacations and travel; airport, etc...