Studying Arabic once you have achieved the Advanced-Mid/Advanced-High level in a self-taught format presents a number of challenges and opportunities. Most students who achieve this level will have completed either book 2 or book 3 of the Al-Kitaab series or its equivalent, meaning that there are diminishing returns when it comes to relying on textbooks at this level.
On the one hand, students may have grown accustomed to the highly regimented structure and rewards textbooks can provide and there may be an adjustment period to individual learning. On the other, individual learning can be liberating and allow students to fill in gaps in their knowledge of the often well-intentioned but flawed Arabic curriculum in the United States. Indeed, nearly every user of Al-Kitaab will often point out jokingly that they learn the word for “United Nations” before the word for household items or colors.
I will develop a list of strategies over the semester that will draw lessons from my own learning process with studying Modern Standard Arabic independently. For now they are:
- Focus on one or two skills you want to improve and build your curriculum around that.
- Pick several novels to read in Arabic to keep a well rounded vocabulary.
- Use news sites both as practice and a place to mine for helpful vocab words.