Although English is the official lingua franca in Nigeria, many opt to learn other languages. Arabic is a popular option for any Nigerian who wants to take up a foreign language.

Learning Arabic requires considerable financial investment, particularly if you're hiring private Arabic tutors. You also need to budget time for Arabic lessons, whether they are online or physical. Your Arabic classes may, in fact, end up eating massively into your free time.

Since Arabic tuition requires a somewhat high level of investment, people expect immediate results when they start learning Arabic. But reality hardly matches expectations, and such people end up disappointed at the slow progress of their Arabic studies.

You may ask, 'how long does it take to learn how to speak Arabic?' Nobody, not even Arabic teachers, knows the exact number of lessons needed to be fluent in Arabic. Progress in an Arabic course depends on factors including time and effort invested, individual cognitive ability, and method of learning.

In this article, we outline tips to know the number of private lessons you need to achieve proficiency in Arabic.

Know Your Reasons For Learning Arabic

Before signing up for an Arabic course, understand your reasons for wanting to learn the language. Here are some reasons why people learn Arabic:

  • Travel

Some people learn Arabic in preparation to leave Nigeria for an Arab country, e.g., Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Familiarity with Arabic grammar and vocabulary makes it easier to converse with the Arabic-speaking native population in such areas. Besides, you’ll integrate seamlessly into the local community, as you won’t experience language problems.

  • Arabic culture and history

Some fall in love with the Arabic culture while learning Arabic in secondary school or university. They then learn Arabic so they can enjoy elements of the rich Arab culture (literature, songs, and art).

Also, being able to speak Arabic will allow you to study and understand Arabian history in depth. Your general knowledge will increase this way, making you a well-rounded person.

  • Tutorship

Some study Arabic so they can become Arabic teachers and tutors in the future. With the average Nigerian now interested in Arabic classes more than ever, Arabic tutoring is lucrative.

Superprof provides an online platform for Arabic tutors in Nigeria to connect with potential Arabic students and get paid for their services.

  • Language enthusiasts

Some learn foreign languages like Arabic because they want to speak something asides English. Being bilingual is good because it boosts brainpower. It can also help slow down the onset of dementia and other neurological issues in older adults.

Folded pages of the Quran
Muslims and experts in the study of religion learn Arabic to be able to read and understand the Quran in its pristine form. Source: Unsplash
  • Religious factor

The Qu'ran, which is the Islamic holy book, is written in Arabic. Some opt to study the Semitic language to enable them to read and understand the contents of the Qu'ran. If you're a devout Muslim looking to increase your knowledge of Islamic principles and Islamic traditions, learning Arabic is a good way to start.

Having known your reasons for taking up Arabic, you can start learning the language. There’s no one way or method of learning Arabic — you can learn in a school, online, or at home with a tutor.

How To Learn Arabic Fast Depends On Individual Factors

It’s hard to estimate the number of Arabic lessons an average person needs to master the Arabic language. In truth, the pace of learning is dependent on individual factors. Some of these are:

  • Age: Old age brings with it a decline in the ability to learn and process new information, making learning a language harder. This may explain why younger Arabic students are likely to learn faster than older students.
  • Motivation: Language learning is difficult and without enough motivation, you may be tempted to abandon your Arabic course. A highly motivated person will progress faster in learning Arabic than an unmotivated individual.
  • Cognitive skills: Students with higher cognitive skills face less difficulty in studies compared to their colleagues. Each person's level of cognition will determine how long it takes him/her to learn Arabic.
  • Work schedule: Someone who works a 9-5 job may find it difficult to apportion enough time for an Arabic course. Such individuals will also have less time to practice and will progress slowly.

But someone with more time on his hands, e.g., a university student will be able to concentrate on an Arabic course and likely learn faster.

  • Practice method: An individual's style of practice may involve learning the Arabic alphabets, grammar, and pronunciation until they hone their skills. However, some may take it a notch higher by visiting an Arab country and practicing their Arabic speaking skills by conversing with locals.

Cognitive Ability Determines Frequency Of Lessons On How To Speak Arabic

Cognitive abilities vary in individuals and this influences how many Arabic lessons each person needs. For instance, someone with exceptional cognitive ability will assimilate Arabic faster than someone without.

On the other hand, an individual of average cognition will require more Arabic courses before he gains proficiency. This explains why some people learn Arabic in under two years while it takes some three, four years.

