Lisan Arabi is an attempt to follow in the steps of Arab scholars who contributed to the heritage of humanity in the fields of science, art and sociology. As Lisan Arabi develops by time, it will be furnishing for your convenience some carefully selected and graded materials which will include explanations on grammar, syntax and semantics presented within a cultural frame that makes your acquaintance with Arabic more constructive and more contextual.

A variety of materials for all levels, from Absolute beginners and young learners to adults and very advanced university-level students, will be presented and practiced interactively online. In Lisan Arabi, students will be able to find and choose what they think, or we recommend, useful to enhance and facilitate their learning process and their acquaintance with the culture that influenced and was influenced by the language. Lisan Arabi offers and it is you who selects.

To learn Arabic does not mean to comprehend every single thing about it. So, please relax and do not get frustrated by what you might think ‘too much’; this ‘too much’ might be what other learners are looking for. Instead, look for what is tailored to suit your level and take it from there to expand your knowledge and practice of Arabic. In addition, because Lisan Arabi does not believe in labelling learners, it will carefully select, grade and present the material for everyone, so you can decide your place and evaluate your progress by your own self; you will take the lead. Do not worry if you feel lost, we will always try to be there to help. However, Lisan Arabi must assure you it is not about making Arabic easier for learners. But rather, it is about presenting Arabic in various ways that talk to your multiple intelligences and your various learning styles.

 Actually, learning a language is a challenging mission. Lisan Arabi believes that ‘easy come easy go’. Therefore, instead of avoiding some challenges about Learning Arabic, we face them and try to make them simpler, more comprehensible and more accessible till they have become familiar to the learner. Learning Arabic as a foreign language is a hard task and requires in the first place commitment and personal efforts especially for a learner who does not live in an Arabic speaking country.

Lisan Arabi is not at all about teaching the dialects (Colloquial Arabic) that emerged from Arabic. Lisan Arabi introduces and focuses on Arabic as it is used in the media and in books, mainly the Holy Quran. In other words, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is what strictly Lisan Arabi introduces and promotes. Learning MSA is the skeleton for the body of Arabic upon which the students can put whatever topics and secondary dialects they would like to develop and learn in the future. Therefore, Lisan Arabi provides the students with both the skeleton of the language structure and the skills and resources that enable them to dress this skeleton with what they believe is convenient to their future plans. In fact, our students and clients become partners in the process rather than part of it.

Our approach depends mainly on minimizing Mother Language Interference (MLI). However, the approach in Lisan Arabi will be based on using assimilation between English and Arabic grammar when possible and convenient. The differences and the similarities are both highlighted and appreciated when it is useful. However, this is not a comparative study but as long as the medium to introduce Arabic is English, we will be using English grammar and translation sometimes to make Arabic more accessible and comprehensible. However, although we always respect the students’ needs and what they intend to learn, the nature of Arabic is considered an important factor that determines what and how we teach it as the Target Language (TL). Target Language itself (its logic, its binding phonetic and structure rules and its cultural input) should be appreciated, the medium and the environment must be considered when the plan of the learning process is discussed with the students. Learning to communicate in Arabic in a European country by joining a course (two hours per week) for two or three months where the teacher focuses on sets of sentences that the students memorize and repeat, is a waste of effort, money and time . No sooner has the course finished than the students are left with these very limited expressions and vocabulary. With the lack of proper every day exposure to TL, these expressions fade away and the students start to struggle finding equivalent and alternative resources to keep what they have learnt alive. This very popular method in teaching a foreign language usually ignores the communicative grammatical aspect which is what the students could use to enjoy the creative aspect of any human language. Hardly are the students trained to be productive. They receive rather than they use the information they learn.

Hence, Lisan Arabi tries to provide the students with the basic grammar of Arabic through reading as the main skill which they can use to keep practicing and exploring the language. Once the students have mastered the basic unites of the the communicative grammar of TL, they are guided to produce their own. While they are reading they will practice word attack skills and text attack skills. Based on their understanding of the structure within a contextual frame, they will use substitution skills to make their own sentences and expressions. Meanwhile the students will be acquiring new vocabulary. Lisan Arabi tries ‘to teach students how to catch fish, rather than giving them a fish everyday.’ When the course finishes, the students will have gained the skills to keep them in contact with the written world of the language. In Lisan Arabi, reading has an advantage over other language skills. It is the the receptive skill that gives the students the chance to be their own teachers when they leave the classroom. Reading enables you to read simple signs, do simple quizzes, read books and newspapers, browse Arabic websites and read the Quran. Depending on reading, the challenge arises from the lack of exposure is massively minimized. Furthermore, reading is a student controlled process. The student can choose the time, place and the material. The student controls the pace of their reading especially when they encounter a key word and they need to look it up in a dictionary, an activity which they cannot do when they hear or even listen to someone speak or when they watch an Arabic movie or programme. Reading, therefore, is the core of our methodology in Lisan Arabi, the core from which all skills branch out and develop. In the future, in sha’ Allah, there will be more publications about this topic.

In spite of the fact that Lisan is a new born, it aims at being one of the best websites that offers services about Arabic language and culture. As, we believe that ‘life is a learning process’, we admit that Lisan Arabi will not be able to provide everything you expect at one time. Depending on everyone’s contributions, we will be able to enrich our database, knowledge and experience. Lisan methodology focuses on sharing a knowledge rather than teaching it. We will be sharing the development of the methodology about introducing Arabic. As we increase our database of worksheets, presentations and resources we will carefully study and consider your comments and criticism. Eventually, the success of the project and the usefulness of it is what we aim at.

Welcome to Lisan Arabi