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Online Language Learning Community Resources: Learn to Read, Write, Speak, and Understand the Arabic Language for Free!

Welcome! Do you want to learn to speak, understand, read, and write Arabic? Then explore the pages of the Arabic Learners website and get to work learning Arabic online for FREE!

Is it possible to learn Arabic for free online?

Yes! Studying a foreign language is being revolutionized by the internet, Web 2.0, and the social networking concept. This is very good news for those of us old enough to remember listening and repeating via the audio-lingual approach as we drilled "Hola Paco!" with cassette tapes. While flash cards and drills still have their uses, a new era has dawned for self-motivated language learners. This page provides links to a variety of blogs, social media sites, and language learning communities online that provide FREE online content for learning Arabic.

First of all, some U.S. colleges have wonderful FREE multimedia content online that anyone who is interested in self-paced independent study of Arabic can use. One such website is the LangMedia Resources for World Languages Website at http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu/mentored_arabic.html Also worth visiting are the LangMedia CultureTalk videos in Egyptian and Levant Dialects at http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu/culturetalk.html

While Transparent Language has a subscription based component, the link to the following blog provides FREE high quality Arabic language learning exercises. TheTransparent Arabic Blog has excellent FREE multimedia grammar review, listening comprehension, and vocabulary review exercises online at http://www.transparent.com/arabic/.

CAL: Center for Applied Linguistics has a FREE Arabic Oral Proficiency Guide..
Its goal is:

Helping students of Arabic understand, self-assess, and improve their oral proficiency
What is this guide?
This guide is designed to help you understand and improve your Arabic oral proficiency by learning about:
•What oral proficiency is and how it relates to your language learning goals
•A set of guidelines that can be used to rate your speaking ability
•The kind of outcomes you can reasonably expect after different amounts of Arabic study

Language learning community websites such as LiveMocha, Busuu, Lang-8, LingQ, LinguaTV, Hello-Hello, and now enable language learners to use their desktop, laptop, or iphone to access online state-of-the-art multimedia language instruction software as well as native-speaker peer tutoring feedback and chats with "friends" from across the globe. Some language learning community website are FREE (i.e. LiveMocha), but other charge a monthly fee, so it is a good idea to read all of the FAQS before you sign up with any website. Personally, I suggest that students first explore free sites before signing up for a monthly fee-based program. However, everyone has different financial resources and priorities, so this resource page will offer information about both free and fee-based programs.

LiveMocha and Lang-8 are two FREE language learning communities that offer Arabic. I have joined LiveMocha, and I have found it to be a very useful language learning site. I have not personally used Lang8. Students interested in studying commonly available languages such as Spanish and French might also investigate some of the other well-known online language learning communities. The following article reviews some of the most popular language learning communities: Review of Some Language Learning Communities: Busuu, Livemocha, LingQ, and Hello-Hello.

Most of language learning community sites seem to assume that a student can at least read the target language on a very basic level. Therefore, absolute beginning students of Arabic need to learn the Arabic alphabet before trying to use a site like LiveMocha.

  • If you have not yet enabled Arabic script on your computer, then click here for a handy free Online Arabic Keyboard

    • Below is my review of two of sites that I have found to be very helpful in my Arabic language studies: LiveMocha and Arab Academy:

      1. LiveMocha

      If you want to learn Arabic and just about any other foreign language for FREE online...check out LiveMocha! First, read these two reviews of LiveMocha. Next, read this comparison of LiveMocha and the Rosetta Stone Software. Then signup and begin learning the foreign language of your choice with LiveMocha.

      I have been signed up and studying Arabic 101 with LiveMocha since December 2010, and overall I believe that it is a worthwhile language learning resources. I have a few caveats. The first is that in the Arabic 101 lessonsthe units contain both Modern Standard Arabic and some colloquial Arabic. However, there is never any attempt to identify which vocabulary words or phrases are Modern Standard Arabic and which are colloquial -- let alone identify which dialect the colloquial words are from. The pedagogy is based upon a modified immersion and "natural language acquisition approach" which means that there is no overt grammar instruction. Also, even the most basic Arabic 101 lessons assume that the student can read Arabic script. The Arabic alphabet is not taught. Words are written in Arabic script although some units have a "Tip" box off to the right side of the screen with peer-user tips including some non-standard transliterations and grammar "tips."