If you have difficulty learning foreign languages, you’ll want to stick with the basics of the Arabic language. Basic Arabic studies will likely cover Arabic alphabets and pronunciations. In such scenarios, a solitary one-hour class per week should serve your needs.

However, students, job applicants, etc., that need Arabic to pass tests and assessments will require intensive Arabic education. You’ll spend more hours and learn how to read and write in Arabic. You will also learn the intricacies of the Arabic dialects, a thorny problem for beginners.

Private Arabic Lessons Will Vary According To Level Of Motivation

As indicated earlier, motivation is a very important part of your learning experience.  Your level of motivation will determine how many private lessons you need. If you're poorly motivated, not even the best of Arabic teachers can help you learn Arabic quickly.

Finger tracing an Arabic text
When learning Arabic becomes a bit tough, it is your motivation that will keep you going. Motivation fuels consistency, so, you will need plenty of it. Source: Unsplash

Before you start to Google 'how long does it take to learn Arabic?', you must have enough motivation to withstand the rigours of Arabic education. If you lack the motivation to study Arabic, you'll find it difficult to complete Arabic language exercises or practice your speaking skills.

Want to learn how to learn Arabic fast? Put your mind into it. If you dedicate enough energy and time to studying Arabic, your efforts will pay off soon.

Arabic Tutors Influence The Time It Takes To Learn How To Speak Arabic

In the preceding paragraphs, we discussed the importance of maintaining motivation and enthusiasm for Arabic lessons. But even the highest level of motivation won't help if your Arabic teacher is bad.

You need an Arabic tutor that can provide Arabic education interactively and engagingly. This way, you'll find Arabic lessons interesting and assimilate faster.

Arabic teachers whose private lessons are long-winded, boring affairs make learning difficult. Not only will your interest level in learning the language drop, but you'll also learn virtually nothing because your mind is hardly present during tuition.

More importantly, you need to find an Arabic teacher whose teaching method aids faster learning. Allowing students to ask questions during courses is a good teaching method you should look out for. He should be able to answer those questions and leave you more enlightened.

Your Arabic teacher’s skill at teaching depends largely on his level of experience and expertise. Most of the Arabic tutors on the Superprof platform boast extensive experience and have been teaching the language for years.

Some are even native Arabic speakers, which makes things better. A native speaker will teach you modern Standard Arabic better than anyone else. This beats learning Arabic in secondary school or university from teachers who have limited experience speaking the language.

Overall, your Arabic tutor’s skill affects the number of classes you need to master Arabic. If he’s good, you’ll gain reasonable fluency in Arabic after some classes. If he’s awful, you’ll need a lot of lessons before you can achieve some degree of Arabic fluency.

Learning Objectives Impact Volume of Arabic Lessons

Your objectives for learning Arabic will, to a large extent, determine the schedule of your Arabic lessons. The ‘Why’ behind your Arabic study will guide your tutor in setting the volume of classes.

If you're a university student with an Arabic language exam to write, you'll need more intensive tuition. This may see you spend up to five, six hours per week on your Arabic lessons.

But, if you are just learning the language to expand your general knowledge, you'll need minimal Arabic lessons. In such situations, weekly one-hour classes should be enough.

If the aim is to move permanently to an Arab country at the end of your language studies, then you'll about 4-6 hours of Arabic teaching per week.

To accelerate your Arabic learning journey, consider attending a language school or travelling to an Arab country.

Move To An Arab-speaking country to learn Arabic

To hasten your learning of Arabic, you can sign for Arabic courses at one of the language schools around. Also, if you can afford it, stay in an Arab country for some time to sharpen your Arabic speaking skills.

A man taking a camel through the desert
The Arabic language, like other languages, can be learnt faster if one moves to a clime where the language is dominant. With constant practice, attaining proficiency will be easier. Source: Unsplash

Living in a country where Arabic is the official language gives you more chances to practice speaking the language, With private Arabic lessons, the only opportunity for practice is to speak the language with your tutor.

You can also attend a language school in Nigeria. If you don't have money to attend a language school or travel abroad, you can register for an online Arabic language course.

Many people often ask how to learn Arabic fast believing there's some secret to mastering the Semitic language. But there's no "How To Learn Arabic" guidebook to give you such secrets. The only advice for you is to evaluate factors unique to you and create a learning plan that reflects those factors.

Nonetheless, you should aim for accelerated learning of Arabic; your lessons aren't free of charge and the cost will add up. Learning a foreign language can be difficult but by using some of the tips discussed in this piece, you'll be done in no time.

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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.