5 Minute Arabic Vocabulary Building: Getting Beyond the Basics

In my last post, I explained why you need to take charge of your own Arabic learning journey.

If you’re ready to step beyond the basics, here are some tips for intermediate and advanced speakers who want to supercharge their vocabulary growth.


I want to emphasize this point because once you pass the initial “Haatha qalamun.” phase, you might be tempted to jump right into trying to translate Kitab At-Tawheed. I’d really encourage you to start with words that you are actually going to use in speaking daily first.

For example, learn “refrigerator” before “flowerpot.” Or learn “dog” before “penguin.” This will make learning vocabulary easier inshaa Allaah. As you speak during the day, pay attention to what words you don’t know in Arabic. Add those words to your vocabulary first.

Start with things you actually say. Let your kids do the same. If there’s something they want to say, help them figure out how to say it in Arabic.

Make Connections

Arabic is an amazing language. As you look up words on Google Translate, start to notice connections between the words. Make some post-it notes showing how the new words are connected to words you already know.

For the word “bushes,” I quickly saw that this word would be very easy to learn because I already know the word “tree.”

The word for bushes is almost the same as the word for tree! Who knew.

Intermediate: Synonyms Hunt

Once you’ve got a good number of words under your belt, go back and explore the words that you learned. Get back on GoogleTranslate and see how many synonyms you can find for the words you already know.

You can also add words for parts of the item. For example, add another word for window and add the word for window pane.

Advanced: Level Up

Once you’ve got lots of things labeled in your house, start trying to add feelings, actions, and any other words you’ve used during the day.

Take Notes During the Day

If you feel like you’re running out of words to add, start thinking about things you’re still saying in English.

As you start talking more, take note of any holes in your vocabulary. Are you always having to use English when you talk about lunch? Can you give your kids instructions in Arabic? What else do you want to be able to say?

Bring your kids into the mix and ask them if there are any words they want to learn.

Remember, the goal isn’t to become perfect at speaking Arabic, the goal is to build your vocabulary, and more importantly, build your family’s love of the Arabic language.

You may not be able to speak perfectly yet. If you’re following along with our Arabic lesson guides, you will be able to use the words you learn more and more as time goes on. Just keep adding words and you’ll find that it gets easier over time.

Arabic is a language of patterns. Once you get used to how words are made in Arabic, you’ll be able to add vocabulary faster than you ever imagined.

Speaking is funner with friends. Spread the word.

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