Accentuate the Positive: Achieving a Good Arab Accent
The goal of every Arabic student is to not only speak Arabic fluently, but also to speak it with a flawless accent. And throughout your studies, you’ll get all sorts of advice on how to achieve that. By far, one piece of you’ll hear most often includes moving to an Arabic-speaking country for total immersion. However, not everyone has the chance to just drop everything and move to the Middle East.
So, what’s a learner of the Arabic language to do?
All you have to do is follow a few guidelines to really nail the pronunciation and get your accent game on.
Soaking All of That Arabic In
Immersion is defined is the act of dipping something in a substance, completely covering it, either physically or metaphorically. However, that advice about moving to another country for total immersion is only half-right. While it’s true mastering the Arabic accent does involve complete immersion into the language, you don’t have to set up home halfway around the world to do it. In fact, all your really need is to find innovative ways to listen more closely, test your abilities, and practice as much as you can. Then, practice more.
The most important skill in mastering the art of conversation is not actually speaking skills, but listening skills. This is also true of mastering the Arabic accent. Listening is a skill, and it’s critical to learning a new language. After all, nobody can give you an actual Arabic accent description. In other words, stop listening to others as they try to figure out how to describe an Arabic accent to you. Rather, find ways to listen to that accent for yourself. Watching Arabic videos, listening to audiobooks in Arabic, or finding Arabic language partners online are great places to start.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
When you start learning Arabic, you’ll no doubt run into some sounds that you’ve never heard in your native language. As a result, they may seem like a bit of an obstacle. However, the more you practice pronouncing that sound, the easier it will be overcoming that obstacle. This is why repetition is so important.
As you learn more words and their sounds, make a list of those that you’re having a harder time pronouncing properly. Afterward, stay focused on these words and repeat them until your pronunciation is perfect.
In fact, the best time to start is right at the beginning with the Arabic alphabet. Once you’ve discovered which letters are giving you the hardest time, repeat the sounds of those letters as much as you can. In no time at all, you’ll find that you’re pronouncing those words and letters like you’ve been speaking Arabic all your life.
By the way, this tip will work whether you’re learning how to do an Egyptian accent or the Gulf accent without anyone even having to use an Arabic accent translator when you speak.
Don’t Flatter Yourself with All Your Book Learning
We’re sure you’re familiar with the old saying “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. So, don’t flatter yourself – flatter others by imitating the way they speak.
Even with all of that book learning you’ve been doing, you’re probably not going to master the Arabic accent all by your lonesome self. We mean, how will you know if you’ve been pronouncing those words correctly just by reading from a book? Therefore, you’re going to have to make sure you’re pronouncing those words like a native. How?
Well, as you practice your listening skills, listen for all of those little changes in tone and other subtle nuances. Then do your best to imitate it. Same goes if you’re practicing along with TV shows or films. Imitate the way they are saying certain words and phrases and repeat them just as you hear them over and over again.
Some people even go as far as recording themselves. This way they can make sure what comes out of their mouth sounds the same as what’s in their head.
Use It or Lose It
Mastering the Arabic accent marks a great achievement in your Arabic language journey. However, that doesn’t mean that once you’ve seemed to get the accent down pat, you can rest on your laurels. After all, improving your accent is not a passive activity.
They say that once you’ve learned how to ride a bike you never forget. You could not have ridden a bike for 25 years, but still get on one and ride like you just rode it yesterday.
However, language doesn’t work like that. With language, you have to actively use it on a regular basis or you’re going to forget how to speak it – accent and all. In other words, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
This means that you have to find a native speaker to practice your Arabic with and constantly test yourself – always!
When you’ve run into an old Egyptian friend on a business trip in Cairo, he’ll say it seems like, after 25 years, you still speak Arabic like you practiced just yesterday. And you can tell him that, in fact, you did.
Want a great way to practice your Arabic accent? Then head over to our website and download the Kaleela Arabic Learning App and start speaking like a native speaker today! The app contains exercises and lessons that will have you speaking Arabic from the very beginning. And thanks to its premier speech recognition feature you can also see how close you are to speaking the natural Arabic pronunciation. Before you know it, you’ll be speaking Arabic like you were born speaking it. For more information, visit our website at kaleela.
Kaleela – Learn Arabic the Right Way!