January 15th, 2020 | Updated on June 28th, 2022
Just like learning any language, learning Arabic is based on four major skills. Not only do you have to learn to speak Arabic and learn to read Arabic, but you also have to learn Arabic writing and listening skills as well.
Many people find listening is easier than speaking, but truth be told, many of you who are learning Arabic for beginners may find that Arabic takes a little more practice and patience when it comes down to understanding what a native speaker is saying.
So, if you’re one of those that seem to find yourself only half listening, don’t worry. We have five tips that will be like music to your ears. However, before we strike up the band, here are some things you should know first:
- Understanding everything won’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself.
- Make listening a daily priority and listen to your listening resources whenever you can – waiting for the bus, on your lunch break, at the gym, whenever you have time.
- Choose learning resources you’ll enjoy listening to like music or news on the radio and videos on YouTube.
- Focus on the speaker and don’t translate everything word for word into English (or whatever your native language may be.)
- If you don’t understand everything, don’t beat yourself up. It will do absolutely nothing to boost your confidence and will become an obstacle to your improvement.
- Set a goal for yourself. For example, you can watch a film on Arabic television and try to learn 10 new words from it. (This will also be useful if you want to learn Egyptian Arabic as most media such as films, television and plays are in the Egyptian dialect).
Okay, let’s get started on the tips now.
1. Start with Vocabulary
Maybe this tip sounds easy because it is easy.
Start building upon the vocabulary and phrases you already know by, well, learning more vocabulary and phrases you don’t yet know.
Sure, studying all these new words out of context and without any grammar rules may seem a little crazy to you at first, but it really is the best way to learn Arabic listening skills.
The most important thing to remember is not to burn yourself out by trying to remember dozens of words every day. Instead, try to learn between three and five words a day.
Not only is that a more realistic goal, but as you learn more words and phrases, you’ll be able to understand more of the context in which they are used. That’s sure to give you a great confidence boost!
2. Be Patient with Yourself
“Patience is a virtue.”
It may be an old, overused adage, but it nevertheless still rings true. If you have been listening to your Arabic resources for quite some time but still don’t understand each and every word, don’t worry.
This happens to just about everybody trying to learn any language.
Look at it this way, just by listening, you’re becoming familiar with the sounds and rhythms that will not only help you to hone your listening skills, but will also help you with your Arabic pronunciation and speaking skills.
After awhile, you’ll eventually start picking up a word here and there and get the gist of what people are saying . That alone can do wonders for understanding what you’re listening to.
3. If at First You Don’t Succeed… Guess!
Again, you’re not going to know the meaning of every word you here, especially at the beginning of your Arabic language learning journey.
So try to fill in the gap with a word in English. Does it fit within the context of what else is being said? Are there other things that can help you guess the meaning such as body language, facial expressions, background music or anything else that might offer a clue?
4. Help Isn’t a Four-Letter Word
Well, actually, it is a four letter word, but not one of those four-letter words, though some people do believe it belongs to the latter. In other words, don’t be shy to ask for help.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you can’t understand a certain word or phrase, so go see someone that might be able to lend a hand. If you don’t understand what a speaker is saying to you, ask them to slow down or repeat what they said or perhaps use another word with the same meaning.
Remember, you, as a good listener, can overcome your fear by learning from your mistakes and asking for help when you need it.
5. Take It Easy
If you’re feeling, overwhelmed or frustrated, take a break, because you probably deserve it. Remember, you’re not the only who’s run into roadblocks once in awhile.
It happens to everyone who has learned or is learning Arabic. They’ve overcome obstacles and so will you. Stepping away for a few minutes can help clear your mind and after some time, you’ll be ready to try again. Just keep at it and never give up.
Arabic is a rich and rewarding language, and whether they learn Arabic online or in a classroom, many who study find it fun and challenging to learn.
In the end, no matter if you’re learning Arabic for travel, for business or as a hobby, improving your listening skills can be very beneficial down the road.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your listening skills in Arabic, or you want to improve other Arabic language skills, download the Kaleela Arabic language learning app.
It’s one of the best Arabic language learning apps available today that serves all of your Arabic language learning needs, all at the convenience of your fingertips! Visit kaleela.com for more info.