Saturday, September 15, 2018

5 Awesome (Free Online) Resources for Arabic Learners

As I previously mentioned, I take a Distance Language Learning class with the Foreign Language Institute (a.k.a. FSI, the Diplomat School) to try and maintain some level of Arabic while living in a non-Arabic speaking country. I do enjoy the class, but there's always a gap between semesters. This post is for all the Arabic learners out there like me who want to preserve or enhance their skills. Thankfully, Arabic is a popular enough language that there are plenty of free online resources for students. (I'm not including Anki, because I wrote a whole separate blog post for that. I'm also not including FSI resources, because those aren't really publicly available.)

Without further ado, here's my list of top five free online resources for Arabic students looking to maintain their skills (or even take them to the next level):

  • Reverso Context Dictionary: There are an infinite number of free online dictionaries out there, but I've chosen to highlight Reverso because it uses actual, real-world Arabic-English and English-Arabic translations to add context to recommended words. That way, when you look something up, you can see how professional translators chose to translate that word (as opposed to the crowdsourced translations of Google Translate) and see the surrounding sentences to get a better idea of how it is most commonly used.
  • MohCoolMan: I don't know who MohCoolMan is or why he does so many amazing videos, but his YouTube channel is full of excellent Arabic language videos with subtitles in full Arabic, transliterated Arabic, and the English translation. He does everything from classic Arabic music to Disney songs. It's an unparalleled resource. Plus, who doesn't want to know "Let It Go" in Arabic?
  • All the Arabic You Never Learned the First Time Around: This is exactly what it sounds like. It is especially helpful for students like me who have a smattering of different types of Arabic classes scattered over many years with a lot of gaps in between sessions.
  • DLI Language: There is an astounding compendium of Arabic lessons available from the Defense Language Institute online, focusing on listening and reading. You can filter for specific topics or difficulty levels (all of which are fairly high). The modules are very technically accessible (though a little old-school in design).
  • Gospel Principles: If you're a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or just interested in what we believe or interested in learning some Christian vocabulary), there's a great series of full Arabic lessons on Gospel Principles available on YouTube.

These recommendations are designed for those who are already at least at an intermediate level of Arabic, but I hope to do a future post with resources for true beginners. If you have a favorite resource I didn't mention, be sure to share it in the comments below!

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