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Is It Hard for Arabic Speakers to Learn American English?
December 22, 2022 at 8:00 AM
Is It Hard for Arabic Speakers to Learn American English?

Learning a new language can be challenging as every language has differences. Arabic words have a three-consonant root and are formed by combining the roots with a fixed vowel pattern or affix. In addition, the Arabic language has three times fewer vowel sounds than the English language. However, despite these differences, Arabic speakers often learn English quickly when taking an Intensive English Program at American English Institute.

Luckily, at American English Institute, we provide an Intensive English Program that can help students quickly improve their English to succeed in academic settings and speak and write confidently both for university purposes and in the workplace. Students at a beginner level learning English can attain advanced-level English skills in less than a year with help from our teachers.

In this article, we will cover the writing, phonology, pronunciation, and grammar differences Arab speakers encounter when learning English.


The differences between the Arabic and English languages in writing might seem like a challenge, however, Arab speakers can master English. The Arabic alphabet does not contain capital and small letters like the English language, and they frequently change form when written as part of a word. This can make it difficult for someone learning English to know when to capitalize words, such as at the beginning of a sentence or to emphasize words or names. Arabic is also written right to the left, which is the opposite of how the English language is written. Despite these things, Arabic speakers learn how to write the language perfectly with the help of an expert teacher and a lot of guided practice in AEI’s small classes.


The first difference between English and Arabic for grammar is that Arabic contains a single present tense, whereas English has both the simple and continuous present tense forms. In addition, there are no verbs “to be” or “do” in the present tense in Arabic. Considering these differences, Arabic learners will have to learn English grammar without relating it to their native tongue. However, Arabic grammar has many rules English doesn’t have. In Arabic, adjectives , must agree with the noun in number. In English, adjectives don’t change depending on the noun. So for some Arab speakers, they might be happy to learn English grammar!

Phonology and pronunciation

The last way the two languages differ is in phonology and pronunciation. Native Arabic speakers can have a hard time pronouncing certain English words as the /p/ and /v/ sounds do not exist in Arabic phonology, which can cause them to substitute those sounds with /b/ and /f/ as those sounds are most similar to what they are used to. In addition, words containing consonants next to each other, like “stop” and “shout,” can also present a challenge for Arabic speakers as they are difficult to pronounce. Most learners may add an extra vowel to those words to make pronunciation more manageable, which is incorrect. Also, silent letters such as /sh/ in “shout” and /g/ in “design” does not exist in the Arabic language. Despite this, our experience with Arabic speakers is that they learn these things quite easily. And, we love to hear Arab speakers roll the /r/ even though we don’t do this in English.

Arabic learners will need to learn to produce the different vowel sounds of English and familiarize themselves with common spoken English to increase fluency.

Begin achieving your English goals today!

Luckily, our teachers at the American English Institute can help Arabic speakers learn English with pronunciation, writing, and grammar. With five levels of English offered and 20 hours of instruction per week, students will quickly be on the way to becoming proficient English speakers!

At the American English Institute, we offer superior instruction with small class sizes—ensuring each student gets hands-on feedback and encouragement. Our Riverside, CA, school is one of the best language schools in the area, offering specialized classes to meet your unique needs. With a little help, you can be well on your way to achieving all your professional dreams and more. Learn more about the programs we offer and apply now on our website.