A lot, if not all of the people who have started to learn the Arabic language, have witnessed moments of demotivation, frustration, and even anxiety when they found that the learning process is not going on as expected.
For some of them, studying Arabic turned to be a complicated relationship, one day, they love it, the next day, they hate it, the third day, they get divorced, but they start over again after few years, only to drop it once more.
If you have similar feelings about your study progress, then this article is for you! In it, you will find examples based on real-life experiences, which will hopefully guide you on staying motivated and overcoming the difficulties you may face during your journey to the Arabic language.
Is there “an easiest way” to learn Arabic?
We live in times of googling the “easiest way to…” and the “tips and tricks how to learn…very fast”. While most of these keywords are really tempting, unfortunately, the material under them is rarely helpful. Also, they give a false notion that there is a list of golden rules that will help you master the Arabic language very easily and quickly, and you only need to follow them up.
A lot of us who have gone through the journey of Arabic have succumbed at least once to these “tips and tricks” only to find out that they are making procrastination bigger and are not really increasing our performance.
But don’t worry, there is some good news here. Because there exists “the easiest way” to learn Arabic, and it is to study it as hard as possible, spending most of my free time available, working hard to memorize new words, and never procrastinating. It may sound comical to say that the easiest way to do it is to work hard, but it is like that. Let me explain why.
First of all, there are no golden rules that will help us master any language easily. Everyone has different ways of how their mind and memory work, which means that those rules are supposed to be different for each of us.
Also, we must understand that any language is acquired only through an active process of thinking, which cannot be easy, and if it is easy, then it means that it is not working! Thus, while some of the “special tips” may increase our performance, it will not be through ease but efficiency. It is similar to bodybuilding, as every athlete must know how to grow muscles efficiently, but never less, they must give a high workload on the muscles, which definitely is not easy.
The secret of motivation
Secondly, the primary reason people give up on Arabic is that their learning process is too slow, and consequently, it becomes tough to feel that you have learned something. In this scenario, motivation is lost very fast because there is no progress to motivate you further! And this is the main secret of motivation. When you work hard to learn new words and understand the grammar rules, you can read the texts you were unable to read.
This feeling of achievement, of becoming able to read the unreadable and understand the not-understandable, is what motivates us and pushes us further into studying. When you are motivated and feel the progress, study becomes enjoyable, it gives you satisfaction and subsequentially becomes easy. It could be said that the process of studying keeps being hard, but the ability to perform it becomes easy. Thus, there truly is “an easiest way” to learn Arabic!
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Never give up!
Learning a language is not a task which we can measure easily. There is no time in life when a person can say, “now I truly know this language”. Even native speakers need to study their own mother tongues to understand them better. Still, they can never become living dictionaries because there are just too many words to recall all of them actively.
Meanwhile, the Arabic language is one of the richest languages globally, which according to some estimations, has over 12 million words! We should look at the Arabic language not as a challenge that we need to overcome but as a journey, a life journey, which we will travel until we leave this world.
A student who has finished a two-year-old intensive Arabic language program at Umm al-Qura university once attended a speech but could not understand anything! It happened after he has finished all of the language courses and was supposed to know Arabic well. It had to be a time of great frustration and loss of hope for him. A lot of people would like to give up on learning at that moment. But he did not, rather he studied more, and after few more years, he became almost a native speaker!
Because the Arabic language is so rich, it is normal that even more advanced students will find books or any other language materials which they won’t be able to understand. It is prevalent to open a book and translate everything that is in it without the dictionary help.
But also it is common to open another book, written with different vocabulary, and understand nothing from it. It should not scare us from continuing our studies. Rather, we should take it as a motivation that there are so many things to learn, but time is always leaving us, and we need to work even harder.
To know more: What is E-learning and how to learn Arabic online?
Learning Arabic is about overcoming yourself
The process of learning involves active brainwork, which is a physical effort. It is the training of the mind, similarly like sport is the training of the body. However, both of these activities have their psychological side, which is as important as the physical part. If you ask any successful athlete, he will attest that the real struggle they are having is not the one we can see, from the outside, but that one from the inside, the psychological struggle, which happens in their mind. To stay on track, to continue the hard way.
Everyone can work super hard for one day, but only real champions can continue it throughout the years. The same is about the Arabic language. It is very naïve to expect that its road will always be the same, always full of motivation and ease. Rather, while there are moments of excitement, there are moments of boredom and frustration.
We must accept those moments and be patient. The way of how people deal with them is when the difference can be seen between the champions and losers, between those, who will become masters of Arabic, and those, who will soon get divorced with it.
During these moments, the real struggle happens. And it is not the struggle of understanding and learning, but the struggle of hearts and determination. As you are reading this article, we can assume that you are currently in this struggle.
There is no secret elixir that will help you to overcome it. Except knowing that it will soon pass away and that this moment is normal, everyone is sometimes experiencing it. At this time, you need to remember why did you start to study Arabic? Was it for livelihood? For friends?
Or for the sake of understanding the Quran? If you want to achieve those goals and become a real champion, you must stay on track. Some scholars say that these moments are the real moments of learning, even if a person is not noticing it himself. Every runner knew that the more tired you become, the faster you need to run. Similarly, the more frustrated you became with the Arabic language, the harder you need to study.
However, it doesn’t mean that you need to spend your whole day on it. Each brain has its limitations, and none of us can concentrate fully on anything for longer than 4 hours a day. Same as an athlete, a student needs to take a rest, a lot of rest.
But during the study time, they need to take it hard. Thus, instead of increasing the time of studying during difficult times, we really need to increase our concentration, which is the hardest thing to achieve when we are unmotivated. And only when we reach it to the maximum that the longer time becomes needed. If you can stay patient and become more concentrated, you will soon feel the return of progress and motivation in your studies.
Conclusion and main points for motivation
To conclude, we can say that the three main points for motivation are these:
- Study Arabic as hard, and as efficiently as possible, you will feel more progress which will make you more motivated and happy with your studies.
- Know that learning such a rich language as Arabic is a lifelong journey, don’t get frustrated at the moments when you read or hear something a long time after your studies but still are unable to understand it.
- Know that the periods when we really learn Arabic are the hardest and most frustrating ones. We have to stay patient during them, no matter how bitter they taste, because determination and not smartness will make us the champions in the Arabic language.
And the last “tip and trick” we can suggest is consistency. There are so many sources to learn Arabic, and while some of them may be better than others, if you keep searching for “the best one”, you will only procrastinate and fail. Stay with one program and one book at one time, don’t go further before finishing it. This will help you to follow up with your progress, which, as we mentioned before, is the key to motivation and success!
The Al-dirassa Center offers online Arabic, Quran and Islam courses for non-Arabic speakers. If you would like to join our course, please contact us.