Learning Arabic: Taking the Tough Decision Between Fosha and Aamiya

Dina Sarayra 8/30/2021
About Arabic language

It turns out, taking the initial decision of learning Arabic is not difficult. It is the type of Arabic that everyone is struggling with.

If you are one of those people, keep reading because we have a lot to tell you.

Obviously, there are many advantages and disadvantages to both. This is definitely a tough call because you will be working hard for months on this. So you want to make the right decision.

What Everyone Tells You Online

When you make a good search on the right Arabic for you, you will find similar results. Everyone will tell you that Modern Standard Arabic MSA is the best thing.

This is true, but not really.

Don’t worry. We’ll be explaining this.

The Difference Between Modern Standard Arabic MSA and Amiya Arabic

The debate goes between Fosha and Amiya, and it is not an easy one. Let’s try to understand the difference between them.

So Fosha is basically the formal language of Arabic. It is the language of the Quran, which is the holy book for Muslims. Amiya on the other hand is a whole thing of its own. Amiya is the informal Arabic and there are many forms of Amiya.

Can you imagine that all over the Middle East and North Africa region, the MENA, there are thousands of Amiya?

Let’s Start With What People Believe To Be The Best: Modern Standard Arabic MSA

So a lot of people assume that learning Fosha is the right thing. Normally, people tend to go for the language that most people understand. The is the primary reason why it is popular enough to be the language that everyone strives to learn.

We can simply look at the reasons and it will be easy to understand why. It is the official language of academics including universities, schools, and any educational institution.

In fact, it is the official language of pretty much everything official or governmental. Any document that an Arab country prints or signs for any purpose must be in Fosha.

So What Happens To Those Who Learn It?

Well, they can definitely understand everything…formally that is. There is a myth that many foreign Arabic learners believe. It is that once they learn Fosha, they can also pick up on Amiya. Unfortunately, this is not true.

The great thing about Fosha is that you can read the newspapers, magazines, and understand all formal and official engagements that happen.

The major issue is…well, nobody speaks it.

It lacks major real interaction. It is not the spoken language of the people. People will understand what you are saying but you won’t be able to say that same. Actually, some Arabs don’t know a lot of Fosha Arabic terminology. So people may not even understand what exactly you are looking for. In other words, you would have to explain your formality.

Another major issue is that Arabs and natives will speak and you won’t understand a thing. Simply because they are speaking in Amiya which has a completely different structure than Fosha.

Being so formal, even in the English language, comes at a price. It means you can work perfectly as a politician that works within regions. But it also means that you won’t be able to connect with people. It lacks emotion and real connectedness.

Imagine this: someone coming up to you and says: “I shall park my car here”, how awkward right? It is exactly the same with the Arabic language and Arabs.

Now Let’s Take a Look At the Other Type: Amiya Arabic

This type of Arabic is underrated and usually overlooked. This is because there are many types of Amiya depending on the region. So it is very difficult to choose the right Amiya for you. Another reason is that people don’t really know the benefits of Amiya. This makes them take the “right” road of learning the Arabic that everyone should understand.

Unfortunately, and as we mentioned earlier, not everyone fully understands Fosha.

The Right Way To Look At Amiya

Now, people look at Amiya with a new light. It is the language where people connect with each other. Simply because it is the everyday spoken language. This is the language when someone comes up to you and says: “I’m gonna park here” and you won’t feel awkward or weird.

There is 100% guaranteed connectedness and real interaction. At the end of the day, most people learn Arabic so they can you know… speak with Arabs or natives.

Why learn something that people will understand to an extent but won’t use with you? You simply won’t have proper conversations. Amiya creates a bond and makes you live like an Arab.

English learners will learn shall but know that they won’t have to use it unless they are in 18th century England.

If you text, meet friends, shop, ensure you don’t get robbed, or any other normal societal interaction, then it’s Amiya.

More interaction means fitting in and being part of the community much faster. This is why you are learning Arabic at the end of the day. Most people learn it to use it as it should be used. Amiya will serve this purpose. It way out-beats Fosha.

The Final Question: What Is Right For You?

Simply put, if you are learning Arabic for business or to use a lot of formal documents, then Fosha’s the answer. But if you are like the rest of us, then Amiya is the one for you. Amiya is the one which will give you the right experience of using Arabic like it is normally used.

Taking the right decision is important so take your sweet time.

This leaves us with a new question: What is the right Amiya for you? Click here to find out the right answer.

We love that you loved our article because you made it till the end. Want more? Because we have a lot more to offer. Check our website and app which provides everything you need in Arabic. This includes courses, articles, and even fun facts!