Helpful Websites for Arabic Learners

For Arabic students, the mid-semester slump presents an all too real danger. Assignment sheets and an endless procession of vocabulary lists may have ...

Apr 11, 2015

For Arabic students, the mid-semester slump presents an all too real danger. Assignment sheets and an endless procession of vocabulary lists may have you questioning your original motivation, or even just your daily presence in class. And although many learning resources exist for languages like Spanish and English, tools for Arabic can feel scarce. If Google Translate’s got you down, here are a couple other links that might help you rethink your Arabic studies and make use of those long hours in the library.

For daily homework


It’s more than just an online translator — plug in a sentence or paragraph in Arabic, and MADAMIRA will not only give you the words’ definitions, but also tell you what part of speech it is and how the word fits into an overall sentence structure. Perhaps the best feature, however, is the option that allows you to see a word’s ever-elusive short vowels; no longer will you have to fumble through syllables or dwell in pronunciation angst.


It’s not perfect, but if you need to see a verb conjugated quickly, ACON's crisp interface and self-explanatory system can help you do so. If you know the verb’s root and type, ACON will churn out conjugation tables in several different tenses.

Desert Sky

Desert Sky helps map out the many rules of Arabic grammar, and one link that’s always handy when you’re trudging through an Al Kitaab exercise is the site’s break-down of different verb types. It’s a quick reference, and bookmarking it can save you a lot of time flipping through your textbook.


While it’s always preferable to memorize the QWERTY Arabic keyboard, if you’re writing your essay under a time crunch, Yamli is a nice transliterator that turns English into its Arabic phonetic equivalence. Great for lazy typers.

For the extra practice:

Al-Jazeera Learning

In addition to its quizzes and vocabulary lists, Al-Jazeera takes its daily news in Arabic and offers translations of its popular articles, as well as word-for-word renderings of headlines into English.

Beirut I Love You

If you want to get some dialect practice in, check out Beirut I Love You, a two-season web series about a group of friends living in Beirut. The series has been noted for the way it weaves subtle humor with pressing social issues. You can watch for free on the site, and each episode comes with English subtitles. The quality of the show gets progressively better, and more addictive, with each episode.

Read Arabic!

Funded by the US Department of Education, <a href=""">Read Arabic! is a database of short texts in Arabic, followed by quizzes and activities that test your comprehension. It’s a great resource if you’re ever traveling light and don’t have your textbook on you; choose among Beginner or Intermediate levels.

Tea with Layan, Coffee with Farah, Bagsam with Mohammed

Probably the best way to improve your Arabic is to set time aside and chat with native speakers. If you’re in Abu Dhabi, stop by one of these weekly sessions, held by the Arab Cultural Club at NYU Abu Dhabi, for the chance to swap Arabic phrases over mugs of tea with other students. You can find them at the A5C lounge almost every Sunday, at 9:30 p.m.
Zoe Hu is editor-in-chief. Email her at
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