As a new Arabic learner, the two skills you’re likely eager to learn first are speaking and listening. In fact, we’d guess that most people want to learn to speak Arabic before any other language skill. That is, probably, you’re more likely to improve speaking skills before you’ll learn how to improve your Arabic writing skills. However, what if we said to learn how to improve Arabic language skills is by putting listening skills first?
English writer Jeanette Winterson (CBE) actually said it best when she said, “Language begins with listening.” And it’s true. Listening is the first step in going from rote memorization of Arabic words and phrases to actually hearing how native speakers use them. Therefore, having good Arabic listening skills can help you master all of the other Arabic language skills.
With that in mind, let’s make you a better listener and improve your Arabic at the same time.
Before we start however, it’s important to know the difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing is the ability to recognize sounds while listening, on the other hand, is giving one’s attention to a sound. Anyone can hear someone speaking, but very few often listen to what someone is saying. Therefore, it behooves you to start listening to native Arabic speakers and not just listen, but listen actively to them.
The means, whether you’re talking face-to-face or watching an Egyptian TV series, whatever they’re saying must have your full attention. Listening to learn is not a passive activity. It’s not listening to the radio while studying or daydreaming about sailing down the Nile. Active listening is just you focusing on listening to every word that’s spoken.
You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Listen
People tend to think that to actively listen to Arabic they have to understand every word of the language. However, this is simply not the case. Of course, when you’re first starting to learn Arabic, you’re not going to understand every word coming out of a speaker’s mouth.
Besides, these tips are more about just listening than they are listening comprehension. That means you’re listening for words you know and how they’re used with words you haven’t learned yet. Start writing down those words you don’t know, yet. Don’t worry about spelling and meaning just yet; you can focus on that later, Right now, in this exercise, your just focusing on the sounds of individual, recognizing those you’ve learned and those you haven’t.
Do What You Enjoy Again and Again
What do you like doing in your free time? Watching movies? Listening to music? Tuning in to podcasts?
What if we told you all of these things you like doing in English can not only be done in Arabic, but will help improve your Arabic, as well? However, you’re going to do these things just a little differently in Arabic.
You know how you watch an episode of your favorite TV series and afterwards you never watch again? Well, when you watch an episode of an Egyptian sitcom, for example, we want you to watch it again and again. Maybe the first time you’ll listen and watch just to entertain yourself. However, watch and listen a second time using your active listening skills. The same applies to Arabic songs and podcasts, if that’s what you like listening to.
Again, you’ll probably not catch every single word the first or second time you listen to it Nonetheless, as you listen more and more, you pick up the sounds of more and more words. Once more, write them down and look up their spelling and meaning later. right now just try to, pick out not only new words, but also the words you heard on the last viewing. This way, you’ll actually begin understanding how different inflections and accents are applied to those words.
You’ll hear this over and over throughout your studies: the most effective way to improve your Arabic is to immerse yourself in the language. This is especially true of your Arabic listening skills, so look for chances to get some Arabic listening practice whenever you can.
Some people will even tell you that immersing yourself in the language means living in an Arabic speaking country for a while. This might sound like an adventurous idea, but the truth is, you can immerse yourself in Arabic and not even leave your living room nowadays.
Thanks to the internet, there’s a plethora of resources out in cyberspace for you to practice your Arabic listening skills. You can stream Arabic movies and TV shows. Live stream news channels and Arabic radio are also an option. The point is, you have the whole Arab world at your fingertips, so take advantage of those resources whenever you can.
Soon you’ll see by using these techniques to hone your listening skills in Arabic, you’ll find learning all of the other Arabic language skills will be much easier. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.
Want one more way to improve your Arabic listening skills and other Arabic language skills at the same time? Then head over to our website and download the Kaleela Arabic Learning App. With real native speakers using a variety of Arabic dialects, the Kaleela Arab Learning app will help you hone your Arabic listening skills and have you speaking Arabic in hardly anytime at all. For more information, visit our website at kaleela.
Kaleela – Learn Arabic the Right Way!