      Although I have found the Arabic 101 lessons to be pedagogically sound with helpful exercises, a good balance of visual and aural language input, and scored quizzes to help learners to self-assess their learning, I have also found some majorglitches and bugs in the Arabic language learning modules. One such glitch is "the drag-and-drop" exercise in which the user reads a sentence in English and then must "drag and drop" the appropriate Arabic words into a box in the correct order to create a grammatically correct sentence in Arabic. Sadly, the Arabic words gravitate to the left so that the Arabic sentences erroneously read from left-and-right instead right-to-left. This error would be very confusing to a very beginning student of Arabic. I have contacted LiveMocha customer service to report lesson glitches or mistakes, and they have been very receptive to my suggestions and user feedback. They acknowledge the issues and urge me to be patient because their programmers are working on patches to correct the bugs in the Arabic lessons.

      An important supplement to the Arabic language learning software are the supplemental writing and reading exercises with native-speaker feedback. I have found most of the native-Arabic speaker feedback on my supplemental writing and reading exercises to be extremely helpful. Some native-speakers will take the time to offer detailed grammatical correction of my writing or offer insightful feedback and correction of my reading pronunciation. Other native-speakers seem to be less skilled and only offer a friendly but pedagogically unhelpful "good job." The LiveMocha community language learningsystem is based upon a voluntary give-and-take community spirit. While Native Arabic speakers help me with my writing and reading exercises, as a native-English speaker, I in turn help others who are learning English by offering constructive feedback and correction of their writing and reading exercises. By actively learning and studying in the Arabic 101 module, I receive Mocha Points as a language learner. By actively offering feedback to students of English, I earn Mocha Points as a "teacher" of English. The more Mocha Points that I earn, the more free language learning lessons I am eligible to receive in Arabic or any other language of my choice. This Mocha Point system is very fair, and it also serves as an incentive to keep a language learner engaged in the site. Overall, I have found the LiveMocha site to be a very helpful language learning resource, and I highly recommend it to others who wish to study Arabic or just about any other foreign language. It offers self-motivated students a rich language learning experience, and it is FREE! Best of all, LiveMocha is a growing company located in Seattle, Washington, and it is affiliated with Pearson Education (one of the largest educational publishers in the United States) and is also affiliated and supported by many universities and scholars in the United States. So, learners can be assured that the langauge learning content on Live Mocha is pedagogically sound, and Live Mocha is a safe and secure company to learn and grow with.

      2. Arab Academy

      Although The Arab Academy is not free, I have included a review and link for it on this page because it is a well-respected online Arabic language learning site, and they have an active global "online learning community" for registered users. Also, in late 2009 and early 2010, I studied for six months as a registered user with the Arab Academy, so I can offer a brief overview of my own experiences studying Arabic on their site.

      Arab Academy is private language school in Cairo, Egypt which offers both classroom instruction and comprehensive online instruction. The The Arab Academy's online monthly subscription program allows students to sign up for a variety of courses (i.e. al-Fusha/Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, the Egyptian dialect/Amayya, Studies of Islam, Studies of Quran/Suras, etc).

      The Arab Academy is a well-respected program. Some private high schools, as well as private and public colleges and universities in the United States offer credit-based Arabic language courses relying exclusively upon the The Arab Academy's on-line curriculum. Students also have the option of traveling to Cairo, Egypt to study in the The Arab Academy's non-credit intensive language program.

      Although the The Arab Academy offers coursework related to Islam, students do not have to be Muslim or have any religious inclination in order to study with the The Arab Academy. In fact, I believe that non-Muslim students who are interested in gaining cultural fluency or even just a better understanding of the role of Islam within the conventions of the Arabic language and Egytian culture, would benefit from receiving the The Arab Academy's moderate and well-qualifed instruction.

      The Arab Academy employs grammar-based pedagogy well as a comprehensible language input approach so that audio, visual, and context cues assist the learner to comprehend Arabic at a level that might be slightly higher than their current skill level. While the courses focus primarily on reading, aural comprehension, and writing, students also have the option of registering for conversational classes conducted via webcam and Skype with native Egyptian instructors.

