Helping students of Arabic understand, self-assess, and improve their oral proficiency

Part 2: What is oral proficiency?

Students with their teacherOral proficiency is a student's ability to speak a language in real-life settings, outside of the classroom.

What’s the difference between proficiency and fluency?

"Fluency" is the goal of many Arabic students. But fluency means something different to everyone.

Proficiency is different because it can be divided into stages and measured using a set of guidelines – it's a purely objective way to assess your oral language skills.

Why is oral proficiency important?

Oral proficiency describes how well you can speak a language in the real world, regardless of your textbook, grades, or class goals. While other language skills such as writing are also important, if you want to study or work in a place where Arabic is spoken, you will need to be able to communicate effectively.

Figuring out your level of oral proficiency will help you understand how well you can communicate in Arabic right now. You can then use what you've learned to measure your progress and set your learning goals based on how you hope to use your Arabic in the future.

But nobody speaks MSA in the street.

Yes, Modern Standard Arabic is the formal, literary variety of Arabic, so it isn’t generally spoken in everyday situations. But MSA is likely the language you're learning. For simplicity's sake, we mean MSA when we say "Arabic."

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