Benny (from Fluent in Three Months) has quite an interesting post on the dilemma when starting to study Arabic — namely, should one begin with MSA or the colloquial language in the country you are going to?
Benny comments are right in line with Greg Thomson’s article on the Arabic diglossia. Benny writes:
But if you plan to make friends, buy things and haggle, travel, attempt to blend in and not get ripped off, watch a lot of TV such as comedy or soap operas, and even work in most jobs, then you’d be crazy to learn MSA first. Even the locals (a vast majority of them) do not speak it. They do indeed understand it, but you’d have to seriously and unrealistically restrict your interactions if you wanted a reply in MSA.
Let me say that again because it bears repeating: Most people in Arabic speaking countries do NOT speak Modern Standard Arabic. They ONLY speak dialect.
Benny of Fluent in Three Months put together a very cool youtube video on the usefulness of Skype in language learning. The nice thing with skype is that you can be ‘nurtured‘ overseas without having to actually meet your nurturer in person or go to the country in question.
There are many websites to find someone to talk to in the language you want to learn. Become friends with someone in the target language exchange skype ids, give them a ring, and start learning how to talk using picture resources if you are just beginning language learning.
If you are at a more advanced level watch a few minutes of Mr. Bean together on youtube. Then ask them to retell you the story or retell the story yourself and have them give you corrections and pointers on how to say it naturally in the language you are learning.
In the next few days we’re uploading lots of new and updated resources to our resources page. Two of the most recent additions — A guide to phase 5 and an overview of the six phase program.
The original documents for are linked to at the bottom of every page and can also be found at Greg Thomson’s dropbox.