Helping students of Arabic understand, self-assess, and improve their oral proficiency
Part 3: How long will it take to become proficient?
The amount of time it takes to reach different levels of proficiency depends, of course, on a number of factors.
Are you a heritage learner?
Heritage learners of Arabic have already been exposed to the language through their home, family, or other connections. Because of their contact with the language, they can speak or understand some Arabic before they take their first Arabic class.
So, heritage learners may attain higher levels of Arabic oral proficiency more quickly than non-heritage learners. But don't get discouraged—your instructor probably knows this.
Is Arabic related to the language(s) you speak natively?
People find it easier to learn a new language when it's closely related to their native language. As you know, Arabic and English have completely different vocabularies, sound inventories, and writing systems.
So, it may be easier for a native English speaker to learn French or German than it is to learn Arabic. They will usually take more time to reach a particular level of Arabic proficiency than they would to reach that same level in French or German.
What is your language learning method?
There are many ways to teach a language, and even more ways to learn one. Everyone is different.
- How is your particular class taught?
- How much time do you spend studying Arabic?
- Do you watch Arabic-language media?
- Do you practice speaking with native Arabic speakers?
- Are you good at learning languages?
- What’s your motivation for learning Arabic in particular?
Ask your teachers about the oral proficiency goals of your program. This will help you to set specific and reachable goals for yourself.