How long does it take to learn the Arabic alphabet?

If you’re about to start learning Arabic you’re probably wondering how long it’s going to take you before those squiggles (ie Arabic words) look like more to you than just squiggles.

How long before you can look at an Arabic word and pronounce it? (You may not necessarily know the meaning, but at least be able to say the word in Arabic).

The short answer is – about 13 days. But read on to find out the most effective to achieve your goal.

The important thing to understand

Before you start learning to read the Arabic script, there’s one important distinction you need to understand – the difference between being able to recite the alphabet and being able to read. Let me explain…

You could spend not much time at all, perhaps 3 hours in one afternoon, learning to recite the alphabet. That is, you could memorise each of the 28 letters of the alphabet and say them in order (alif, ba, ta, tha, etc).

But, if you do this, it’s almost guaranteed that you still won’t be able to look at a word and pronounce it. If you’re wondering why, check out this blog post. The quick explanation is that Arabic letters in words look different to how they look written in their isolated forms. The sounds the letters make in words are different to the names of the letters.

The best way to learn the Arabic alphabet

The best way to approach learning the alphabet is to learn small groups of letters at a time and practise reading words that contain only letters from the small group you know so far. This way you gradually build up what you know, and the whole thing feels a lot more manageable. Arabic Reading Course teaches reading using this method and it’s by far the best ‘teach yourself’ website out there.

Arabic Reading Course contains 13 online lessons and it’s recommended to do one per day. So, the answer to how long is takes to be able to read Arabic, is as little as 13 days!

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