Very pleased to come across this detailed and very encouraging guide to mastering spoken Arabic: https://betterworld2100.me/2016/04/27/20-strategies-for-becoming-an-extremely-high-level-arabic-speaker/.
I particularly like that Nathan starts out by confronting the arbitrary Ammaya/Fusha divide – it’s a convenient division for academia but in real life, things are more muddled than that, learning Arabic really means learning standard Arabic and a dialect (or simplified version of a dialect) at the same time. When I’m teaching Arabic to beginners, I teach both right from the start, and in my experience students are more able to differentiate between the two varieties of Arabic better than the traditional teaching approach would give them credit for.
And I love his idea of getting physically in ‘the zone’ when you’re going to speak Arabic. I completely agree – when you’re learning another language, there’s a lot of acting involved, pretending to be more confident than you really are, and taking on a new person and a new way of using your brain and your body – a kind of physical and mental work-out.
“Switching from the Written-Mental to the Physical-Spoken mindset can be difficult. It certainly doesn’t happen automatically. You have to get in “The Zone” to be effective.”
Nathan offers so many creative ideas about how to find the time to practice, as every conversation you have (where you push yourself out of your comfort zone and make yourself confront new situations) adds up to the golden 250 hours that is about what it takes to get truly comfortable.
I think this fascinating 20-point report on strategies could prompt 20 blog posts as all are really interesting ideas I’d love to explored further. More later in the summer inshallah!
Thank you to Nathan Field (twitter @nathanrfield1) for this article on his impressive Arabic learning blog. He writes from the perspective of someone who has studied Arabic formally and now works in the Middle East speaking Arabic regularly. You can subscribe to his blog by email or follow him on Twitter @nathanrfield1
Please add any comments below if you have any top tips for improving your speaking skills in Arabic, whatever the dialect.