root: ب-د-ء / noun / plural: بدايات / definition: beginning, start
Starting is always the most difficult part, really: whether writing a blog or learning a language.
Thankfully, the days of using flashcards to learn the Arabic alphabet (and practising pronouncing ع and ح until my throat ached) are tucked away around five-years-deep in my vocab-cluttered memory.
And it’s now, armed with a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Linguistics and a consolidated addiction to language-studying, that I’ve decided to begin documenting my ongoing learning process.
So why is this 21-year-old Cypriot Londoner so passionate about Arabic? Well, that’s what I hope to answer through each post on The Arabic Pages where I’ll be sharing personal insights into the language and learning process, giving tips and recommendations, and explaining exactly why it is that I sit there in awe reading the Hans Wehr dictionary.
This blog, I hope, will also function as a platform for all of us Arabic-learners to connect; seek and share advice; and discuss the struggles of learning the language – basically, all things Arabic!
Whether you’re studying Arabic or another foreign language (or you simply prefer to admire languages from a distance), I’m sure you’ll find most of the posts here very relatable. (Grammar rule complexities and endless new vocabulary, anyone? *collective tearful sighs*).
And in case you clicked on this post for an answer to its title (how do I get started?), here’s my three quick Arabic-specific tips for those contemplating the (brilliant!!) decision to start studying the language:
- Alif, baa, taa! If you’re serious about learning the language properly, create a solid foundation by taking your time to master the Arabic script. It really will make everything a whole lot easier.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself: focus on making steady progress and don’t stress about how much you don’t know (there’s honestly no rush, the language isn’t going to run away). Make sure to celebrate your achievements too; we often disregard just how amazing it is that what we used to perceive as strange, incomprehensible symbols are now being processed by our minds into sounds and meanings.
- Find your “why?”: Identify your reason(s) for learning the language and keep a goal in mind – whether that’s reading the obscure Arabic novel you once heard about or even your Ibn-Battuta-inspired travel aspirations. Language learning is never going to be a smooth road, so you’re going to need some strong motivation along the journey.
Ahh, beginning wasn’t too bad after all. Don’t forget to say hello 👋 in the comments, introduce yourself, and tell us what language-learning tips you have for beginners.
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Bye! مع السَلامة
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