Building Vocabulary, Not Grammar, Main Priority for Arabic Language Students


When you are studying a new language, where should you start? Some people would suggest that a good understanding of the grammar rules would be important so that you understand how the language is structured and you know how to put sentences together properly. At London Arabic Tuition, we would suggest a much different approach to learning the Arabic language.

In our years of teaching students how to speak Arabic, we have found that putting the focus on grammar rules at the beginning only makes students frustrated and discouraged when they start their learning process. When learning any language, there will be grammar rules that a student is unfamiliar with. (Even native English speakers don’t know all the grammar rules perfectly.) When you factor in the exceptions that exist to grammar rules, it seems like learning the Arabic language will take years of effort,

Quick brown fox

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If a program focused almost exclusively on grammar rules but did not provide enough vocabulary, students would not be able to practice what they have learned.

Grammar Focus Bogs Down Learning to Speak Language

When attending language classes where the focus is on grammar, students learn to think about the structure of what they are saying far too much instead of learning to enjoy the language. Native speakers of Arabic, English, French or whatever language don’t stop to think about sentence structure when they take to someone; they simply speak.

If you are thinking about what you going to say, you are not speaking the language. You can either compose the words in your head, or you can speak, but you can’t do both. Taking time to think about how to structure your sentence interferes with the normal flow of conversation if your goal is to be able to communicate with someone in Arabic. You don’t want to be stumbling over choosing the correct verb tense when what you really should be focusing on is connecting with the person you are speaking to.

Focusing on Grammar Makes you a Passive Language Student

Students who start studying Arabic in university are introduced to the language from that type of institution’s approach to learning. The language is broken down and studied in theory. If you started learning at this level, you would be able to explain why a sentence was structured in a particular way or how verbs are conjugated. This is not the best place to learn conversational Arabic, since the university does not focus on that area.

Arabic discussion

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Learning Grammar Rules First Keeps you From Learning to Speak

Too much emphasis on grammar rules keeps you focused on written language. If you are going to really learn to speak a new language, you need to start speaking. It is the only way you will be able to become comfortable with it.

You will make mistakes when you are starting to learn to speak any new language, including Arabic. Unless your teacher can hear what you are saying and the way you speak, he or she cannot provide you with instruction on how to make changes to your pronunciation, sentence structure or whatever area you need assistance.

Build Vocabulary to Learn Conversation Skills

The grammar doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect to make yourself understood in conversation. You can work on polishing your words and your delivery over time.

You need to develop your vocabulary so that you can start communicating with other people. They may not notice minor grammatical errors in conversation. If you were to analyse the way native speakers of a language talk, you would probably find that they make grammatical errors as well. They are focused on speaking, not on their grammar.

Learn to Speak Arabic Quickly and Easily

At London Arabic Tuition, we understand that our students want to learn how to speak Arabic quickly. You don’t want to take a language study course where it will take you years to learn the language. We can teach you how to speak Arabic within a few short months.

All of our teachers are native Arabic speakers. They are patient and have a positive attitude with our students, and are happy to suggest ways that you can study at home to improve your spoken Arabic in between classes.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule your Arabic language course!

About Author

Omar Nassra

I am the owner of this school with over 10 years experience teaching Spoken Arabic. I have developed a system for teaching Arabic with some students becoming fluent within 5 months.

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