There are quite a lot of online programs aimed at teaching Arabic in general. Nevertheless it is important to keep in mind that this foreign language has quite a lot of different dialects. For some of these dialects the choice of online programs is larger, while for others it is smaller. Some of the most commonly taught dialects are MSA, Egyptian or Eastern Arabic.
Bellow you can find a list of online programs that are aimed at teaching one or more dialects of this foreign language. These courses were listed based on their features, price, feedback and my personal learning experience.
#1. Recommended Arabic Course Online – Rocket.
If you are just starting to learn Arabic, one of the most beginner friendly courses for you can be Rocket. Rocket Languages have a good reputation among online courses and it is being preferred by many learners.
While the main focus of Rocket courses is to teach learners how to communicate in foreign language, you can find material for learning writing and grammar as well. Rocket also provides quite a lot of information about Arabic culture. This can be a great advantage for Arabic learners who want to learn all aspects of this foreign language.
- Rocket Languages offers 6 days free trial lessons for any language. Hence you can try this Arabic online program for free and make sure that it is suitable for you;
- With Rocket course you can learn Egyptian dialect of Arabic. This dialect is one of the most widely understood dialects of this language. This is for a reason that Egyptian media (movies, tv and etc.) is widespread across Arabic countries;
- With this online program you can learn a lot about Arabic culture too. This is because Rocket includes extensive culture lessons;
- Users of Rocket can improve writing skills of this foreign language. It includes video based lessons for learning Arabic script,
- In case you have limited time for studying Arabic, Rocket can be very useful course for you. Audios in this course can be transferred to other devices. Also included apps allow you to access all material in the course and study on the go via different devices;
- If your main goal is to learn how to speak Arabic you will not be disappointed with Rocket program. This is mainly because audios are recorded by native Egyptian speaker so you can learn proper pronunciation. Also this course includes Rocket Record feature, which allows to record & compare pronunciation of Arabic words and phrases with a native speaker;
- Unlike most online based language learning programs, Rocket also includes material for studying Arabic grammar. So with this course you can improve all areas of this foreign language;
- Lessons in Rocket course are not too difficult to follow. This is because there are transcripts available in both Arabic and English. Also material is repeated and explained in detail. Consequently you will be able to understand everything that you are learning;
- Rocket can be a very useful language learning program for users who are studying Arabic for traveling purposes. This is mainly because it teaches essential Arabic phrases and words from the first lesson. Also culture lessons can help to learn how to communicate with local people better;
- Another great advantage of Rocket is that audios in this program are interactive. This means that you will need to say different phrases in Arabic out load. As a result you will be more prepared to speak this foreign language in real life situations;
- You will find quite a lot of programs and quizzes in Rocket for reinforcing studying material. Due to this learners are able to practice Arabic from different angles and increase retention rate;
- In order to keep learners motivated to study Arabic, Rocket program includes badges as well as leaderboard. These mentioned features help to keep track of your progress. Also it allows users to compare themselves to other learners;
- Phrase Finder feature in this program allows learners to use this course as a dictionary too. When searching for different Arabic words, this feature will provide you with meaning. Also it will give you examples of how it was used in different situations throughout the course;
- Rocket course comes together with free Survival Kit. It includes audios of essential Arabic phrases & words. This free material can help you learn how to pronounce the most essential vocabulary quickly;
- With Rocket program you will get access to a forum, which was specifically created for Arabic learners. There you will be able to share your experience with other learners or ask questions;
- You only need pay once for Rocket Arabic (99.95 USD) and it will give a lifetime access to this course together with upcoming future upgrades. This is a great benefit over programs that offer yearly subscriptions;
- Rocket Arabic is backed up by 60 days money back guarantee;
- There is only one part of Rocket available for Arabic. So learners can only achieve intermediate level at this language when studying;
- Rocket is mostly online based course. This means that it is necessary to have an internet connection in order to access all material and learn via this course. Even though it is possible to buy CD version of this program, it is quite expensive ($299.95);
- Users of Rocket program can find some material for learning Arabic grammar and writing. Nevertheless the main target of this course is to teach learners how to speak in this foreign language;
#2. Living Language Courses.
From the traditional courses the most popular series tend to be Complete. They contain 4 books, access to online learning material and also 9 audio CD’s. These particular series can be preferred by Arabic learners who have limited budget and need to achieve higher level at this foreign language.
For learners who have a bigger budget and need to study mostly while on the go, it might be worthwhile to consider Platinum series. It contains the same studying material as Complete series; however free app in this course makes it convenient to study via different devices online and it also includes free e-tutoring credits.
