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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Nora here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Arabic questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: Which dialect of Arabic should I learn or focus on?
Explanation
The variant of Arabic you should learn depends on your goals and what you want to achieve using your knowledge of Arabic.
If you want to learn Arabic to become a professional translator, work in politics, read newspapers, or write reports for work, then you should definitely focus on Modern Standard Arabic. On the other hand, if you want to be able to communicate with Arabic-speaking people, you have to learn a popular dialect that’s widely understood, like Egyptian Arabic or Levantine Arabic. As Nelson Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." And let's get the facts straight- nobody speaks Modern Standard Arabic in their daily conversations. Not one person in the whole world.
To understand the difference in usage between Modern standard Arabic and dialects, you need to know what Modern Standard Arabic and dialects mean to Arabic-speaking people.
Babies learn the dialect of their country/region first to communicate with their parents. Then when they go to school, they start learning how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic, because this is what they’ll use to read textbooks, take exams, read books and newspapers. They learn it from kindergarten up to the end of high school. Depending on their major, they might take more Modern Standard Arabic courses throughout their college years. For example, if their major is translation or journalism, they’ll continue taking classes because that's what the news, formal, and legal papers are written in. Other than that, social media, speaking with professors, coworkers, teachers, friends, and family is all in dialect. That's why the average Arabic-speaking person might make a lot of mistakes when trying to use Modern Standard Arabic. Even Arabic speakers need a lot of proofreading if they’re writing an important document!
What about choosing between dialects?
Variants of Arabic dialects sound pretty different from each other. Choosing the dialect to study of course has to do with the region of the Arabic-speaking world you're interested in. But, you should keep another factor in mind. Some dialects are easier to learn and pronounce depending on your native language. For instance, Levantine dialects are easier to learn than the Egyptian dialect if your native language is Japanese! That's because of similarities in rhythm and phonemes. So listening to different dialects is a good way to get a feel of how they sound before you make up your mind. Keep in mind, though, that the most widely understood Arabic dialects are Egyptian Arabic and Levantine Arabic, because of how popular their media is in the Arabic-speaking countries.

Outro

Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
And I’ll see you in the next episode!
Bye! Salam
سلام!

15 Comments

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ArabicPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Arabic learning question do you have?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Monday at 11:36 PM
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Hi Pat,


That would be the Levantine dialect. Egyptian dialect would be understood as well. Good luck!


Nora

Team ArabicPod101.com

Pat
Saturday at 08:19 PM
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Which dialect should I learn if I am going to Jordan?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Friday at 04:41 PM
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Hi Anshul khobragade,


Thank you for taking the time to leave us a comment.

You can either deselect the HD button to watch the normal quality or you can download the video on your device so that you can watch it offline.


Looking forward to seeing you often here.😄

Cheers,

Lena

Team ArabicPod101.com

Anshul khobragade
Friday at 09:00 AM
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The video was very helpful but it would be very good if you give the option of making video quality lower because it consumes my lot of internet.

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 12:46 PM
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Hi Abdulwahid,


That's a great goal! Choose the Modern Standard Arabic pathway for best results!


Nora

Team ArabicPod101.com

Abdulwahid M khatib
Saturday at 02:22 AM
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I want to understand Quran

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 08:00 AM
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Salaam Martin Str,


Welcome to our site! To get started with our system, it is first of all recommended that you check out our Help Center page where you will find plenty of useful information on how to start learning on our site, what the dashboard is for, how you can see your account settings, what subscription options there are, what Free Lifetime Account means exactly, and many more. You can find our Help Center page at: https://www.ArabicPod101.com/helpcenter.

Probably the most importantat this strage is to keep in mind though is that we have a Lesson Library (available on top of the site) where you can browse from hundreds of available lessons. You might experience that the vocabulary is occasionally a bit too advanced or the audio is a bit too fast. In such cases, please make sure that you have a solid foundation of the alphabet and pronunciation (you can find these lessons in the Lesson Library too) and that you completed all the previous lessons in that same series\ leading up to the current lesson.

Hope this helps. Feel free to contact us again if you have any further questions or remark.


Kind regards,

Levente (ليفينتي)

Team ArabicPod101.com

Martin Str
Thursday at 10:25 PM
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I want mainly to connect and talk with most of Arabic speaking people, and some writing and reading as well. What should I start with?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Friday at 03:32 AM
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Hi Evelyn,


It's all about passion and hard work, so I believe you can do it!

With Tunisian Arabic, Moroccan Arabic is going to be the closest possible dialect. If you study Standard Arabic, it will help you understand the basics of Arabic too. Alternatively, you could check if she speaks French, since it is a very common thing in Tunisia. In that case you could also check FrenchPod101.com


Good luck with whichever language you go with!


Nora

Team ArabicPod101.com

Evelyn
Wednesday at 02:16 PM
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My new son-in-law is from Tunisia and we live in Australia. I would like to be able to communicate with his mother living in Tunisia. What Arabic should I focus on? I know that Tunisian is different from Moroccan. Also I am 65 years old and find it very hard to pronounce some of he Arabic sounds and have been laughed at my awkwardness (not by my son-in-law) even though I overlook their misunderstanding of the Australian idiom. How can I master these sounds?