      During the six-months that I studied on-line with the Arab Academy, I found their user interface to be a little confusing, and I was sometimes frustrated by the little bugs that I encountered while completing exercises online in their software. On the plus side, their technical staff responded to my email inquiries fairly quickly. When I opted not to re-new my subscription, I was asked to complete a student satisfaction survey. Apparently, the Arab Academy really does care about student retention because the program director contacted me to indicate that the Arab Academy was planning to implement a system upgrade which would improve the user interface and remedy the bugs in their software. However, I do not know the outcome of their upgrade plans. Unfortunately, personal budgetary constraints prevent me from re-enrolling to see for myself as to whether their upgrade addressed my primary areas of concern. However, I hope that the administrators of the Arab Academy prudently invest the additional capital necessary to improve upon their existing online program. They are facing increased competition from the ever-expanding number of new language learning communities online such as LiveMocha.

      In closing, the Arab Academy does offer a comprehensive Arabic language and culture curriculum that makes it a worthwhile program. Despite the occasional bugs and glitches, I recommend the Arab Academy program to students as well as adult learners who:
      1) do not have to option of attending a nearby Arabic language course taught by a native instructor;
      2) can afford a monthly subscription fee of $79 or more (contact the school for current pricing and possible discounts);
      3) are Non-Muslim students who would like to gain un-biased insights into Arabic culture or Islam;
      4) are Muslim students who would like to improve their Arabic (MSA, colloquial, or Quranic Arabic);
      5) are students who would like to gain insights into modern Egyptian culture and learn the Egyptian colloquial dialect;
      6) are students who would like to supplement their online studies with an intensive language immersion course of a week or longer at the Arab Academy in Cairo, Egypt.

    These links are for Online U.S. Accredited College-level Arabic Language Classes

      1. Oregon State University, online First-year and Second-year College-level accredited Arabic classes! Contact OSU Extended Campus, 800-667-1465, or ecampus@oregonstate.edu for assistance. Although these courses are not free, these undergraduate courses are taught by an accredited U.S. college and the units are transferrable to most public colleges/universities in the U.S.

      2. University of West Florida Online Campus and Arabic Language and Culture Certificate Program. http://www.onlinecampus.uwf.edu/Offer/certif.cfm

      The University of West Florida Online program is open to all students, military and civilian. This certificate consists of 3 courses in Arabic Language and Culture – each course is 4 semester hours. The first course starts at the introductory level, there is no prerequisite knowledge of Arabic Language or Culture required - The first course is ~ 65% culture with some basic language component development through drill and practice and interaction with the instructor using web collaboration software. The second and third courses are also strongly tied to culture but also use RosettaStone to assist students in sentence structure and conversational Arabic development.

      The Arabic Language and Culture program, Arabic I, II, and Intermediate Arabic I, should provide the opportunity for students to gain an excellent grasp of the Arabic Language and Culture. The program is designed so that students will learn to read and write the Arabic alphabet, to speak simple words and phrases, and to enter into simple conversations. This will be accomplished through listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises. Students will learn about significant aspects of the cultures of the different countries and regions that comprise the Arab world. In Arabic Language and Culture II and Intermediate Arabic I, the emphasis will be on strengthening and expanding language skills while continuing to learn about the culture as it is viewed from different perspectives. Using RosettaStone in coursework, students will be able to build on their knowledge base in Arabic vocabulary and pronunciation skills.

      While this program is not designed to reach the fluency level of the Arabic language, your focus and commitment on positive learning outcomes should provide the language skills necessary to communicate with Arab speaking people throughout the world.

      Each course is 1 full semester in length – completing the certificate will take a minimum of 3 consecutive semesters. This course is fully online and regular internet connectivity is required.

      The University of West Florida Online Arabic Language and Culture Certificate Program is fully online and is Regionally Accreditated with Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

      Cost: The tuition for Spring Semester 2010 was $153.54 per semester hour for a total of $614.16 per course and the course number is ARA1120C.

    These links are all for FREE Online Arabic Language Learning Sites:

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