How Long Does It Take to Learn Arabic?

Many people who are planning to learn Arabic as a second language ask “How Long Does It Take to Learn Arabic?” The answers to this question will vary greatly, some of which will tell you that you will need around two years to learn Arabic; others may say that it usually takes around a year to master Arabic.

For us to be honest with you, we need to tell you that all of these answers can be true and false at the same time. This is because the amount of time that is needed for learning Arabic as a foreign language will differ greatly from one person to another and can depend on several factors.

Factors that affect the process of learning Arabic

Before you try reaching out to other Arabic learners asking how long did it take you to learn Arabic, you need to know that knowing the answer will be beneficial for you. The process of learning Arabic will be different for you.

The best thing that can be done to have a more accurate answer for “how long does Arabic take to learn” is to try estimating the amount of time you need based on the factors that affect the learning Arabic process. These factors include:

Your mother language

It may come out as a surprise for a lot of people, but your native language will have a great impact on the speed of learning Arabic. Languages can be categorized into groups due to their similarities.

Having a Semitic language as a mother language like Hebrew or Amharic will make it easier for you to learn Arabic as they share a lot of similarities and origins with Arabic. For example, if your mother language is French, it will be easier for you to start learning some of the Arabic dialects such as Moroccan or Algerian as they have a lot of common vocabulary of French origin.

Language learners with other Indo-European languages will have more difficulties learning Arabic. They will need more time and will have to put on more effort to learn Arabic. Their best option should be learning Modern Standard Arabic.

Your experience in language learning

The steps you go through when you learn a new language are usually the same. Therefore, having learned a language in the past will make you more capable of learning Arabic. This is because learning a language in the past will make you more familiar with seeing new symbols and letters and will make it easier to memorize new words.

Your knowledge of language grammar

Knowing and understanding the grammar and syntax of a language plays a key role in gaining professional proficiency in it. It will help you make well-structured and correct phrases that others can understand.

But did you know that knowing and understanding the grammar and syntax of a language can help you learn other languages. This works by letting you know about how languages work. Therefore, you will be able to improve your learning speed.

Your learning techniques

You already know that there are many ways that people use to learn Arabic. Some people go to an Arabic class, others may use learning Apps on their phones or computers, while some may even try to learn Arabic from books on their own.

Different learning methods deliver different results. When you choose a method that limits your use of Arabic, you will be learning Arabic at a slower base. Your Arabic language skills will develop slowly.

On the contrary, when your learning methods involve more practice like trying to read a magazine or watching a movie in Arabic, you will have better language skills in a shorter period of time.

The time you dedicate to learning

When learning a new language, your results will be directly proportional to the time you spend learning and practicing Arabic. In other words, the faster you want to learn the more study time you need.

The best strategy to reduce the amount of time needed to gain fluency in Arabic is daily practice and dedication of more hours per week to learning Arabic.

Your current level in Arabic

Knowing some basics of Arabic grammar and words can make it easier to learn Arabic. People who have learned a little bit of Arabic in the past or got some knowledge in Arabic from Arabic speaker friends can have an easier learning process compared to those who are learning from scratch.

How long to learn fluent Arabic?

Before asking “how long does it take to become fluent in Arabic?”, you need to know what being fluent in Arabic means. Maybe we should start with another question like “when can you say that you are fluent in Arabic?”

Fluency in Arabic does not mean that you will be able to recognize every Arabic word nor able to write in Arabic without any mistake. In fact, even Arabic native speakers cannot do that. 

You know you are a fluent speaker when you can speak Arabic fast and spontaneously without the need to translate the words in your head and when you can understand Arabic quickly without pausing to think about the meaning of the words.

Now we come back to the question of how long does it take to learn Arabic fluently. As we already said above, there is no clear answer to this question. The answer will change from one person to another depending on several factors like the amount of time spent studying Arabic.

But let us stop talking about time for a while. When someone asks how long does it take to be fluent in Arabic, we can form our answer in the terms of skills. You can become fluent in Arabic when you have advanced language skills of speaking, writing, and reading in Arabic.

How to improve your skills in and level of fluency in Arabic?

To reduce the time needed to improve your language skills and enhance language acquisition there are some tips that can be helpful.

  1. Practice your pronunciation: You need to have perfect pronunciation if you want others to be able to understand you clearly. This can be achieved with constant practice.
  2. Read more: When you read more books and magazines, you will learn more words and enrich your vocabulary list. With a larger vocabulary list, you will be able to express yourself easily.
  3. Choose the right words: Although you can find several words that have the same meaning, you need to understand that not all of them can be used in every case. When you talk to others, you must select the proper word that will help you deliver the right message.
  4. Focus on listening: You know you are fluent in Arabic when native Arabic speakers do not have to speak slowly for you. To achieve this, you need to listen to more Arabic audio until your ear gets used to the sound of Arabic.
  5. Learn and understand grammar: Grammar and syntax are important as they help you form correct sentences. When you know the right form of the sentence, you will be able to speak and write things that others can understand quickly and effortlessly.