The Main Pros:
- Living Language includes material for studying all areas of Arabic language. So you can improve not only your speaking skills, but also learn grammar, writing, reading as well as listening;
- Living Language teaches MSA dialect (standard form of Arabic). It is mostly preferred by learners who are learning Arabic for educational purposes;
- It is possible to choose from 3 different Living Language courses for Arabic language – Platinum, Complete or Essential. There is also online version available for users who want to study on the move. So learners can choose a more suitable course based on their budget, preferred features and studying material;
- Living Language courses for teaching foreign languages were developed many years ago. For this reason they are tested by many users who rate them positively as well;
- It is not too difficult to follow Living Language lessons, because they are based on Building Block approach. What it means is that new Arabic words and other concepts are being introduced only in small parts. For this reason learners are able to understand everything and follow content easily;
- Living Language gives sufficient explanations in English language. So learners are able to understand new material, grammar, language structure and progress in Arabic with confidence;
- In addition to the main material in this course, Living Language also includes a free guide teaching Arabic script. This is great additional content for learners who want learn how to write in this foreign language;
- Living Language includes different multimedia for studying Arabic – books, audios, online quizzes & flashcards. Due to this learners tend to have high retention rate and study more efficiently on overall;
- This course includes some notes on Arabic culture. Knowing more about people speaking this language and their traditions, can greatly improve your ability to communicate with them;
- Living Language teaches essential Arabic phrases and words. Due to this these courses can be useful for travelers too;
- Coursebooks in Living Language come together with audio CD’s. Hence you can learn how to pronounce words & phrases correctly;
- Living Language is quite commonly complimented for its e-tutoring lessons. If you will choose Platinum version of this course, it will include 12 free e-tutoring credits. Alternatively they can also be also purchased separately on the official website;
- Complete edition of Living Language Arabic offers great value for money. You can buy it for $49.99 or less and it includes quite a lot of studying material. While online version of this course is not cheap, it can be ordered as one or three month subscription. This makes it affordable for most Arabic learners too;
The Main Cons:
- When compared with other courses, Living Language lacks more advanced features for improving Arabic speaking skills. Audio lessons in this course are not interactive and you can only improve your pronunciation by repeating speakers in the recordings;
- The main learning material in Living Language Arabic comes in a form of books. For this reason it is not the most convenient program for studying on the move. The alternative would be to buy online version of this course; however it is almost 3 times more expensive;
- Living Language pays a lot of attention to explanations, which is a good thing in most cases. Nevertheless it might be also quite difficult to immerse into Arabic language when studying via this course;
- At times online features of Living Language (quizzes, games and etc.) lacks engagement;
- It would be quite useful if Living Language online courses would have more advanced tracking. Currently you need to finish the whole lesson so that it would be marked as completed;
#3. Pimsleur Audio Lessons.
In case you are learning Arabic for communication purposes, it might be worthwhile to consider Pimsleur audio lessons. Studying material in this course doesn’t cover Arabic writing or much of grammar. Hence you can concentrate on speaking part and your pronunciation.
Since the main studying material in this course comes in a form of audios, it can be preferred by audible Arabic learners. Also lessons in this course are interactive. This means that instructor will ask learners to say different Arabic phrases and words quite often. Vocabulary that is being taught in these audios is mostly oriented for travelers. So if you are planning to visit Arabic speaking country soon, you will find Pimsleur course very useful.
- Pimsleur offers audio lessons to learn 3 different dialects of this foreign language – Egyptian, MSA as well as Eastern. Nevertheless there are 3 levels available only for MSA and Eastern and for Egyptian dialect – 1 level;
- Arabic learners are able to try Pimsleur method for free. It is possible to get 1 free sample lesson by registering at the official site of this course;
- It is very convenient to study Arabic via this course while on the go. This is for a reason that Pimsleur offers only audio based studying material;
- These audios are recorded by native Arabic speakers. Hence listeners can learn good pronunciation & accent from these lessons;
- Pismleur can be a very useful course for learners who are planning a trip to Arabic speaking country. This is because it teaches Arabic phrases and words that are needed to get around in a foreign country;
- When following Pimsleur lessons, you will constantly need to say different words & phrases in Arabic out load. Due to this you will need to use your target language from the first lesson. This in turn will make you more prepared for real conversations and improve your overall learning efficiently;
- In general Pimsleur lessons are not too difficult to follow. Also it is not necessary to repeat them many times. This mainly because new concepts & material is introduces in small steps and it is being repeated through current and further lessons a few times;
- In order to complete one lesson of Pimsleur, you will need less than half an hour of your time daily. So this course can be suitable for Arabic learners who have very limited time for studying too;
- Pimsleur method was developed more than 50 years ago. Hence you can be sure that many learners have already tested it and had success with this Arabic course;
- At the moment Pimsleur doesn’t offer Premium version for Arabic language. This version would be useful for learners who want additional features like flashcards and games;
- Pimsleur lessons are not too difficult to follow in general. Although it would be quite convenient to have English & Arabic transcripts of dialogues included too;
- Even after completing all 3 levels of Pimsleur Arabic, your vocabulary at this foreign language would be quite limited. This is because each lesson of this course concentrates only on a couple of new Arabic phrases;
- Pimsleur lessons are not very useful for learning Arabic grammar. For this reason you will need additional material if you want to learn it properly;
- Pimsleur audios can become a bit repetitive at times. So you need to be serious about studying Arabic or consider other more engaging learning programs;
- One of the biggest downsides of Pimsleur Arabic is that these lessons are expensive. Each level (30 lessons) costs $119.95. Nevertheless you don’t need to spend this much at a time, because there is an option to buy lessons separately;
#4. Michel Thomas Audio Lessons.
