Before coming back to the UK there was one thought on my mind that would constantly worry me.
Once I get back home will I forget my Arabic?
Some of my teachers would relate ‘‘horror stories’’ of students who went away for six months. When they came back to Egypt to study with the fajr center their level of Arabic had become so low they had to start two levels down again.
My teacher Ustas Islam told me as long as you remember the style of the language you’ll be fine.
If you’re worried about forgetting your Arabic or becoming rusty follow the plan below.
I followed this simple plan which not only helped me maintain my Arabic all these years but also enhance it.
Listening – Daily watch the news daily 30 minutes If you want to understand religious lectures the good news is you don’t need to have a high level of Arabic. The speaker speaks slow but I wanted to understand the news that way I knew my listening skills were good.
Speak online for at least 30 minutes with a native using italki or language exchange. Nowadays of course you can do this using your phone as opposed to daily logging into your laptop.
Read Arabic news stories such as Al arabiya, or BBC Arabic.
Write I use this at work, at home when I write private stuff that I don’t want people to understand. Writing is probably the easiest skill to not forget. Whilst listening and speaking are usually the two skills most people become rusty in very quickly.
As long as you practice the four language skills weekly then you’ll be fine. The reason why people forget the language is because they spend too much time away without practising the language skills.
But what if I forget about grammar? If you’ve read Get Fluent In Arabic you would have read that grammar is a knowledge not a skill. A skill such as the four language skills takes hours to master. Knowledge such as grammar can be learned simply by reading about it.
But applying the grammar to your writing and speaking is a skill as it’s practical. Memorizing the technical grammatical, terms and theory can be done in a matter of minutes. I remember for my exams I’d spend up to a maximum of thirty minutes to revise all the grammar I had ever learned. The bad news is you can’t do that with the language skills. Once forgotten it will take you some time to rebuild those skills again.
If you can’t practice all four language skills each for thirty minutes daily. Then practice three if you can’t find the time to do that then two if not that then one. The problem is a lot of people don’t even practice one skill a day and as time passes their Arabic starts getting weaker.
There are 7 days in a week so I’m sure we can all fit in a total of at least two hours a week 30 minutes per skill.
thank you once more for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my blog really appreciate it. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
Shajahan Author Of Get Fluent In Arabic