How to Improve Your Arabic Accent?
Learning Arabic as a second language means that you will have to learn a few new sounds that you do not probably have in your native language, and have some time to get used to the pronunciation of the words in Arabic.
As an Arabic learner, you will have an accent that is affected by your mother language at the beginning. But with hard work, and good training, you can improve your Arabic accent and speak as if you are a native Arabic speaker.
How to improve Arabic accent?
When you decide to learn Arabic, you do it to be able to communicate with native Arabic people easily in their language. Therefore, it may be upsetting and frustrating for you to see that your accent may cause them to have difficulties understanding you.
However, if you use this frustration as a motivation, you can improve your pronunciation and speak fluently just like a native speaker.
But before you start, it is vital to know that there is no easy road to help you get to the point of hearing someone complimenting your Arab accent. You need to work hard on developing your Arabic accent.
Techniques for improving your Arabic accent?
Even after a lot of Arabic courses and hours of studying Arabic, you may still have people asking you to repeat what you say to them to understand you. The thing is, it is not only about working hard but also about practicing the right way.
So, in case you are wondering about how to improve your Arabic accent, here are some tips and advice for you.
- Read more, and read out loud
Reading more will help you get used to the Arabic language. It will help you recognize all of the Arabic letters in all of their forms and teach you more phrases and contexts that you may need when speaking.
However, the effect of reading on your speaking skills and your accent will not be clear unless you speak out loud. Reading out loud will let you train your tongue on the correct pronunciation, which makes it an important step on the road to Arabic fluency.
- Learn words in context
We always talk about the importance of learning new vocabulary to gain fluency in Arabic. But even with larger vocabulary lists, you could find yourself losing words and unable to make a sentence.
To fix this issue, you are recommended to learn the new words in a good sentence. This way, you will be able to know how to use the words right, and this will make you able to speak smoothly and more confidently.
- Copy Native speakers
Copying native people or shadowing is a quite useful way to enhance your accent and sound like an Arabic speaker. Watch Arabic videos or listen to Arabic podcasts and try to repeat what they are saying. You will have better results if you record what you say and compare it to the original audio.
Recording yourself and comparing what you say to the original sound is important since your words always seem perfect when you say them in your head. This is a good way to listen to hear how they actually sound.
- Use the language and speak more
If you want to have excellent pronunciation, then you should not be afraid of making mistakes, nor feel shame about your accent. Always remember that you can not get better without making mistakes.
So, it is OK to hear people asking you to repeat what you said or speak slower because these conversations will be a step toward gaining fluency in Arabic.
If you do not have a lot of people to speak Arabic with, you should know that there are a lot of sites that allow you to chat or speak with foreigners from any country you want around the world. This can be a good opportunity to make new friends while learning Arabic.
- Speak Slowly
Since you are going to be learning and practicing new letters with unfamiliar sounds, you should speak slowly. Speaking slowly will help your muscles practice the correct moves that are needed to make the right sound, and with time as you get used to it you will gain the ability to pronounce the same words fast.
- Increase the speed with time
After you get used to pronouncing the letters, you should move to the next step and increase the speed of your speech gradually. Make sure your words come out clear and easy for others to understand.
How to speak in an Arabic accent?
The accent is something a lot of foreign students worry about; therefore, you will find a lot of them asking questions like, how to read Arabic without accents? Or how to fake Arabic accent?
Before we can help you and give you some tips to improve your pronunciation, let us ask first why do language learners have accents? And is having an accent bad?
Accents are the result of students coming through new sounds that do not exist in their languages. For example, the letter “ع” is a letter that English speakers do not have a sound that matches it in their language. So, when an English speaker tries to say a word that contains the letter “ع” he/she will pronounce it in a way that makes it sound like something from their alphabet.
In general, this can be OK as native speakers can understand what you are saying most often when you can pronounce other letters fluently. But if your goal is to speak just like the native Arabic speaker and to get rid of your accent completely, then you need to identify the sounds you have a problem with and practice them more.
Constant practice and immersing yourself in the Arabic language are the keys to speaking a perfect Arab Accent. However, this may take time and require a lot of hard work.
How to speak Arabic easily?
When you learn a new language, you will have two problems regarding speaking. The first one is that you will have difficulties pronouncing the words as you do not have enough knowledge about the letters and the sounds of the language. The other problem is that you do not have enough confidence in your speaking skills.
In order to be able to speak Arabic easily, you need to overcome both of those problems which are easier than you may think.
To learn the correct sounds, you can have a course to learn Arabic, watch learning videos online, or even learn Arabic on learning programs and apps. Either way, you will find the needed resources and learning materials to give you all the information that you need.
To boost your confidence and have more courage to speak Arabic with others, you should know that it is OK to make mistakes and that you can learn from making a mistake. Plus, you can practice speaking out loud in front of the mirror to improve your speaking skills.
How to perfect your Arabic pronunciation?
Learning the proper pronunciation is something important when you learn a new language no matter what it is. However, when you are learning Arabic it is essential to know the language.
What makes perfect pronunciation more important in Arabic is that there are a lot of words that have the same letters while having another different meaning when you change the pronunciation.
This means that bad pronunciation can prevent you from delivering your thought to others and make it harder to communicate with others.
Now that we know how important it is to have perfect pronunciation, let us help you improve your Arabic accent and have better pronunciation with a few tips and advice.
