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How to expand Arabic vocabulary?

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Are you having a problem remembering the Arabic words that you study every day?

Have you tried reviewing them many times, only to find out that you forgot the previous ones?

When starting to learn any language, especially a vast one like Arabic, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed by the great number of words. It is even more difficult for foreign learners, who do not live in an Arab country, and do not use Arabic every day. Thus, it is common to wonder how to learn as many words as possible, in a short amount of time.

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Here are a few strategies:

Learn the Root: Try to learn words that are related by topic. Luckily, Arabic is a root-based language, which means that the words stem from one another. For example, words like male teacher ( مُدَرِّس), female teacher ( مُدَرِّسَة) and school ( مَدْرَسَة) all stem from the same root to study ( دَرَسَ ). This pattern continues in even more words, like lesson ( دَرْس), studies ( دِرَاسَة), learner دَارِس), and so on.

In another example, words like book ( كِتاب), writer ( كاتِب), desk ( مَكْتِب), and library ( مَكْتَبَة) all come from the same root, to write ( كَتَبَ).

Accordingly, if you know the root of a group of words, then you can easily guess the meaning of any new word that has the same root.

U nderstand Context, learn new words in context, rather than memorizing meaningless independent words. This strategy will also help you to learn to use those words in sentences. For example, instead of just memorizing the word book ( كِتاب), knowing how to use it in a sentence (i.e. This is the student’s book/ هذا كتاب الطالب) or (My book is new/ كتابي جديد) will allow you to remember your words in a useful way.

Practice: use new words in conversations with your teachers or friends. Unused things that stay stowed away in the same place, for long periods of time, can be forgotten. This is why you should use new words, as much as you can.

Keep Reading: consistently read the texts you studied. This will make it easier for you to strengthen your vocabulary, and to associate them with familiar texts.

Those are some pieces of advice that can help languages learners, especially Arabic learners, to enjoy their extensive vocabulary journey.

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