Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) might be the thing you look forward to learning if you are going to study the Arabic language academically, read classic Arabic scripts, or work in something like translation or as a news reporter, something that standard Arabic is crucial for.
Other than that, you should know that if you live in any Arab country you will be in dire need of an Arabic dialect that Arabic native speakers can understand.
In this article, you will learn why it is more important to master dialects as a major focus in your Arabic language learning journey.
1. You Want to Use Arabic in Daily Communication
In the Arabic-speaking world, they use their own dialects, and almost never or on a very restricted scale they use standard Arabic.
The Arabic language isn’t always about grammar and rules; it’s also about communication. And although if you speak standard Arabic, some Arabic native speakers will be able to understand you well, the opposite is not true.
You will not be able to guess the meaning of all local dialect words, Arabic speakers of the same countries often use different local dialects that sometimes will seem to you like a totally different language unless you are able to understand it.
2. You Want to Understand Arabic Music and Works of Art
A great part of the learning process falls on the media and entertainment channels, these things will boost your learning pace so much, and these things rarely use standard Arabic and most of the time never at all.
Egyptian Arabic for that matter might be found much more useful, as the mainstream media in the Middle East is reported in Egyptian Arabic. It’s almost impossible to find people from other Arab countries who don’t understand the Egyptian dialect.
And since Egyptian Arabic is understood across the Arabic-speaking world, it will help you to find more artwork, songs, TV series, and movies, as Egypt has a larger production in this area.
In fact, you might benefit from IH Cairo’s Egyptian Arabic course in that matter. It will give you the tools you will need to understand almost 70% of the artwork of the Arab world in the form of the Egyptian dialect.
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Arabic is the sixth most spoken language in the world with 420 million people around the world speaking the language.
3. You Want to Make Arab Friends
One of the reasons why you are learning Arabic in the first place is the fact that you want to meet new people and make Arab friends.
Even if that wasn’t one of your goals, you will find that it’s a necessity in order to improve your fluency, and while MSA is still used as an official language, you will find people around you hardly ever using it.
And you will want to engage more in everyday conversations, so the right choice for you will be learning the dialect.
4. You Won’t Use Arabic in a Professional or an Academic Setting
Arabic is not a difficult language, but at the same time Arabic grammar might be tricky for beginners and that’s why we recommend that you start learning the dialects.
It will be your window through the general grammar of the language at the same time it will be much simpler than the standard Arabic grammar.
In that matter, Egyptian Arabic is very easy, grammar-wise. The native language of Egypt is Arabic, but the dialect actually used can be far more different, yet shares the same grammatical rules.
The thing that will really need a deep knowledge of standard Arabic is the academic or professional settings, or you probably will never hear the native speakers of some Arab countries speak in standard Arabic. In fact, you can listen to them often speak in foreign languages like English and French more than MSA.
5. You Have a Specific Arab Country in Mind
Whatever the reason you are learning Arabic, you are most likely targeting a specific country to speak its language and the dialects differ from country to country.
The Arabic-speaking world has so many different dialects that you have to set your mind on one of them in order to put a suitable plan for you to start to learn that dialect.
Also, dialects aren’t only about the language part, they are mostly about the culture of that country, and understanding that dialect will make you even closer to the people and give you a closer look at their social norms and traditions.
Learning MSA will not get you really close to a culture you are trying to reach in specific.
It’s All on You
We were not trying to say that learning dialects are better than learning standard Arabic, instead, what we are trying to say is that dialects have specific benefits that you will not find in standard Arabic communication-wise. But both are important to learn or at least have a sufficient amount of knowledge about each to be able to communicate well with the natives as well as to use in official settings.
You should consider the Egyptian dialect if you are considering dialects. It’s more common, it’s similar to other dialects, and will give you more opportunities to connect with more middle-eastern people.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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