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What to expect from the course

Note: We still have some finishing touches to make to the course but please start to use it, we hope it is useful, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Use the Contents at the end of each page to jump between sections.

Who are we?

Lingo Arabico, who are we?

We teach spoken Levantine Arabic (Lebanese/Syrian/Palestinian/Jordanian). Our mission is to bring innovative, fun, and modern teaching methods from the world of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) to spoken Arabic education. At our heart, we are a social enterprise – providing opportunities for Arabic speaking people in challenging environments across the world and donating any profits to communities.

Who wrote this course?

This course was led by Director Tom and it’s contents are what we (as native English speakers) wish we’d known starting our language learning/acquisition journey. It is informed and compiled with the support of some dear friends and experienced Arabic language educators who you will see throughout the course.

Course basics

What will this course teach you?

 The ‘Levantine Arabic Alphabet Course’ will teach you to understand, read, write, and speak the Arabic alphabet. More specifically, the course will teach you the dominant pronunciation used in spoken Lebanese and Syrian Arabic dialects, also known as the (Northern) Levantine dialect. This is close to, but slightly different from the southern Levantine dialects of Palestine and Jordan.

This Levantine focus distinguishes our course from most others that focus on Classical Arabic pronunciation (also referred to as Fusha or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)).

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for total beginners of the Arabic language. By the end students will be able to slowly pronounce and read words with a Lebanese/Syrian accent. If you have a background in Classical Arabic, this course will benefit your understanding of Lebanese and Syrian Arabic and can be completed more quickly (see the question below too).

Which sections will be useful if I have already studied Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)?

The pronunciation and examples throughout this course are provided in the Northern Levantine (Lebanese/Syrian) dialect, so listening to the video and audio content for differences in pronunciation and to a lesser extent orthography (spelling), would be a good starting point.

Start with the following letters which differ meaningfully from MSA: ث ذ ظ ق ة. The harder task is listening for vowel variations that are poorly served by the Arabic script. So pay attention to vowels throughout.

Do I need a teacher, or is this course for self-study?

This course is intended to be self-studied; all the answers and recordings are contained within the course. We are happy to put you in touch with some highly recommended tutors if you would like to try out your pronunciation, and we are always here for any questions you may have!

Why is the Arabic Alphabet important for speaking Arabic?

Some courses teach Levantine Arabic with the Latin alphabet (which you may have seen with numbers amongst Latin letters, like ‘y3ani’) or don’t bother with writing at all! We think this is a mistake.

Learning the Arabic script makes you focus on the distinct sounds, rhythms, and patterns of Arabic. It also allows you to read menus, signs, and many other objects you will encounter should you visit Arabic speaking countries. Should you later decide to focus on Classical Arabic, knowing how to read in the Arabic script will give you a big head start.

We believe understanding the Arabic alphabet is a crucial foundation for your Arabic language journey, so we have developed this as a standalone course.

Course organisation

How is the course organised?

We begin with the easiest letters for a native English speaker to pronounce, followed by the harder ones. The shape of the letters will be introduced with their sounds. As more letters are introduced you will be encouraged to recognise and reproduce strings of letters and words together, so soon you will be able to say, hear, read, and write your first words in Arabic!

Will we teach you to hand write?

The Levantine Arabic Alphabet Course gives you the option to write the Arabic script by hand or to write only on phones, computers, or tablets. We recommend that you start off with pen and paper to help internalise the shapes, but then it is up to you which writing input method you choose.

How will we introduce each letter?

When we introduce each letter in this course, we will include its:

  • name
  • pronunciation
  • shapes
  • example words

Once you have had a read through each letter’s explanation on your own, we will then include a video with explanations, correct pronunciations, opportunities for you to repeat etc.

Additionally, there may be:

  • exercises
  • cultural notes
  • linguistic or grammatical explainers
  • memory aids
Can I use the course on my tablet or mobile?

The course is designed to be accessible across all platforms: desktop, tablet, and mobile. However, some information is best displayed in tables which are hard to get right in mobile web design. So if you can, we recommend that you use a desktop or tablet for the course.

Is there a pdf or e-book version?

No. Both the e-book and pdf formats suffer from several drawbacks as they:

  • cannot easily handle audio or video
  • go out of date if we add extras or corrections (once in circulation)
  • do not allow us to protect our intellectual property

Teaching style

What learning style do we advocate?

Recognising and reproducing Arabic’s new sounds is harder than starting to read or write for most of our students. Therefore, we spend more time on listening and pronunciation than most other reading and writing oriented courses, usually aimed at those learning Classical Arabic.

Will there be any grammar or linguistics in this course?

The focus of the Lingo Arabico Alphabet Course is to master the sounds and shapes of the letters, and the most frequently used words, without a grammatical or linguistic background. 

However, for the grammar nerds amongst us, we do include some footnotes throughout this course with extra linguistic, grammatical, and cultural details.