There are now so many ways we use tech to learn Arabic (as well as any other language for that fact) on the go with just a smartphone and a few useful apps. The great thing about using apps is that they give you quick and easy access to learning wherever you are and whenever you have time, it’s like a portable classroom.
In this blog post, I am going to recommend my three favorite iOS apps that I regularly use to improve my Arabic. I have avoided the common language learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise because you can easily find loads of blogs and reviews of this category of language learning apps.
So here are my top three:
1. Bayan Quran
Perhaps this is an unusual choice but it is the top of the list for good reason. One of the most important methods of remembering something is repetition. As Muslims Quran by listening and repeating and to it in prayers daily, the result is you have already learned loads of Arabic words. Now you just have to unlock the meaning of those words.
Bayan Quran app, as well as helping you and read Quran, has an additional useful feature called Quran words. A long tap on any word will instantly access the translation, root word, root word definition, morphology, grammar, and transliteration, helping you to learn new words every time you read. It is also a useful dictionary, as you can search for words in both Arabic & English. Using the Bayan Quran app helps you learn Arabic and engage in a deep study of the Quran at the same time.
Did you know the importance of the revelation being revealed in Arabic is mentioned in 11 places in the Quran? Download the app, search Arabic and start to learn vocabulary as you Quran.
2. Google Translate
One of the key features is the ability to use the app without an internet connection for quick translations of words, phrases or even photos and street signs that you may come across. Its also got a feature that allows you to have a bi-lingual conversation using the app to translate from Arabic to English and English to Arabic, a great feature when you are a beginner and find it difficult to have long conversations.
Important note: because Arabic is significantly different from English, not only in the script and vocabulary but also the syntax, verb conjugation, sentence construction, Google Translate may give you the correct meaning of a word but longer sentences are bound to have a lot of mistakes and will need a proficient Arabic leaner to go over the document to make edits and corrections. However, once you get the hang of it, and for a quick translation of a word or two, google translate is a good place to begin.
3. Adobe Acrobat Reader
This may not specifically be a language app but as the vast majority of Arabic language textbooks, including the popular Madinah Arabic and Arabiyyah Bayna Yadayk series, are available as PDFs, having a good pdf Reader will save you from lugging heavy textbooks and a heavy dictionary around with you everywhere you go. One of the many perks of the digital age is you can fit a library in a device smaller and lighter than a book. I generally try to have a physical copy and a digital copy of every book. So when I am at home, I use the physical copy and when I am out and about or teaching a class, I still have access to all my books so I use the pdf version.
Adobe invented the PDF format and their Acrobat Reader is one of the best free apps for viewing and annotating PDFs. Just like a real book, you can underline text, highlight text, draw in red, add your own text and notes, and strikethrough text. Another useful function is the ability to scan whiteboards and documents and save them to the cloud. So next time you are in an Arabic lesson, use your iPad to read and annotate the PDF version of the textbook and if the teacher makes an important note on the board that’s not in the book, you can use the camera to capture it and annotate it there and then.
Lastly, while you can get a lot of Arabic learning through apps on your iPhone or iPad, remember that it is not a replacement for a teacher and online resources. See below for some of the useful online resources for mastering Arabic:
If you would like to learn the Arabic Language in it’s modern or classical form visit us at Madinah College, London to find out about the flexible courses we offer or you can contact us directly by clicking here