The Kelsey Arabic Program

Producing Arabic speakers for over 50 years and counting

Modern Standard or Spoken Arabic?

So which Arabic is the right Arabic to study? MSA or Amiyya? Today MSA is the most widely taught form of Arabic in the world…yet it is rarely used in real conversations with Arabs. At the same time, Amiyya in its various forms is used primarily in verbal communication…yet is it enough to learn by itself?

Here at Kelsey we teach both MSA and Amiyya, because in our long-running experience we recognize that people who want to live and work in Arab countries for the long-run need both Written and Spoken Arabic to function as normal residents of the Middle East.

Now you might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to learn to read and write MSA if all I really need to do is speak with people?” To answer your question, I’d like to ask you a question, “What would you be doing right now if you were unable to read this website blog?” In other words, have you ever really thought about and appreciated the kinds of “doors and windows” that automatically open for you as a literate communicator of the English language? Do you really think that its a wise long-term decision to short-cut around MSA just because its a challenging language to learn?

Not convinced? Let me give you a list of just a few activities that you will never be able to do in Arab countries if you side-step MSA:

  • surf the web in Arabic.
  • read road signs.
  • read a menu in Arabic.
  • read your rental contract or any other kind of contract.
  • read your kid’s note from school and respond to it.
  • participate in worship services at a local church.
  • participate in Bible studies at a local church.
  • understand sermons or teaching at your local church.
  • read the headlines of a newspaper.
  • apply for residency visas.
  • read your kid’s 1st grade reading book or help him/her with any kind of homework.
  • watch and understand the news.

Convinced yet? Let me try one more time. Are you (or do you intend to be) a serious student of Arabic? Would you like to someday be able to speak with people about the things of the heart, talk about and understand politics, history and culture, and have the opportunity to continue to grow in these languages for the rest of your life, wherever you are? If so, you cannot sidestep MSA. Rather let us help you to take the bull by the horns and ride!!!

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