One more audio based course that is rated highly by most Arabic learners, is Michel Thomas lessons. Some unique aspects of these audios are that instructor of these lessons teach Arabic together with a few beginner students. This is quite useful feature, because you can compare your progress with other learners. Also it makes lessons more realistic and you can learn from other students mistakes & questions.
The other thing to mention about Michel Thomas method is that it promotes very relaxed teaching atmosphere. The instructor of these lessons constantly reminds learners to follow instructions and don’t focus too much on remembering new vocabulary or grammar rules.
- You can try Michel Thomas method prior to buying. There is a possibility to download a sample Arabic lesson from official website online for free;
- These lessons teach Egyptian Arabic. It is one of the most popular spoken dialects of this foreign language;
- There are two main parts of Michel Thomas course available for Arabic – Total and Perfect. So listeners of these audios can advance quite a lot with Arabic;
- Studying material in this course is mostly all in audio format. Hence you will be able to learn on the go. Also there is a free app available, which will allow you to access lessons via different devices;
- To improve learners retention rate, newer versions of Michel Thomas course have computer program. It includes different exercises for practicing what you have learned in audio lessons;
- Most learners will not need to repeat each lesson too many times. This is because new material is being introduced not too fast. Also instructor of audios does a great job at explaining everything;
- Michel Thomas lessons teach essential phrases to get around in Arabic speaking country. Hence these audios can be ideal for travelers;
- Most Arabic learners enjoy studying via Michel Thomas method, because it doesn’t require to learn complicated grammar rules or long list of vocabulary. Instead listeners are encouraged to be completely relaxed while listening to these recordings;
- Students that are present in these recordings, quite commonly ask instructor to clarify more difficult parts. This can be quite useful, because you might have the same questions;
- Instructor of these audios quite commonly gives useful Arabic-English associations. It helps to remember new Arabic vocabulary easier;
- Michel Thomas lessons are interactive. This means that instructor will ask you to say different sentences in Arabic while listening to these audios. This can help not only improve your learning efficiency, but it will also make you more prepared for real life conversations;
- When compared with Pimsleur Arabic, Michel Thomas lessons are less repetitive and they are quite fun to listen to in general;
- Instructor of these lessons quite commonly mentions some facts and other information about Arabic culture. This can be especially useful for learners who are studying this language for traveling purposes;
- After you will finish both levels of Michel Thomas course, it shouldn’t be too difficult to construct different sentences in Arabic. This is because instructor of these lessons explains key points of Arabic well, how this language is structured and also gives quite a lot of examples;
- You can learn very limited new Arabic vocabulary in each lesson of Michel Thomas;
- The main focus of Michel Thomas course is to teach learners how to communicate in Arabic. So you will need some additional material to learn other parts of this language (grammar, writing and etc.);
- Due to beginner Arabic students participating in these lessons, you will not always hear correct pronunciation of words & phrases. Also these students can make learning phase too slow for faster learners;
- If you prefer immersion type of studying material, you might find too much English and explanations in Michel Thomas lessons;
- In order to buy both levels of Michel Thomas Arabic, you would need to spend ~250 USD. This is quite a lot considering that this course doesn’t offer much additional features & material to audio lessons;
It can be said that Assimil’s method of teaching Arabic is quite different from other courses reviewed in this article. The main difference is that instead of dividing a new language into smaller parts, Assimil teaches Arabic by introducing full sentences and examples. This way learners can notice patterns in Arabic and later be able to construct their own sentences.
Studying material in Assimil comes in a form of book. Also there are accompanying audio recordings included for practicing pronunciation. It could be said that it used to be a common format for courses teaching foreign languages. Nevertheless many learners even today prefer this type of studying and achieve great results from it.
