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Saturday, January 23rd
Pimsleur is a worldwide name in language instruction, known for their 30-minute audio lessons. If you need to learn how to speak and understand Arabic, particularly the primarily formal version known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Pimsleur could be a good fit for your learning goals - especially if you learn best by hearing. What makes Pimsleur particularly useful is that their audio lessons come either as a CD or an MP3 download, so that you can listen on your iPod, smartphone, or other mobile device while you drive or during other moments on-the-go.
The best way to know if Pimsleur's audio lessons match your learning style is to click on the orange "Try a Free Lesson" button on their main Arabic lessons page. Once you enter your name, zip code, email address, and reason for learning Arabic (such as for fun, business, and so on), you can listen to their complimentary 30-minute introductory Arabic lesson. We found the sample lesson easy to understand, and we especially liked the detailed explanation of the nuances of what we heard; many of the programs in our review had us listening and repeating sounds without explaining what we were doing or why. Be sure to choose an environment where you can speak out loud; you'll need to try and imitate what you hear as you listen to the trial lesson.
Unfortunately, if you need to know how to read and write Arabic as well as speak it, Pimsleur probably will not help you make much progress. The product description says that reading instruction is included, but with no description of how that actually happens with an MP3 download. Also, we found several reviews criticizing Arabic programs that only offer MSA; because it is the language used primarily in print and formal situations, students who only learn MSA are often understood in Arabic-speaking countries but find themselves unable to understand what they hear in return. Many of the programs we reviewed include options for Egyptian, Iraqi, and other spoken dialects of Arabic, which may be more widely useful.
Pimsleur's "Proficiency Guarantee" is also lacking, compared with most competitors' return policies and satisfaction guarantees: once you complete Pimsleur's Level I Arabic program, you can opt to take a competency exam through an independent testing company Pimsleur has chosen (which, incidentally, gave us a 404 error when we tried to follow Pimsleur's link to the testing site). You can only get a refund if you fail that exam.
Finally, Pimsleur will hit your wallet harder than any other provider of Arabic lessons. Given that their instruction consists solely of audio lessons, our opinion is that Pimsleur's value is not as high as other more well-rounded Arabic programs that teach listening, conversation, and reading/writing skills for a smaller investment.
If you do feel that Pimsleur's auditory approach might be good fit for your learning style, we suggest that you sign up for the sample lesson before investing in Pimsleur's Arabic lessons. And, make sure to look for any special offers that may be offered, as we saw discounts available from time to time when we visited the site.
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.
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:
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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