Learning a language can be challenging. Below is our list of study tips. We also recommend visiting the Language Learning Advisor, who has a much more comprehensive list and some really great ideas to help.

1. Be aware of your point of view. If your point of view is that learning Arabic, a language or anything is hard, then that is what will show up. So take the point of view that learning Arabic is fun and easy. Want to know more? Check out this article What if study were fun and success easy?

2. Relax and enjoy yourself. You will be much more successful if you are. If you really can't relax and you find that you are overly stressed or depressed at your lack of progress, then find something else to learn and enjoy yourself.

3. Find the method that suits you. Everyone has their own style. Some have a visual memory and need to see words written down before they can remember them. Others need to hear words, or use them in conversation before they are lodged in their brain (that's me). Simply, there's no point in sitting in a course or using material that does not suit your style.

4. Get the right tools. Downloading our course book and audio materials is a good start. You could also use a dictionary, a grammar book, and a phrase book or two, a small notebook to carry with you to jot down new words, and access to authentic material, including newspapers, magazines, books, and DVDs (my favourite was TV soap operas).

5. Meet the right people. If you are not studying in the Middle East, make a native Arabic speaking friend. If you are studying in an Arabic speaking country, make sure you associate with people who don't want to practice their English on you. Join a club or work part time (or volunteer) somewhere where you will need to use the language and can make friends. You will have a common, understood interest which will make conversations much easier.

6. Make it a habit. Do a little (or a lot!) every day. Take your notebook and dictionary with you everywhere and jot down, or look up words you don't understand. If you can get a small electronic dictionary, hang it around your neck and use it all the time. It worked a treat for me.

7. Be totally immersed. Don't speak English or spend time on the internet reading English websites or watching English TV. Find enjoyable Arabic alternatives.

8. Do not be afraid of mistakes. Making mistakes when you speaking, reading or writing means that you are actually speaking, reading or writing. Practice is the best way to learn and improve.

9. Be aware it’s a different way of thinking. Sometimes you may not comprehend something not because you don’t know the Arabic words, but because the point of view is different to the one you know. Be as open as you can to new or different ways of thinking about everything.
We are delighted to announce that after several years of special request from a particular US university, we have managed to publish our book in paperback WITHOUT the script/answer key.

So if you're a teacher who prefers your students don't have easy access to the answers, this is for you.

The paperback is published via Lulu.com with direct links from our site here.
After nearly four years of being out of (real paper) print, we are delighted to announce that Syrian Arabic is again available in paperback via Lulu.com.

When you order, make sure you get the version that suits your needs. We have two versions:
  • the full edition and
  • the student edition (which does not contain the script/answer key). 
Double check your order when you buy to make sure you have the right one! Order direct from our site here.
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    Hi there!

    I'm a former diplomat seeing what I can do to help make the world a more fun place.

    In 1995-98 I lived in Egypt and Syria, where I wrote Syrian Colloquial Arabic. 

    Now I live between Korea and Australia, with my Korean sculptor husband and our three children.

    For more information about what I'm up to now please visit 



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