Arabic, with approximately 422 million native and non-native speakers, is the fifth most-spoken language in the world. It is a Semitic language is closely related to Canaanite, Aramaic, Hebrew and Amorite along with other modern and dead languages. It is Islam’s liturgical language, and it is primarily found in the Quran.
If you are considering learning to speak Arabic, read on for our review of ArabicPod101, a language learning program by Innovative Languages.
ArabicPod101 allows you to learn Arabic on your own time with easily accessible apps and online tools. Upon signing up, you are given a free lifetime account along with a free seven-day Premium subscription. This gives you a chance to sample all the perks of the paid subscription before choosing to purchase one.
There are four levels of expertise from absolute beginners through to advanced speakers. There are also four monthly subscription levels both free and paid offering services such as one-on-one instruction and personalized lesson plans. A few other features ArabicPod101 offers include:
- Full access to lesson library and podcasts
- Daily dose of lessons on Arabic
- Arabic audio dictionary
- Voice recording tools
- Custom word lists
- Personal assignments
- Professional assessments
ArabicPod101 Review: Pros
Pro #1: Extensive Lesson Library
With hundreds of hours of both video and podcast lessons, it is hard to beat the extensive collection of study material offered by ArabicPod101. Whether you choose to take the structured learning path or simply brush up on modern-day topics for business or personal reasons, you will find what you need among these lessons. That said, the Arabic lesson library isn’t quite as extensive as some of Innovative’s other languages.
Pro #2: Access on iPhone, Android and Tablets
Along with accessing ArabicPod101 on your laptop or desktop computers, you can download the app to use it on smartphones and tablets. Because of this, you can truly learn when it’s best for you. Play a podcast on your drive home from work or watch a video lesson over your lunch period. There are no bulky CDs or books to keep on you for your studies.
Pro #3: Native Arabic Speakers
The instructors are native Arabic speakers, which means you will get the most authentic teaching of the language outside of immersing yourself in an Arabic-speaking country. You will also be given some good insight into cultural expectations and norms. With the Premium PLUS subscription plan, you get one-on-one help from your native instructor.
ArabicPod101 Review: Cons
Con #1: Lack of Community of Arabic Speakers
There is little in the way of community among those learning to speak Arabic. This means that in order to practice speaking with another person, you will need to find another source. Arabic is not one of the more popular languages being studied so it can be difficult to find a community of like-minded students.
Con #2: Lacking for Advanced Speakers
Though we feel beginners to intermediate fluency speakers will greatly benefit from ArabicPod101, there is not much new content for advanced speakers. For those who need more in-depth study, this might not be the best option.
Features of ArabicPod101
Your dashboard is the control center for ArabicPod101. This is where you will come upon logging in to check your progress, change expertise levels, find new learning pathways, and even upgrade your subscription. Your dashboard will show you daily lessons, new vocabulary and phrase lists, and give you all the latest news about ArabicPod101.
After taking the placement exam, you can decide if you want to choose the structured and curated pathway toward speaking fluent Arabic or another pathway for quick lessons. For example, if you need to learn a few quick phrases for an upcoming business trip, you could easily find a pathway geared for that. Likewise, there are pathways essentially for handling emergencies, ordering food and cultural references.
Video Lessons and Podcasts
There are hours of video and audio lessons from which to learn. Instructors are energetic, enthusiastic and engaging. You will find the words printed onscreen to help you follow along as you go through the lesson. This allows you to see the words as you hear them spoken for better pronunciations. Each lesson includes detailed notes to review everything you just learned. These can even be printed and used at a later time for review.
At the end of every lesson, you will find PDF transcripts that you can download. These will cover all the information learned in the lesson and include all explanations and any cultural norms relating to the subject. They make for excellent review notes.
Flashcards and Other Learning Tools
Spaced-repetition flashcards are available and offer a fun way to learn vocabulary words. They are interactive and allow you to keep track of the words you know and the words you don’t know. There is also a voice recording system that allows you to compare your pronunciation to that of your instructors to make sure you’re doing it right.
Who Should Buy ArabicPod101?
Language learning programs are an ideal way for some people to master a new language at their own pace. We feel that people who would benefit most from ArabicPod101 include those who:
- thrive at independent study
- need to learn conversational Arabic for travel
- plan to pursue fluency in Arabic
- can dedicate time to learning another language
Who Shouldn’t Buy ArabicPod101?
On the other hand, people who may not benefit from ArabicPod101 include those who:
- thrive in a classroom environment
- require one-on-one instruction
- lack the motivation for self-instruction
ArabicPod101 vs. Competitors
In order to have a complete review, we’ve included some thoughts about ArabicPod101’s closest competitors.
ArabicPod101 vs. ArabAcademy
ArabAcademy claims to teach you to speak Arabic the fastest. It has programs available for kids, teens and adults. Like ArabicPod101, this course is self-paced and lessons are available to access at any time. Certificates are awarded upon completion of each level, and levels generally take about three months to complete. The monthly subscription cost ranges from $69 to $99, and you can add on one-on-one speaking classes that last 50 minutes for an additional fee.
ArabicPod101 vs. Pimsleur
The Pimsleur method uses all podcasts for teaching Arabic. The idea is that people best learn a language the same way they learned their native language: by listening and repeating. The Pimsleur method uses podcasts of everyday conversations to teach Arabic. They claim you can achieve intermediate fluency with just 30 minutes of study per day for 30 days. It costs $14.95 per month.
ArabicPod101 vs. Rocket Arabic
If you like the format of ArabicPod101 but don’t like the monthly subscription payments, you might try Rocket Arabic. You can read our full review here.
$4/month $2.80/month (using our coupon link)
- Access to the complete lesson archive
- Access on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops
- Printable lesson downloads
$10/month $7/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium Subscription includes all the Basic Subscription features plus:
- Lesson quizzes
- Bonus content
- Interactive flashcards
- Extensive word lists and personal word bank
- iTunes access
- Lesson transcripts
Premium PLUS Subscription
$23/month $16/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium PLUS Subscription includes all the Basic and Premium Subscription features plus:
- Ongoing assessments
- Personal learning plan
- One-on-one instruction with a native Arabic speaker
ArabicPod101 Review: Conclusion
All in all, you cannot beat ArabicPod101 for the price and the amount of learning materials available to you. For anyone who is interested in becoming a fluent Arabic speaker, ArabicPod101 is an essential asset to help achieve that goal. ArabicPod101 offers a fun way to learn Arabic at an affordable price.
Michael has been an avid language learner and traveler for many years. His goal with LanguageTsar is to discover the most fun and effective ways to learn a language. He is currently learning Japanese, French and Indonesian.