Discover the Best Arabic Classes in NYC
The Arabic language is a part of the family of Semitic languages that also includes Hebrew and Aramaic. While the language has been refined and evolved over the years, early versions of the language date back to the 8th century BCE. Today, there are over 360 million speakers of various Arabic dialects and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the sixth most spoken language in the world.
While common across the globe, Arabic is extremely different from English, presenting challenges for new language learners. It has an entirely different alphabet made up of 28 consonants and three vowels. Often referred to as an “impure abjad,” it is also written and read right to left, creating another hurdle for those who speak English or other romantic languages.
Arabic is deeply rooted in calligraphy and is a language designed to be written. Equal parts language and art, Arabic is ancient, steeped in rich history, and a language designed to withstand the tests of time.
Why You Should Learn Arabic in NYC
A true multi-cultural hub, New York City is estimated to be home for over 160,000 Arab-Americans, with more than 400,000 in the entire state. These people are vital members of their neighborhoods, sharing their culture, art, food, and language with those around them. It is this rich complexity of people that makes New York City an ideal place to study the Arabic language.
There are endless reasons to learn Arabic. It has been proven that learning a foreign language can improve brain function, memory, mental flexibility and creativity, and can even help ward off dementia. Challenging your brain by learning Arabic can help you learn other things more efficiently, too, as your brain has become conditioned to handle challenges better.
Arabic is the official language of 22 countries, so knowing the language is a great way to connect with other cultures and make new friends. You could join an Arabic language conversational group or become a volunteer at local refugee support organizations to practice your vocabulary while helping others. You could also join a neighborhood ESL program and help new Arabic community members practice their English in exchange for tips and tricks on their native language.
Learning a foreign language minimizes barriers when you travel, allowing you to interact with locals, ask questions, and understand their culture better. Being able to speak such a popular language also creates an additional layer of safety when you travel, allowing you to navigate public transit, read street signs, and ask for help when needed.
Becoming fluent in Arabic could even lead to new career opportunities. You could become a translator and work at hospitals, schools, or with your local social services. Being multilingual is highly desirable in today’s job market and knowing Arabic could be valuable in government, foreign relations, or academic areas. Being fluent in Arabic would also allow you to support refugee and immigrant populations as a case coordinator or program manager.
In-Person Arabic Classes & Schools in NYC
In a city as diverse as the Big Apple, there’s no shortage of quality Arabic classes. From Manhattan to Bronxville to Jersey, there’s plenty of options to choose from. Just a few are listed below but make sure to check the CourseHorse website as new offerings are constantly becoming available!
ABC Languages offers private Arabic classes in New York City that can be either one-on-one or composed of a group of friends, family, or colleagues. Their team of language experts will match you with a professional instructor who will craft a curriculum specific to your needs, goals, and current level of knowledge. In-person lessons are located in Manhattan, but students can also attend online if they choose.
Introduction to Arabic for Business and Commerce is hosted by New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn. Designed for students with no previous knowledge, this class utilizes audio and visual tools to quickly teach you to speak, understand, read, and write Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). You’ll practice your conversation skills through skits and discussions and participate in grammar exercises to help you master Arabic in record time.
Interested in learning more about writing Arabic? Introduction to Arabic Script is put on by the Society of Scribes in Manhattan. Students will learn the Thuluth script for the Arabic alphabet, an elegant and widely used style. You’ll be introduced to the alphabet and its historical use in calligraphy, and will get to try your hand at both reed and bamboo pens. Students will need to bring their own Higgins Eternal ink but pens and paper are provided.
The Bronxville Adult School offers a course on Arabic languages and the cultures of the Middle East. Students will receive an overview of linguistic, ethnic, and religious minorities from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a way to examine the diversity and complexity of the region. Common Arabic phrases and how to use them will also be taught. This class is hosted at the Bronxville School where room assignments are subject to change, so make sure to check the schedule at the entrance on the first night of class.
If you’re closer to New Jersey, Learn Language Hoboken offers Arabic Beginner Level1. Designed to teach a solid foundation for future language fluency, this course is focused on competency with communication, listening and reading comprehension, and speaking fluency. By the end of class students will be able to talk about themselves, express likes and dislikes, understand grammar, and use verb tenses to talk about past and present experiences.
For those with a relative fluency in Arabic and a desire to tell a story, there is a weekend-long Arabic intensive creative writing workshop in Brooklyn. Taught by international award-winning novelist Alaa Al Aswany, students will learn to develop lively characters, map out plots, describe realistic settings, and add subtext to their creative writing. You’ll develop the techniques needed to write spellbinding fiction through in-class writing exercises to help you pen your next great novel in no time.
Virtual Arabic Classes & Schools
It is well known that in-person classes are the best choice for fast and thorough learning, but online classes have their benefits, too. Virtual classes create opportunities for those who live in areas lacking options. Remote learning also allows you to learn from your own home (or wherever you choose), eliminating the need to deal with commuting or parking.
Fluent City offers an introductory course called Arabic - Level 1 that will cover all the basics like the alphabet, pronunciation, and both formal and informal language. By the completion of the class, students will have basic conversational skills to introduce themselves to others, ask for directions, and engage in simple discussions.
Also offered by Fluent City, students can practice their conversational skills in this Arabic language meet-up class. Designed for intermediate to advanced students, this virtual class is facilitated by an expert instructor and allows Arabic speakers from around the world to connect and learn from each other.
ABC Languages has a full range of courses in Arabic, from beginner to advanced. Arabic - Total Beginner is a six-week course that teaches students conversational Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Each session is 90 minutes long and textbooks are not included. Students will be provided with intro material for the class and can purchase the book after starting the class.
Arabic Beginner 2 at ABC Languages is designed for students who are still mastering the alphabet, sounds, and script of the language. You’ll expand upon knowledge gained from the previous course and develop your conversational skills further.
Want to learn more about Arabic before fully committing? All About Arabic: An Intro Workshop is your chance to do just that. This 90-minute class is taught by native speakers and covers greetings, Arabic script, and pronunciation. It’s a great way to find out if Arabic is for you without signing on for a multi-week course.
Private Group Arabic Classes in NYC
CourseHorse also offers Arabic classes for private groups. Get your team together for a one-of-a-kind event where you can all learn Arabic together! Planning a private group class has never been easier thanks to zero booking fees and confirmation sent within 24 hours. Need to change your group size after booking? CourseHorse can handle that. In most cases, you can adjust your group size or class details if given at least 72-hours notice. Plus, there are multiple supported platforms, so your virtual class can be held over Zoom or whatever platform works best for you!
While there aren’t currently any private Arabic group classes available, Coursehorse can still provide it! If you’re interested in learning more, you can reach out through the contact form on their site. You can also reach out to discuss other options like coordinating a venue space for your event or having your workshop brought directly to your office or home.