A lot of Arabic articles focus on how to learn to read Arabic better or learn to speak Arabic better. However, it’s few and far between that you’ll find articles to help you with your listening comprehension skills. This is mostly because, until recently, there haven’t been a whole lot of resources to practice your Arabic listening skills outside of Arabic audios on YouTube or actually living in one of the Arabic speaking countries. However, that’s all about to change as the relatively new world of Arabic audiobooks is starting to take Arabic language learning by storm.
Now you may be asking, “Where do I find these fancy Arabic talking books you keep talking about to improve my Arabic listening skills?”. Well, before we present you with a list of places you can find them, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Remember that Arabic audiobooks are not the same as the audio that comes with the Arabic books that you use in the classroom, so don’t use them that way. With Arabic audiobooks, you should listen for enjoyment. Of course, if there are words you don’t know, try writing them down, remembering them and using them the next time you use your Arabic. Also, try retelling a classmate or language partner a part of the story in Arabic. Not only will this help improve your listening skills, but also your Arabic pronunciation and speaking skills as well.
You often hear that the best way to learn Arabic is by totally immersing yourself into the language and culture. You can do that by traveling to one of the Arabic speaking countries. However, if we’re realistic about that, traveling to the Middle East isn’t a possibility for most Arabic language learners. Nevertheless, you can do the next best thing, by downloading a few Arabic audiobooks to your mobile. This way you’ll always have access to some great Arabic listening material. Moreover, you can immerse yourself in the language whether you’re on the bus, doing housework or working out.
There will always be words that you don’t know. This is true even in your native tongue. So, don’t start stressing yourself out trying to learn every new Arabic word you hear. Not only will you get burnt out and discouraged with learning Arabic. Studies have also shown that you don’t learn vocabulary from new material anyway, especially if those words are not repeated in your listening resources. Instead, listening to audiobooks can help you reinforce the vocabulary you’ve already learned. This can be from previous classes or what you’ve studied from the internet when you learn Arabic online. So, you can learn new Arabic words from the present audiobook and reinforce what you’ve learned on your next audiobook
Nevertheless, even if you’ve just started learning Arabic for beginners and have only just begun to learn basic Arabic words and phrases, you can understand a little, and as your vocabulary grows, you can review to these audiobooks again and understand more each time. So enjoy the parts of the stories you do understand.
Okay, with that information in mind, let us move on to the list of where you can find audiobooks in Arabic that will provide you with hours of edutainment—most of them for free.
This free audio library for children is a result of the combined effort of UNESCO and Birzeit University in Palestine. The library contains plenty to listen to with over 200 Arabic and Western videos. These range from Aladdin to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
This collection includes a total of five stories from Kalila & Dimna, the famous children’s book in Arabic. The titles are: The Monkey and the Crocodile, The Two Ducks & the Turtle, A Tale of Three Fish, There Is Strength In Numbers and The Lion & The Mouse. These fun stories run about five minutes each and in Modern Standard Arabic. They include study material should you want to test your listening skills afterwards.
You may not understand the language on the same level as, say, Modern Standard Arabic audio texts, but it’s really important that Arabic students at least be aware of the lyrical and eloquent Arabic used in the Quran. Indeed, it has been argued that Arabic wouldn’t be the widely-spoken language it is today without it.
Read to Me is the creator of a variety of audio content available through their apps, but you can also access hundreds of their audiobooks via YouTube. From literature to self-help, Read to Me’s collection includes a mix of audiobooks by Western and Arab authors from George Orwell and Dale Carnegie to Ahlam Mosteghanemi and Sherif Arafa.
With dramatic background music and equally dramatic and eloquent voice-over artists reading the books, the recordings in Al Mirgab’s audiobook library are very well done. Here you can find Arabic literature and English literature translated into Arabic and though you have to pay to download them, the quality of the audiobooks is well worth the price.
We would be remiss not to mention 1001 Nights. It’s usually the first book Arabic learners think about when they first learn to read Arabic. The book has been around since the 9th century but wasn’t printed in English until 1706. You’re surely already familiar with the tales of Aladdin and Sinbad, not to mention Ali Baba and his forty thieves as told by Scheherazade, who spun her tales for so many nights, each night leaving a cliffhanger in order to avoid her execution the next morning. Here the tales are presented as an audio drama with and sounds like a play more than an audiobook, adding an extra sense of realism and fun.
Arabcast offers a remarkable collection of free audiobooks containing classic Arabic literature, professionally read and possessing excellent sound quality. This is a free website; however, you have to register your email address to peruse it. From the classics by Nagib Mahfuz or Taha Hussein to the more contemporary Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan, you can find almost all the famous Arabian authors here.
So there you have it – seven good places to start practicing your listening and immersing yourself into a bit of the Arab culture at the same time. Happy listening and enjoy whatever tales you decide to listen to.
If you’re looking to learn more tips on how to improve your Arabic, visit our website. While you’re there, don’t forget to download one of the premier Arabic learning app available today – the Kaleela Arabic learning app, of course. Not only can you hone your Arabic listening skills, but once you’ve mastered Modern Standard Arabic, you can delve deeper into the Arabic dialects. For example, you can start to learn Egyptian Arabic for that trip to Cairo or even the Syrian dialect for that volunteer position you plan on doing over the summer holiday. Whatever you need, you can be sure that with Kaleela you learn Arabic the right way. Download it now to your IOS or Android device from kaleela.com