We recently discussed some great memory techniques to help learn Arabic and dove into some well-established methods for learning new words and phrases and keeping them fresh in your mind for years to come.
Now, it’s time to look at something even more fundamental – the Arabic Alphabet – and explore some simple ways to memorize a type of script that will be completely new to most students.
Without any common letters between them, those who grew up with the Latin alphabet can see a new alphabet as a real challenge. They may even be tempted to try and phonetically write their vocabulary words with the letters they already know.
This, however, could set you back in the study of the language.
The sooner you adapt to the Arabic Alphabet the sooner you’ll be able to start making new word associations. Then, new vocabulary words will become more than just new sounds that represent a meaning. Suddenly, you’ll have a picture of the word in your head – a word association, if you will – that can help you remember and use the new word more smoothly and easily.
So, let’s start with the most traditional method:
Using Flashcards Every Day
There is simply nothing better for memorizing an alphabet than always having a small handful of cards on hand at all times – one for each letter of the alphabet.
Some simple flashcards can also be very effective for people who look at those large tables of the Arabic alphabet and feel a little overwhelmed. They had no idea that a spreadsheet would be involved in learning some new letters.
How often do you find yourself with just a few minutes of downtime? Do you go straight for the latest match-4 app game on your phone? Most people do. But what if – instead – you went straight for your flashcards.
It only takes a quick perusal of these cards to bring the new alphabet back to the top of your mind, back into active memory, where you can think about how the letter is written, how it is pronounced, and how it is used in common words.
Speaking of apps, though, there are plenty of flashcard apps out there that can help you learn Arabic.
Digital Vs Analog
You’re going to find a lot of different opinions out there on how effective digital and analog solutions are when you are trying to memorize the whole alphabet (and, eventually, a whole lot of vocabulary words).
For some, there’s nothing like a simple app to quiz themselves on the alphabet whenever they have a few spare moments.
For others, it is simply easier to memorize something when they’re looking at a physical copy of it, or when they’ve taken the time to write it out themselves. That physical interaction is what they need to really commit something to memory.
Is one better than the other?
Well, everyone has their own language learning style. And, as the top online Arabic course available, we certainly can recommend a whole lot of digital courses that will help you conquer this new alphabet.
It’s hard to say one is always better than the other, though, and we can certainly recommend trying them both as you zero in on the most effective learning style.
Practice Writing and Reciting
Once you start to memorize the alphabet, it’s important that you do some exercises to keep it in your active memory.
Reciting the alphabet to yourself every day is a great way to get started. But don’t just focus on the names of the letters. Make sure that you’re practicing the sounds of every letter.
Writing the Arabic alphabet can also be a huge help in many ways. Not only are you saying the letter and keeping it in your mind, you’re using physical motions to draw the letters and you’re using your sight to see it every time you write it.
Coming at the alphabet from all these different angles can help it stick in your mind much more permanently.
Move from Recitation to Recognition
Flashcards are great, but they do tend to teach each letter in isolation, rather than how they combine to form words.
There are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, and with a little work, you should be able to recite them all fairly quickly.
But if you really want to make this new alphabet yours to use as you will, you’re going to need to move past recitation and focus on recognition.
As soon as you have memorized even a few letters, try recognize them in everyday words. That means you’ll have to start reading and actively searching for the letters you know in every word you come across.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, a language is learned in the using of it.
So, the sooner you put the alphabet to active use, the more likely you’ll be able to keep it in your memory where it can be used whenever you need it.