Two Full Years?

  • “It doesn’t really take two full years to learn Arabic, does it? How long did it take you to get fluent?”
  • “My dad got fluent in French in like 10 months… so is Arabic gonna take longer than that?!?!”
  • “I only get to study at KAP for 2 or 3 semesters at the most. Is that enough time to learn the language?”
  • “Somebody told me that the 4th Semester at Kelsey isn’t that important…so I’m planning on starting work after the 3rd semester.”

Ocassionally we hear comments like these from students. So what do you think? Are two years too much, too little or just enough for this language? Is learning Arabic really more involved and time consuming than French or German?

Of course this question is a bit complicated since your personality, native language, natural ability, age, study habits, determination and more, all affect your language learning process of any language. But linguists will generally place Arabic in the HARD/HARDEST category of languages for English speakers to learn. See this link for more info.

Because of this you need to prepare yourself for quite a long journey if you plan to learn this language well. If the experts recognize that the length of time necessary for becoming proficient in Arabic for the normal person could be four times as long as for a romance language like French or Portuguese, then you need to take that seriously and set aside at least two years for full-time language study.

Lastly, if you plan to come to KAP, I want to encourage you to remain with us for all four semesters. Some students who have taken our fourth semester would consider it to be one of the most important in their language learning process. This is because proficiency in Arabic actually requires you to pursue fluency in two distinct languages, one for reading and writing and one for speaking and listening. However, Arabs use these two languages in a sense as though they were one language. Because of this one of the purposes of our fourth semester of studies is to help you to begin to see how locals use Fus-ha (written Arabic) and Amiyya (spoken Arabic) as one language and become prepared to use them in a similar way for the rest of your life.

Recent Kelsey Graduate