Is Motivation Enough?

دافِع

root: د-ف-ع / active participle of form I / plural: دَوافِع / definition: incentive, motive


I think it’s now been over eight months since my last Arabic lesson at university, which feels very odd to think about. It’s almost felt like I’ve just been on a long summer break this whole time, with that abstract “September” forever flying off further into the distance.

This stretch of time, though, has opened up some space for reflection and self-evaluation.

One major reassurance for me is the fact that I still have the motivation to study or revise Arabic–in one form of another–every day. But that has raised a question in my mind: is motivation enough?

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Different Ways to Learn Vocabulary Through Association

عَلاقة

root: ع-ل-ق / noun / plural: علاقات or عَلائق / definition: association, relation, connection


There are some words in your target language that will cling on in your memory and others that will dig in their heels and refuse to go any further than the “vaguely familiar” section of your brain.

For those stubborn words, you’re going to have to put in a little more effort to help them migrate to your long-term memory. And one of the most effective ways to do that is through the technique of association.

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Small but Useful Arabic Phrases That You Need To Know

مُفيد

root: ف-ي-د / adjective / definition: useful, beneficial


As much as most of us, as Arabic students, love to learn all sorts of complex and specific vocabulary, knowing the small, simple stuff that fills up sentences is really important too.

So, below, I’ve made a fairly compact list of small but useful Arabic phrases that you’ll find to be really common:

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The Best Arabic Podcast I’ve Found So Far

اِستِماع

root: س-م-ع / verbal noun of form VIII / definition: listening


Listening skills are essential to build when you’re learning a language. But for many students, it can be hard to find listening resources that are: (a) at the right level and (b) interesting enough to maintain your focus.

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The Dialect Dilemma

مُعْضِلة

root: ع-ض-ل / noun / plural: مُعضلات or مَعاضِل / definition: dilemma


Imagine studying a language for years in a classroom. You can give presentations and write essays in that language (with moderate reliance on the dictionary), and you can read newspaper articles and understand the news (with, realistically, slightly more reliance on said dictionary).

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The Importance of Getting Things Wrong

خَطَأ

root: خ-ط-ء / noun / plural: أخطاء / definition: mistake, error


It’s happening again. A wave of fear crashes down mercilessly upon the trembling students. Eyes dart desperately, frantically, around the room. One student scrambles out of class, mumbling something about needing the bathroom. The sky darkens. Another pretends to drop their pen as an excuse to seek refuge under the desk. A lifeless pigeon falls past the window. Everyone has suddenly developed an obsessive interest in the colour of the margins on their paper—

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Treasures in Translation

تَرجَمة

root: ت-ر-ج-م / noun / plural: تَراجِم / definition: translation


Last week, a friend and I visited this charming little coffee shop in Central London. Maybe it was the dimly-lit, cosy atmosphere or maybe it was the ludicrously overpriced hot chocolate that elicited some serious life contemplation, but either way: as Arabic graduates, our conversation (like always) naturally drifted back to the language.

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How to Use (and Love) the Hans Wehr Dictionary

قاموس

root: ق-م-س / noun / plural: قَواميس / definition: dictionary


If I had started this blog for the purpose of sharing only a single post, it would be this one.

You would only have to be studying Arabic for a short while before you’d hear the name “Hans Wehr” flying at you from all angles, and perhaps you’d wonder whether Professor Wehr is an elusive lecturer you have so far failed to bump into in the university corridors.

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The Hardest Advice to Give… And Take

نَصيحة

root: ن-ص-ح / noun / plural: نَصائِح / definition: (piece of) advice


The hardest advice to give is probably the one that you have to give yourself—which is why I have (…reluctantly) forced myself to write this out and confront the truth eyes-to-screen.

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Four Simple Tips to Improve Your Essay Writing Skills in Arabic

مَقالة

root: ق-و-ل / noun / plural: مَقالات /definition: essay, article


So, you’ve studied Arabic for a while now. Simple sentences are old news (i.e. you’re silently pleading for your teacher not to go over jumlah ismiyyah yet again) and you’ve got a decent collection of relevant words all memorised. So you’re all set when your teacher asks you to write an essay about the topic in Arabic…right?

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