How long to learn the Arabic alphabet?

Whether you start the process of learning Arabic by learning the alphabet or not, you will need to learn every letter of the Arabic alphabet if you are planning to learn how to read and write in Arabic.

The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 different letters that are used to form every word in Arabic. But before you come asking “how long does it take to learn the Arabic alphabet” you need to know that learning the Arabic alphabet will not make you able to read and write Arabic words instantly.

Let us start by saying that learning the Arabic alphabet is easy. You can learn the Arabic letters in a few hours and you will be able to say the name of each one and recite them in order. But learning how to pronounce Arabic words is a different story.

The names of the Arabic letters are somehow different from their sounds. To learn how to read Arabic letters, you need to know how each letter is pronounced. To make things a little more complicated, you need to know some symbols need to be present on the letters to guide you to the correct pronunciation.

That is not everything about the Arabic Alphabet. You also need to know that each Arabic letter has different shapes depending on the position of the letter in the word. Basically, there are three different shapes:

  1. The shape of the letter at the beginning of the word
  2. The shape of the letter in the middle of the word
  3. The shape of the letter at the end of the word

Knowing all these shapes is essential to learn Arabic reading and writing.

How to learn and understand the Arabic alphabet fast?

There are several ways to help you get familiar with the Arabic Alphabet and be able to read the words you do not already know.

  1. Learn the sound of the letter along with the name: The sound of the letter is the way it is pronounced. When you learn it, you will be able to know how it is pronounced wherever you see it. There are plenty of audio materials over the internet that can help you listen to the correct sounds of the letters.
  2. Learn the sound of the letter with diacritics: Diacritics are like light vowels. Therefore, they have a big impact on pronunciation. Learning them is important, since changing one diacritic on a word can change its meaning.
  3. Learn all the shapes of the letters: Most students learn the alphabet with the isolated form only. Therefore, they cannot recognize the other shapes when they see them in words. Arabic writing and Arabic reading both require you to know every shape of each letter.
  4. Do not try to learn all the Arabic letters at once: Arabic has 28 letters in the alphabet. Trying to process them all at the same time will get you confused. The best thing you can do is to divide the Arabic alphabet into smaller groups and master the letters in each group before moving on to the other one.

So how long does it take to learn the Arabic alphabet if you followed these steps? There is no accurate answer but if you put enough effort, you can learn and master them in about two weeks.

If you are wondering about how long will it take to learn how to read and write in Arabic? We can assure you that you can start reading and writing in Arabic as soon as you learn the Arabic alphabet. You should not expect to read and write like a native Arabic speaker at first. You will have to read and write slowly at the beginning, but within a few months and with good practice and enough time, you will get better.

Another question Arabic teachers hear a lot regarding this subject is how long to learn Arabic script? The answer here is when you learn how to read new words and have enough vocabulary to understand the meaning from the context even with the presence of some new words you do not know.

How long to learn Arabic grammar?

We can all agree that Arabic grammar can be somehow complicated. But it can be especially harder for English learners because it has different grammar. For example, In Arabic, the verb comes before the subject, not the opposite.

Therefore, it can take from a few months to over a year to learn all the grammar. The amount of time needed depends on the level of skills you aim for and the effort you put into learning and practicing the language.

How hard is Arabic to learn?

The first question that might come to your mind when you decide to learn Arabic would be: “Is Arabic hard to learn?” I guess we all know that Arabic is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn for foreigners. But even with that being said, you need to know that Arabic is not impossible to learn.

Knowing that can make you a little confused and even make you ask how hard is Arabic to learn? Or Is Arabic easy to learn? And the answer is: It depends.

When you are a native English speaker or have an Indo-European language as a mother language, you will find Arabic hard to learn. You will have to learn a different alphabet and different grammar. For others, it can be somehow easier to learn Arabic.

What makes Arabic hard to learn?

  1. It is written from right to left: Since it is written from right to left, it can be confusing to some people who are used to writing in the opposite direction.
  2. Letters have different shapes: Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, each of which has two or three shapes. Therefore you will end up with many shapes and symbols to process.
  3. Arabic has some sounds that are not available in other languages.
  4. Diacritics can be confused with Arabic vowels for beginners.
  5. Some Arabic letters may seem similar as they have the same shape with a different number of dots. This can create confusion for beginners and make it more challenging to memorize the letters.

Just remember that Learning Arabic is not yet impossible! You just need to go step by step mastering one skill after the other.

How much time should I spend learning Arabic a day?

You should not be asking how much time should I spend learning Arabic a day? This is not the right question. What you need to ask about is “If I study every day, how long does it take to learn Arabic?”

The time you spend learning Arabic involves the study time, practice time, and the hours of homework. And since every one of us has a lot of things going on in our lives, you have to decide the average time you are willing to spend learning Arabic.

Now if you have to learn Arabic quickly, and have to travel to an Arabic country soon, you may need to spend more time studying, and 8 hours per day study plan will be the best for you.


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