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I decided in advance that I would not learn to handwrite Arabic. There is no big need for it in this age of virtual keyboards eg http://www.yamli.com/

My goal was to learn to sound out words. This requires I only recognise the characters. I then use transliterations (Arabic with familiar alphanumeric script) to fill in any vowels that are not present. This transliteration is what many Arabic speakers use to text message and type in computers anyway.

@James123 If you do enjoy handwriting (I think it is a great aide), there are plenty of beginners books around which show you how some of the letters change when you use joint-up writing (there's generally a table showing the letter according to whether it's at the beginning, in the middle or at the end.) There must be tables like that floating around in the ether?

One of the best ones I have come across is The Macmillan Arabic Course. I have both books, but don't know whether they are still in print.

One of the best ones - I meant: one of the best courses I have come across ...

I'll look out for it. I've tried looking for such charts which tell you how to link everything and the way characters are formed, but they either just show them formed in isolation or aren't suited to me. It may sound boring but for me it is quite fun writing in a different alphabet.

I understand that fascination. Handwriting also helps some people to deepen their learning. My son writes his scripts always by hand before typing them up.

hello all of you , hi Mr, Dooo
i think we can help each otherm how ?
i will tell you>>>> i really need to learn english and i read alot about how to learn english but till now i am not sure that i can speak english well with people because i live in arabian country and no body is here to practice with,
so i think maybe if we talk to each other daily or whatever maybe you will get the benefit from me and i will get the benefit from you
and i will appreciate that. i dont know wether this idea work with you or not
and i want you and all people here to tell me how is my english now ?? is it good enough?
if no body understand what i write then i will know that my english still need more improve to make me a biggener
thank you

@hodifa
Your English is quite clear and understandable. I'm sure sure if you speak with a native English speaker you will soon speak very naturally. : )

thank you for your encouragement, i am looking for any one around here but it is quite difficult here this why i start looking for frinds in the Internet

thanks again Mr. Maths

مرحبا,

. فكرة جيد

But I don't have a lot of time now for speaking. Thank you. I will let you know in the future. :)

ok thank you anyway,,, i will be waitting for you

@James123: I think YouTube may be our very present help in times of need. Try, eg http://bit.ly/jAIQ4k.

Russians laugh at my handwriting too. Fortunately they very rarely get subjected to it.

Edward, since you are learning arabic with another LingQ language, did you find any way to make google translate pronounce your flashcard word in arabic instead of the 'other' LingQ language ? Is there any way we could explore this option. Since google translate already has this option pretty much figured out, it would be just be a matter of expanding the drop down menu's on to make for a correct pronounciation IMHO. Maybe we can get Steve to chime in on this.
Thx in advance

On Windows and Chrome, I right-click the "speaker" icon on the flashcard and then left-click "open in new window". Then I get a black audio player window. The URL of that window has an "it" in it which represents the language the player is being told to pronounce. I change that to "ar", press enter, and the player plays the Arabic translation. I am using the Italian slot for Arabic.

On Ubuntu and Firefox the "speaker" icon is just a picture, it is not a link to anything. I am not sure why. In that case I just keep the google translate window open and copy-paste.

Both are not great solutions. I wonder if there is a way to tweak the source code on the flashcard page to make it work.

Thanks Dooo !

Will try it this evening and report back.

Tried it. It works great! Thanks again!

"Bilingual online dictionary"

English /Arab

http://www.wordreference.com/aren/

http://tinyurl.com/5uzf922

Here is an update:

I am still in the beginner stages, still making lots of mistakes decoding the script, still learning basic words, but I am enjoying myself.

One of the objectives of this exercise was to refine my outlook on learning languages by trying a completely unfamiliar one from scratch. I just want to mention one revelation for me.

Until recently, I was very dependent on transliteration of the sounds of Arabic words. I needed to see the vowels written out since they are so often omitted or variable. I would put a transcription in every Hint.

What I have come to realise is that I do not need to do that, despite the inherent vagueness of the script. Instead I prefer to listen to 10 to 20 second dialogs over and over while looking at the words, either in the lesson or as flashcards, and train my ear to hear the word I am focusing on as part of flash-carding. I find this much more satisfying and I think I learn just as quickly.

Now I am going to start Chinese for a while just to test this out. No pinyin for me,... just training my audio memory :)

For me, however, I think every Arabic country has far too many vocabularies which quite different from another one. In addition, you keep in mind that every Arabic country has its own accent. On top of that, if you make a comparison between the accents of the countries whose native language are English, you will spot that they are quite different . And likewise, Arab countries, whose languages are Arabic.

Hi @ dooo,

Good idea. I had started that way myself with Chinese some time ago. I might just get back to it!

One thing that didn't seem to come up in this thread is that to learn "Arabic" in terms of the 4 competencies (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) you really have to learn two somewhat distinct languages. Modern Standard Arabic (based on Quranic Arabic) is used as a sort of lingua franca for formal written communication (newspapers, legal texts, etc.). It is also used in formal spoken contexts such as newscasts, speeches, etc. However, as some have pointed out the pronunciation will vary according to the speakers country of origin.

In contrast, the language spoken on the street is very different than formal Arabic. In some countries, the spoken language is more similar to the formal than others. Morrocan Arabic, for example is practically an entirely different language, while Levantine Arabic is much closer. As someone mentioned above, people rarely converse in MSA. I would say the exception is when you have two Arabic speakers from different countries. For example, I have a Morrocan and Egyptian friend who converse mostly in MSA.

What does this mean for a language learner? Most formal Arabic programs suggest beginning with MSA because it give you a foundation in the language which will then help you learning a spoken dialect. However, you will not learn to speak/understand anyone on the street, though you may understand the news. Likewise if you want to read learning a dialect won't help you much at all (unless you learn one of the dialects closer to MSA).

So, you really have to make a decision about what your goals are and choose the version of arabic that will give you the quickest results. Just keep in mind that unless you learn both MSA and a dialect, you'll be limiting yourself to either speaking or reading. Also, if you choose a dialect, you'll have to pick the region you want to focus on (Maghrebi, Egyptian, Levantine, etc.)

Of course, the above is a simplification, but it should help avoid some of the confusion at the beginning.

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