Mission successful! 

I just got back from seeing my family in Amman, Jordan. It’s been five years since my last visit. Last time I went I had very little Arabic speaking ability. After 5 years of study this time I was fully equipped to speak Arabic to anyone. After all the studying and practicing this was the time to use the new skills I gained.

It was fantastic! I spoke Arabic with every single member of my family as soon as I landed in Amman. I spoke as much Arabic as I could possibly speak to everyone including all my aunt’s, uncle, cousins, people in shops, my cousin’s friends and even strangers. All my family were pleasently surprised to see me speak and even found it a little strange as I haven’t spoken this much Arabic in over 27 years. 

On the plane to Amman I was going crazy cramming as much information as possible. I even did 2000 flashcards. Which is something I have never done.

It was a great feeling speaking so much Arabic with my family. All this hard work was more than worth it.

Where do I go now?

I’m back from Jordan and I guess the mission is complete….well not even close! I will carry on studying Arabic until I am 100% fluent. I am very happy with the level I have reached and very happy with the amount I can speak. However I won’t be satisfied until I can understand everything said in Arabic. The road has been long but it has been a fun journey and I look forward to carry on learning and improving my Arabic.


A week and a half to go until I go to Jordan

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything. It’s not because I haven’t been studying it’s because I haven’t had any time to post as I have been studying every day.

I have been doing the following on a daily basis:

  • 500 flash cards – as I’m on the train to and from work I use this opportunity to review a whole load of flash cards. I have got so good at them that 500 doesn’t actually take too much time. 
  • Listening – I’ve been taking alot of time to just listen to the dialogues from Pimsleur Arabic and Hakini Arabi. They are extremely useful
  • Langmedia – the videos may be out dated but they’re very useful and have alot of vocabulary that is useful
  • I have also met up with a native Syrian to practice Arabic, hopefully we can meet a couple times before I go

Thats about it, it doesnt sound like much but every day it all adds up! 500 flash cards a day is certainly having a good effect. 

Four weeks to go four sprints left – sprint one

Ok, this is it. It’s the final countdown! There are four weeks left until I go to Jordan to visit my family. So it’s time to up everything and learn and revise as much as possible for my trip. The past five years all rest on this! 

So for week one I will be doing the following:

  1. 500 minimum flash cards a day – it’s important I review as much content as possible
  2. Study Hakini Arabi – this book is fantastic! It has lots of great dialogues in with all sorts of subjects. 
  3. Listen to the Hakini Arabic tracks everyday – this will mean I will memorise the content 

Pimsleur Eastern Arabic Anki flashcards – done

As you will of seen in my last post I was aiming to get all the flash cards created in Anki for the last Pimsleur Eastern Arabic course. This was 30 more tracks of 30 minutes each. I did it and ahead of schedule!

I used my walks to the train station and the journey in the train and walk to work as an opportunity to get them all done. It was boring as hell, tedious and drove me crazy but I got it done! I now have nearly 6 thousands flash cards! Now it’s time to review and memorise all the content.

Trello actions for learning Levantine Arabic

I use Trello at work every day for sprint planning as I work in IT developing software. It’s a great tool for planning and keeping track of work items. I have added many items for me to action…which will probably take about 10 years but here goes!

The board is divided into three sections​: to-do , doing and done. I will keep it updated as I go along. I think it will be a very good tool to use with learning Arabic as I can keep track of what and when I have been doing it. It’s an industry standard for software development teams so it’s good enough for me!


TalkInArabic.com – full and honest review

I first joined talk in Arabic a few years ago when it was created with this big hope and promise that this is the place that will deliver all sorts of high quality content in my target dialect of Levantine Arabic. There is not one place online that offers this type of service. I was very excited about and signed up as soon as it was launched. 

A few months went by and I noticed content wasn’t being added regularly. I thought well this is new maybe they just need time, I’ll come back in a while. So I left it a year or so then rejoined with the hope that they would deliver what they are selling. Again I was pretty disappointed with the content. There wasn’t much on there and it was not updated weekly as it stated on the site. So I got in touch with them.

After a while they got back in touch and apologised for the late reply because it’s Eid holidays. Ok….I thought…I’m a Muslim and I still have to go to work…but fair enough. So waited a little longer and the content was not updated as stated. So I left and thought maybe I’ll give it another year.

So I waited another year or so, rejoined hoping they would deliver content as stated on the home page on a weekly basis. I looked around in all the Levantine sections and noticed​ that there were new items added but to my shock…not many. I could still see the majority of the items were from the last time I was a member over a year ago. I looked at all the dates when they were added and clearly they’re not added every week. 

My main issues with this service is it costs quite a lot, it’s not updated every week as it should be and the content is ok. The content on the site isn’t fantastic, considering the monthly cost. Imagine that monthly costs totalled up after a year and how many books you could get with that amount. It states on the site that it will be updated soon and the subscription fees will go up, come on!!! Seriously??

This is the last time I will be bothering with talk in Arabic. The idea is fantastic, the market for it is crying out for something like this and it has huge potential. It would be absolutely awesome if they delivered what they say they would. If they did I would join again no doubt. However the owners are not fulfilling what they say they will deliver. 

I’m disappointed this has not worked out I really wanted the site to be good and have great content as I would love to have this to study. It would help me greatly!

There are many monthly subscription services like Netflix, Amazon prime, UFC and all sorts. They are all cheaper and provide so much more. This is a very expensive service that provides very little to its customers. 

For all these reasons I am extremely disappointed with talk in Arabic and will never register on it again. I suggest to sign up and judge for yourself.

Donovan Nagel is a good guy and I love his site Mezzo Guild along with all the great advice he provides and resources. However this site just does not provide what it is supposed to for what I would expect.

2 weeks of making AnkiDroid flash cards – Let’s get cracking!

Ok, now I’m back into the swing of things it’s time to get shit done again! 

Over the next two weeks I’m aiming to get the remaining Pimsleur course into my flags card decks which is pretty much all of the advanced course. I’ve stressed the importance a number of times using AnkiDroid for memorising Arabic. Once I get this plumbing task done I can move on. But there’s no point moving on until I have all the vocabulary in my AnkiDroid stack as I won’t be able to memorise it. It’s a really boring task but…it has to be done.

I’m aiming to have all 30 tracks (15 hours) done by the 26th. Gulp. After that I have some exciting plans but this has to be done as AnkiDroid is the fundamental part of my learning and memorisation of Arabic.