- Start with learning the Alphabet with perfect pronunciation
If you want to have an accent that is similar to what native speakers have, then you start with the basics. And what is better than the alphabet to start with when learning the Arabic language?
Here you should focus on both the shapes and the sounds of the letters, as you need them both when you want to read Arabic and you need to read to practice the language. After that, you should study how Arabic diacritics affect the pronunciation of each letter since diacritics can guide you to the correct pronunciation.
- Use the numbers to help you
We already mentioned that the Arabic language has some sounds that are not present in the English language. But if you are not able to use English letters to represent these sounds, this does not mean that there is no way to do it.
One of the most common ways to do this is to use some numbers to represent some of the sounds. This is somehow similar to using phonetics in English.
For example, you can use the numbers like the following:
- The number 3 represents the letter (ع): This letter has no similar sound in English. Therefore, Arabic students can pronounce it after they gain fluency in Arabic.
- The number 6 represents the letter (ط): It is similar to the letter T but has an emphatic sound.
- The number 7 represents the letter (ح): This letter is similar to the letter (هـ) and has a sound that is close to the letter (H). The sound of this letter is similar to the sound you make after drinking a refreshing clod drink after being really thirsty.
- The number 8 represents the letter (ق): This one has a sound that is close to the letter K or Q but with a more exaggerated sound.
- The number 5 represents the letter (خ): There is nothing similar to this letter in the English alphabet, but it is present in the German language for example in the name of the famous composer Bach.
- Choose the dialect that you need to learn
It is important to know that there are various Arabic accents and dialects. Therefore, if you are planning on traveling to a specific Arabic country or living in one, you should focus on learning the most common dialect in it.
If you are going to the United Arabic Emirates, for example, you should learn the Gulf dialect or Dubai dialect. You can find a lot of educational videos on YouTube if you want to learn the Gulf dialect. Plus, there are a lot of videos from people from the UAE talking in their native dialect. And of course, the same applies to other Arabic dialects.
- Practice pronouncing Arabic words over and over
Having perfect pronunciation is not easy, you need to practice pronunciation as much as you can and as soon as possible. There are several ways to train yourself such as:
- Using learning Apps
Many apps that teach Arabic provide the user with lessons to practice speaking. Depending on your level of experience in the Arabic language, you may practice saying some words or a whole sentence.
A lot of these apps will let you hear your pronunciation to help you compare it to the original and they also might use sound recognition to assess your pronunciation and ask you to repeat the word again if you are pronouncing it wrong.
There are plenty of apps that offer these features like AlifBee app that can be a perfect way for Arabic learners to improve their Arabic accent.
- Using YouTube lessons
You can find a lot of lessons that can teach you how to pronounce Arabic letters. Since YouTube is free and available to everyone, you can use these videos to practice whenever you feel like it and without having to have a subscription.
On top of these educational learning videos, you can find plenty of other videos in Arabic with a clear accent that can be easy to copy.
- Listen well
To have better pronunciation, you need to work on your listening skills. When you learn a new word, listen carefully to its pronunciation and try to recognize the letters in it. With enhanced listening skills, you can improve your speaking skills which are important to have a good Arabic accent.
- Learn the important Arabic vocabulary
Even though there are thousands of words in the Arabic language, you only need a few of them to communicate with other people. Learning the common phrases that you need to use in everyday life situations with the correct way of pronouncing them will make it easier for others to understand you. Therefore, you will be able to talk with native Arabic people.
Being able to talk to native Arabic speakers will help you practice speaking Arabic and allow you to listen to the correct pronunciation at the same time.
Is Arabic pronunciation hard to learn?
Whenever learning Arabic is mentioned, someone will state the fact that Arabic is one of the hardest languages to learn. But does this mean that pronouncing Arabic words is as hard as they say?
Well, to be honest with you, there are some sounds and words that will be hard to pronounce, and some words will be confusing for you, especially at the beginning. But the matter will get easier after a while with proper training.
However, you need to keep in mind that the pronunciation of some letters and Arabic sounds requires high speaking skills from Arabic learners, especially those with English as a mother tongue.
The hardest sounds in the Arabic language are:
- The letter (ض): This letter has a unique sound that you will not find in any other language. A lot of Arabic newbie speakers mistake it for the letter (د) which has the same sound as the letter D. However, they are very different as the letter ض has a quite heavy sound
- The letter (ق): To help Arabic learners distinguish this letter from the letter (ك) we use the letter Q to represent its presence. Some teachers will tell their students that this letter is similar to the sound the crow makes.
- The letter (ظ): This letter is somehow similar to the letter (ذ) but with a heavier sound.
- The letter (ص): It is the heavier version of the letter (S). While a lot of people may confuse this letter with the letter (س) that is pronounced just like the letter S, these two letters are a lot different.
Furthermore, there is the Arabic diacritics that sound like light vowels and can affect the pronunciation of the words and thereby their meanings.
Learning every language has its own difficulties and language learners always have trouble to master the accent of the language they are learning. Perfecting Arabic accent not only follows this general rule, but also has its own problems and difficulties since Arabic has many sounds the either are unique to this language, like the sound of the letter (ض), or have heavier sounds than that of similar English letters, like the sounds of the letters (ص), (ق) and (ظ).
Therefore, to be able to improve your Arabic accent you need to listen well to Arabic speakers and try to copy what they say. Listening well is the key for you to distinguish the sounds you are not used to.
Many apps can help you with perfecting Arabic accent, among which we can mention AlifBee that have plenty of materials to help you with the Arabic accent.