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ArabicPod - is it worth buying?


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I came across this site around 2 years ago


I listened to samples and I think the teachers are really funny and know how to keep it interesting and simple. I'm considering buying all lessons but I would love to hear some opinions from people who tried it out.

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  • 1 month later...

I have just checked out that website and to be honest i don't think that it is very professional because as i can notice the owners of the website didn't give some of their time to improve it, well the design is the proof, it simply doesn't encourage new people to sign up, maybe their lessons might be good and interesting but the first impression that i got when i first opened the website is that it is not very professional. 

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  • 4 months later...

Hi I was browsing this Linguaholic site for the first time yesterday and saw this question.  Arabicpod.net has been around for seven years and I have been a paid premium member now for a full five years.  I am a lawyer in the U.S. and am a casual learner, spending about six hours per week.  Here is a link to the current cost breakdown:  http://www.arabicpod.net/user/membership_comparison .

So starting with the free, as everyone here probably already knows, you get just the beginner lessons (with user discussion).  For a casual beginner, that may suffice for a while.  The formula here is a few lines of fairly simple text, analyzed and translated with an 8-10 minute podcast.

The "basic" user gets all levels and a regular .pdf transcript.  The transcripts are excellent.  There are five levels, beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate, and expert.  At $75 for a full year (and less for shorter periods), this seems like a very good deal.  (I just purchased an Arabic book of synonyms at the same price.)  For a five year casual learner, I find the expert level to be quite challenging, but all of the other levels are stimulating and accessible.

The "premium" user gets some excellent additional features.  First of all, there is additional premium content on the site (including games, videos, etc.).  What I use always use are the premium audio embedded .pdfs for each lesson.  Click on a button and you get the articulation for a line of text.  Repeat until you learn it.  I also use a graphic vocabulary checker, which comes with each lesson.  For me, that extra content is well worth the $198 per year cost (and I also donate a small extra amount).

The higher level content is phenomenal.  Whereas at the beginner level you can only get a simple situation because everything requires explanation, the higher levels begin with very interesting contexts.  There was just a podcast on a zoo in Argentina where users can feed dangerous animals.  Other illustrative topics include floods in the U.S. state of Colorado; the Chelsea (London) annual flower show; the death of an Algerian singer.  Many of the broadcasts include family, friendship.  And yes, a bit of politics (but maturely focusing on learning the language and nothing really objectionable from any perspective).  You can get this content beginning at $75 per year just with a basic!

Anyway, as the seven year track record shows, the producers are committed.  They broadcast from London.  One, I think, is a physician doctor.  They are outstanding teachers.  And what I also very much like is that there is little advertising in their podcasts and elsewhere - they primarily rely on word of mouth for users.

Good luck with all of your decisions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, after posting this I thought of some more reasons to go(pay) to a higher level at Arabicpod.net:

  1.  Clarity of expression, understanding, and explanation from the teachers.  The teachers are fluent in English (living in London) and also have a deep understanding of both English and Arabic grammar and usage, including the various Arabic regional dialects.  Their explanations are clear and unbelievably precise for work of this nature.

  2.  Although most of the 600 or so lessons are in Modern Standard Arabic, many include native guest speakers from other main dialects and explanations of regional differences.  The two main teachers have solid educational backgrounds in Saudi (Gulf) and Syria and those regions are often represented in explanations and occasionally in complete podcasts.  Levantine in general is also fairly well represented.  One of the past teachers was a native of Lebanon.  Lessons in Egyptian dialect are also present, and some lessons explain other main minority dialects (Morroccan comes to mind).

    3.  Access to past lessons - a subscription gives access to all past lessons and comments and they are pretty well indexed.

    4.  Video lessons - there are excellent video lessons on the site as well.

    5.  Access to the teachers and other students - through comments etc.

    6.  Reliability - new lessons average two per week, almost like clockwork.  I don't know how they do it, but that sure is appreciated.

    7.  Lack of in podcast advertising - very important as each podcast requires multiple listening sessions.  This in fact is the main reason I eliminated other podcasting companies from consideration.  I hate to listen to advertising.

    8.  General senstivity to the listening environment.  No pianos in the background etc.  Good quality sound and video.  Substantial in-podcast word repetition for the beginners; less repetition as you go up in skill level.

    9.  Dialogues as separate downloads - for repetition purposes, you can listen to the dialogues separately.  Hammer the words home into the brain.

All in all just excellent and for the price the subscription is a steal.

Note, I am not affiliated with them and as noted previously, am a five year premium subscriber.

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  • 3 months later...

I took a quick look at it and as a native speaker I think it is pretty good and worth buying. The pace of it and the language used is pretty simple and easy to grasp in my opinion. Go for it!  :wink:

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