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Living Language Review

Sunday, January 17th

2021 Arabic Lesson Reviews

Living Language Review 3.5 Star Rating

Living Language

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $39 for 1-month online course
  • $50 for 3-month online course
  • $75 for 6-month online course
  • $150 for 1-year online course (includes 2 e-Tutoring credits)
  • $22.99 for Arabic Essential (2 books, 3 audio CDs)
  • $49.99 for Arabic Complete (4 books, 9 audio CDs)
  • $179 for Arabic Platinum (includes 1 year of online access plus Arabic Complete, along with 12 e-Tutoring credits

Living Language's uses a four-step approach to studying Arabic: Build a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retain What You've Learned, and Achieve Your Goals. For almost seven decades, the techniques that Living Language initially developed for the US State Department have allowed students to create a strong foundation of core words and phrases, moving easily to complete sentences and conversations, and eventually conversing comfortably in Arabic in a number of real-world situations.

The Arabic lessons offered by Living Language are delivered in two basic formats: Arabic Essential and Complete, which are presented through books and audio CDs, and the Arabic Online Course:

  • Arabic Essential Components - 10 Arabic language lessons in two books, with additional review exercises and dialogues; an extensive Arabic glossary; a guide to reading and writing Arabic; and, 3 audio CDs with example phrases, vocabulary, dialogues, and more. This sells for $22.99
  • Arabic Complete Components - 46 Arabic language lessons in four books, 9 audio CDs, and the guide to reading and writing Arabic. This is priced at $49.99.
  • Arabic Online Course - based on the content included in the course books described above, the online course adds interactive activities such as games and quizzes to help strengthen your skills. It also includes access to an online community of language experts and other students, and e-Tutoring with native speakers of Arabic is also available. The program includes all three available levels of instruction, from beginner to advanced. Prices start at $39 for one month of access and go up to $150 for a full year; the 12-month package also includes two e-Tutoring credits, and additional credits can be purchased by students at any subscription level.
  • Arabic Platinum Edition - includes the features of the print/CD program in Arabic Complete along with full access to the online course, along with a total of 12 e-Tutoring credits. This package is the best value at $179.

If you'd like to get an idea of Living Language's approach to teaching Arabic, be sure to take a look at their free Language Lab. You can access it directly from the website, without having to enter your email address or any other personal information. We suggest going directly to Lesson 1: Essential Expressions and trying the vocabulary flashcard game. You may want to set the transliteration feature to "on", which will allow you to see the approximate English pronunciation of the Arabic script. You will also be able to see which topics are covered in the Arabic program; for example, the 10 lessons in the Essential level cover basic expressions and other everyday topics, while the Intermediate level helps you talk about health and food (among many other subjects).

Best Arabic Lessons

However, we felt that the free Language Lab activities didn't really help us understand how Living Language structures its teaching of Arabic. We were left wondering if there is any direct instruction regarding the Arabic alphabet or its pronunciation, or how they address the difference between Modern Standard Arabic, the version most commonly used in print, and the spoken Arabic that varies by region (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and so on). We would have liked to see, at a minimum, a video or screenshots of the lessons themselves, or a description of the progression within the lessons.

Most competitors allow prospective students to see the dashboard, syllabus, or other detailed information, so that they know exactly what they're getting with their program. Living Language felt like something of a mystery with respect to how, exactly, they teach their Arabic lessons. Especially because there is no return policy or satisfaction guarantee - again, unlike most of their competitors - students may find it best to try one of their lower-priced options, such as the one-month online course, before committing to a more expensive package or subscription.

On a positive note, Living Language's e-Tutoring has many positive reviews from students who feel that it's well worth the investment. Pricing varies, but Living Language includes two e-Tutoring credits with their full-year package, and students can purchase further credits if they wish. Living Language's best value is their Platinum package, which combines the full-year online course and all of the print/audio materials, along with twelve e-Tutoring credits to help you get one-on-one help as you study Arabic.

Overall, Living Language's Arabic lessons seem to be a solid choice for Arabic lessons, particularly with respect to their e-Tutoring program, but we felt that they could be more transparent with the structuring of their lesson program so that students could get a feel for the program without making a financial commitment first. We give Living Language a rating that would quickly improve with a more robust free trial as well as a return/satisfaction policy that is more in line with Living Language's competitors.

Who Provides the Best Arabic Lessons?

As we move towards a genuinely global society, the ability to speak a language other than English can increase your chances in the employment marketplace as well as allow you to better understand people you encounter on a daily basis. If you are one of the nation's students or adults who choose to learn Arabic as your second language, you'll find yourself in very high demand for positions in education, state and federal governments, social work, and much more.

With more than 300 million native speakers, Arabic can be heard in more than 20 countries. Whether your plans include travel to Arabic-speaking nations or doing business with native speakers in your own country, modern technology will enable you to study the language according to your own schedule and even on-the-go, as most providers of Arabic lessons have easy-to-use mobile apps and audio files that can be used at your convenience.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

As you decide which program will best help you advance your fluency in Arabic, keep in mind what your preferred learning style is. For example, if you find that you remember what you hear, select a program that delivers your Arabic lessons primarily in an audio format, such as MP3 or CD-based lessons that you can listen to while you drive, commute, or relax at home. On the other hand, if you need to see your lessons to learn best, you'll want to make sure your instruction program of choice gives you ample opportunities to read, watch, and see the lessons you're studying.

One critical consideration as you compare Arabic lesson programs is the written component. Will you need to be able to read and write in Arabic as well as understand and speak it? If so, it is important that your Arabic lessons include detailed instructions for how to understand the written Arabic language, as it is very different from the Roman alphabet you already know. For instance, Arabic is written from right to left in a cursive style and contains 29 letters; however, there are different letter variations depending on where the language is being used, and the best Arabic language programs will help you recognize the difference.

There are three key factors to consider as you choose the Arabic lessons that will be the best match for your learning style and goals. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. If the program you're evaluating offers a free trial, give it a test run. Do you feel interested and inspired or confused and frustrated? Is the overall structure of the lessons (such as auditory, visual, heavy on text, and so on) a good fit for your preferred learning style?
  • Skill Level. Do you need to have any experience with Arabic to use the program? As you progress in your fluency, will you need to purchase further software/subscriptions/access? Will the program take you beyond a beginning level of fluency when you're ready for more advanced lessons?
  • Value. Does the program have a solid track record of success with current and previous students? Will you gain enough fluency in Arabic to make the purchase price or subscription costs with the investment?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Arabic lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right Arabic lessons to quickly learn this language right away!

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