- Assimil teaches MSA dialect (Modern Standard Arabic). This particular dialect can be preferred by learners who are more interested in studying Arabic for educational purposes;
- Assimil can be a useful course for learning Arabic writing, grammar and improving listening, reading and speaking skills. Also since dialogues in these lessons cover everyday situations, you can find out more about Arabic culture too;
- Assimil with Ease series introduces about 1500 new Arabic words. Hence this course can be very helpful for expanding vocabulary;
- Both visual and audible learners will find Assimil course suitable for them. This is because it includes audios & written studying material;
- Audios in Assimil are recorded by native Arabic speakers. Consequently learners are able to learn correct pronunciation;
- When studying via Assimil course, it is possible to immerse into Arabic language fully. This is for a reason that audios contain only dialogues in Arabic. Also in the coursebook, translations into English are given on the other page;
- Most of Arabic vocabulary that is being taught in this course can be called essential;
- Even though Assimil doesn’t offer apps or other similar features, this course can be used for studying while on the go. The book is quite small, so learners can carry it whenever they go. Also it is possible to listen to accompanying audios on any supporting device;
- With Assimil Arabic you will not need to do too much guessing. Each dialogue has a translation into English and also there are short notes provided after each lessons. These notes will explain basic grammar rules and language structure;
- To make content more engaging in Assimil, some lessons will include humorous cartoon. While this doesn’t compare to other courses features like games & quizzes, but it is still helpful for making learning less monotonic;
- The price of Assimil Arabic (With Ease series) is about 100 USD (book + audio CD’s). Hence it can be affordable course for most Arabic learners;
- There is only one part of Assimil Arabic available for English speakers. There are additional courses available, but they are aimed for French speakers;
- In case you need to have in depth understanding of Arabic language, you will need additional studying courses to Assimil. Provided notes at the end of each lesson will give you knowledge only about grammar basics;
- While Assimil includes recordings of dialogues, they are not interactive. Also there are no additional features included that would help to practice & encourage speaking. Hence other Arabic courses can be more suitable for learning how to speak in this language;
- Assimil introduces quite a lot of new Arabic vocabulary in each lesson. The issue is that there is very limited number of exercises in each lesson. Consequently it is quite difficult to retain new words & phrases from this course. As a result you will need to go through each lesson a few times in order to keep retention rate high;
- Assimil teaches new language by introducing full Arabic sentences. Consequently it might take some time until you will be able to notice patterns and build your own sentences. So if you are learning Arabic for communication purposes, other courses might be more suitable for you;
- At times it might be difficult to evaluate your progress with Arabic language when learning via Assimil course. This is mainly because this course doesn’t have quizzes, point system and there is only few translation exercises included;
- Assimil doesn’t have any social features like forums, ability to communicate with tutor & other Arabic learners. This can be a downside for learners who want to share your learning experience. Or they simply have some questions & need support;
#6. Rosetta Stone.
Popularity of Rosetta Stone program tends to be quite high among learners of different languages. Nevertheless for Arabic in particular, we listed this course only in the 6-th place. This is because with immersion type of learning programs, it is kind of difficult to study more complicated languages like Arabic. This is especially true if you don’t have previous Arabic learning experience.
Rosetta Stone program teaches formal dialect of Arabic. Hence this learning program can be preferred by learners who want to learn MSA (Modern Standard Arabic). Studying material in Rosetta Stone can be accessed online or by using an app. For this reason users of this program can study conveniently via different devices and on the move as well.
- Rosetta Stone provides workouts that can help to improve all areas of Arabic language. This includes speaking, listening, grammar, writing as well as reading;
- This learning program has advanced tracking features. So with Rosetta Stone you will be able to see which exercises you’ve already completed, what was your score in the them and etc.;
- At any time users of this program are able to choose what workouts they want to do. This is quite useful feature for learners who want to improve only specific area of Arabic language;
- The list of Arabic vocabulary that you can learn in each part of this program is larger when compared with most audio based courses (Michel Thomas and Pimsleur);
- Rosetta Stone has advanced TruAccent feature, which evaluates learners pronunciation. Also all recordings in this software are made by native Arabic speakers. For these reasons it is possible to learn correct pronunciation and good accent from this program;
- Rosetta Stone offers some advanced Arabic studying features like apps, games as well as live tutoring sessions;
- Different type of workouts in this software are very engaging to do. Consequently at times you will not feel like you are even studying. Also Rosetta Stone includes games that can be played with other Arabic learners;
- Rosetta Stone doesn’t include explanations & translations in English. For this reason it is not too difficult to immerse into Arabic language when studying;
- This program teaches quite random Arabic vocabulary. For this reason it is not the best course to learn how to communicate in this foreign language fast;
- You will not find any information about Arabic culture in Rosetta Stone. Also Rosetta Stone has the same course structure and design for all languages;
- With Rosetta Stone’s immersion method it is quite difficult to learn grammar and other more complicated parts of this language. Due to this you will either need to have previous learning experience or some additional studying material;
- Rosetta Stone doesn’t provide translations into English language. Consequently at times it is not fully clear what particular Arabic word or phrase a picture is portraying;
- Rosetta Stone might seem like a cheap Arabic course ($79-249). Nevertheless it is important to keep in mind that its not lifetime access and you might need to renew multiple times;