Dubai - UAE expats who have mastered Arabic reveal secrets to learning it

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The best way to learn the language is to "live it", say expats.

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, used daily by more than 290 million people. Thousands of UAE residents try to learn the language of the land they call second home. Some succeed, while others give up half way.

According to expatriates who have mastered Arabic, the best way to learn the language is to "live it".

Samira Warsame, a Somalian expat, told Al Khaleej Today that she was lucky to come to when she was four years old. "It's easier to learn Arabic or any language at an early age."

Samira, a student of the Ajman University, speaks Arabic fluently. "The best way to master any language is to live it," she said. "I have been conversing in Arabic with my peers since I was in school. I can even speak the Palestinian accent pretty well because most of my school and college friends were Palestinians."

Mu Zhao, 26, a Chinese student of law, said he came to the country when he was nine. "This has helped me practise the language for a long time with my friends, colleagues and teachers."

He explained the natural progression of mastering the language: Listening, speaking, reading and writing. "Of course, the language environment is also very important for learning and has a great impact."

The ultimate purpose of language is to communicate with people from different countries and cultures, he pointed out.

Ashadullaha Dilmohammed, a Bangladeshi Imam, said his line of work made it easier for him to learn Arabic. "Learning the Holy Quran like it should be makes it easier to learn Arabic.

This is what I am doing with my kids, who are all learning the Quran and Arabic language at the same time."

Al Badr Al Muneer, an Indian resident, said memorising words is not the right way to learn. "You have to practise the language all the time and speak it wherever you go."

He also advised using images to learn new words. "There is no need to translate the words you learn to your mother tongue; just repeat the word and connect it visually in your mind with the corresponding image."

Another Indian, Mohammad Faisal, said he was born and brought up in the UAE and has studied the language for 12 years. He said each Arab country has its own accent, and hence different words for the same objects. "The best was to learn a language is to practise it with native speakers."

Mujeeb Rahman recently published a book called 'Arabic Mafee Mushkil' to help expatriates learn the language. He has used humour to impart the lessons. "My experience in the Gulf and working with Emiratis helped me learn this beautiful language."

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Ahmed Shaaban

Originally from Egypt, I am a sound professional with a 23-year diverse experience as a researcher, lecturer, instructor, reporter, journalist, copy writer, translator, interpreter, proofreader, correspondent, and voice-over specialist with so many public and private entities in USA, UAE and Egypt. I have full command of all English and Arabic languages skills. I have a “Doctorate of Business Administration” degree, Swiss Business School. I have two Master’s degrees; one in Media Sciences, Mass Communication College, Cairo University, 2014, and one in Applied Business Research, Swiss Business School, 2018. I have a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Translation, Al-Alsun College for Languages & Translation, Ain Shams University, Egypt, 1996. I have three post graduate diplomas in Education, Curricula and Instruction, and Islamic Studies. I enjoy reading, writing and adventuring.

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