Build Your Arabic Vocab the Right Way: Beginners

In my last post, I explained why you need to take charge of your own Arabic learning journey. I’m a big believer in the idea that vocabulary should be the main focus for any Arabic student. I’ll write more on that another day.

You probably think that being a beginner will make it harder for you to build your vocab by yourself.


Think about it. When you’re just starting out, there are literally millions of words you don’t know.

That probably didn’t make you feel better.

Let me rephrase.

Since you’re just starting out, you can start wherever you want and learn TONS of words just by looking around your house.

How? Read on, my readers, for some super easy tips for how you can grow your vocabulary in just 5 minutes a day. Bonus, these activities are great to do with your kids too.

Each one of these can be done in less than 5 minutes a day. So grab some post-it notes and your favorite colored pen set and let’s get started.

Look Around, Make a List

Look around your house. Find 5 things that you don’t know the names of. Get out your phone and look those things up on GoogleTranslate.


Instant vocabulary growth.

I know, it seems so easy. But that’s the great thing about being a beginner, you can start with the simple things.

Check the Translation

You may not need to do this for every word. GoogleTranslate will have a lot of suggestions for most words. Some of them will be fine, but others will be completely wrong.

First, have a quick look at the English translations for each word. You should be able to see which one is the right one for you.

In this example, the first word seems like a winner. Just go with that.

Don’t stress over the decision. Just pick the top word since it’s the word you’ll probably see and hear the most.

Remember, there’s more than one word for the same thing. What’s the difference between a bush and a shrub? Beats me.

Get the Right Pronunciation

Google will give you the pronunciation of the words. I’ve seen some incorrect pronunciations on more advanced words, but beginners can usually rely on Google for words around the house.

Just click the speech button on Google Translate to hear the pronunciation.

Once you’ve got your word, whip out your post-it note. Stick it on the item. If the item isn’t in your house, just stick the word somewhere that you and your kids can see it every day.

If you’re the type that likes things organized and doesn’t really like sticky notes all over your house, you can just jot the words down in a notebook. Make sure you open the notebook and go over your new Arabic vocabulary every day for at least 5 minutes.

Tip: Don’t write flashcards. If you must learn words that aren’t in your house, draw pictures instead. Hang your drawings around the house where you can see them for constant practice.

Post-It Up

Pop Quiz!

Once a week, let your kids go around the house and pull off all of the post-it notes. If you’re using a notebook, this won’t be nearly as fun, but just let them go get the notebook.

Give your kids a pop quiz on each word. You can cover the word and just show the picture or simply ask them to translate back and forth from Arabic to English. Bonus points if you let your kids quiz you.

This might seem like a long process. Try it once. You’ll probably be able to do it in under one minute. So that’s 5 words a day you can add in just 5 minutes.

Speaking is funner with friends. Spread the word.

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