Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What should I use, the spoken or the Standard Arabic?

Use whatever is locally recommended for your group or congregation.  If no recommendations are made, use the Arabic that you feel you can express in a more natural way and helps you to connect better with people. Remember, your goal is to be clear, to get your message across and to reach the hearts.


Q: How would people respond if I use the Standard or the spoken Arabic?

Simply put, the Standard Arabic is widely understood but it is too formal and proper. On the other hand, you can connect better with people using the spoken but, the dialects vary between countries.


Q: What can be done to make the Standard Arabic sound less formal? 

The Standard Arabic in itself does not always observe the strict intricate rules of the classical grammar. To make it sound less formal, natives usually read it and speak it by stripping the end diacritic of the words where it is allowable to do so. In fact, the Standard audio phrases on this site are recorded this way by eliminating the end diacritic when possible. Take a look at this example. "God" in this sentence is read with the end diacritic as it appears in the Bible. However, "God" in this Standard phrase is read without the end Kasra diacritic. Also, as much as possible, natives try to use the Standard Arabic with the same inflection used with the spoken Arabic.


Q: Is it necessary to learn both the Standard and the spoken?

It is good to be familiar with both the spoken and the Standard Arabic. You will always come in contact with both.


Q: I use both the Standard and the spoken Arabic when I speak. Is it OK?

As a student, it is understandable if sometimes you mix between both versions when conversing. You might find yourself doing so if you need to say a specific term that the spoken, colloquial language lacks and vice versa. Natives do that sometimes. Rest assured that you will be understood.


Q: Do most people understand the spoken Lebanese?

Lebanese, a variation of Eastern Arabic is a widely understood dialect in the Arabic world. It is well understood by Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Kuwaitis, Iraqis as well as other parts of the Arabic world. If you use it and you meet someone who does not understand it, you can use the Standard Arabic instead.


Q: Sometimes when I speak a certain phrase I am told by some natives to say it differently. Why?

When you are corrected this does not necessarily mean that you are saying something wrong or what you are learning is inaccurate. Keep in mind that the native person who is trying to help you might have his/her preferred vocabulary or phrase structure that he/she likes to use. Also, the person helping you might prefer to teach you his/her own Arabic dialect instead. So do not be discouraged and thank your helper. Again, rest assured that your Arabic is understood.