Memrise for Arabic

4-5 Arabic, Apps, Audio Lessons, Flashcards, Multimedia, Vocabulary, Websites, Kids

January 19, 2014

Price  Free
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

I am now a hard-core Memrise addict. It is all over for me, but stop reading here and you could be saved from a similar fate.

Still reading? Beware, compulsive types! If you try this website—which is free, making it even more deadly!—you may find yourself having trouble separating yourself from it for work and social obligations. And also taking out the trash, and eating, and perhaps even using the toilet.

I have so far been parked mostly in the Arabic section, drilling vocabulary for hours at a time, though there is content for many languages. I am personally more inclined to use Memrise for languages with unfamiliar writing systems than for familiar ones.

I’m not sure what percentage of the Memrise content is user-contributed. A lot, at least. Maybe all, though I do see the Memrise COO’s name on some material. As with user-contributed content across the web, some of this stuff is hit and miss. Therefore, I recommend you browse and be selective.

Below are some of the Arabic units I have been enjoying (all have audio, which I find essential to my learning progress and pleasure):

Once you pick out some good content, the Memrise system—which I feel really takes into account how human beings remember and forget and remember again—will help you learn what you have selected.

Here is an excerpt of their explanation of themselves: “We use mems to help you form vivid, sensory memories. We test you continuously, always making sure to give your brain just the right workout. We remind you of what you’ve learned at scientifically optimized times so your memories are always growing stronger, and never forgotten.”

Mems? What are mems? That required a quick Google to pull up the right page. They are, according to Memrise, “mnemonics and memory aids.”

The above-mentioned Arabic modules have changed my Arabic-learning life by giving me nonstop opportunities to read, hear, type, and muse over some of the most common Arabic words, thus helping me acquire real skills in this wholly unfamiliar writing system. I need to see to learn; being able to recognize Arabic quickly on a page is critical for me to acquire vocabulary and read actual grammar books.

As I said, I am extremely enthusiastic about this product for languages with different and difficult writing systems: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Hebrew, and so on. The Arabic section seems to have a very generous amount of high-quality content; the Hebrew is not nearly as well stocked, I have noticed.

There are definitely content errors, input errors, and technical glitches. Sometimes the glitches are quite frustrating. That is why I didn’t give this site a perfect score. And some of the user-contributed content just isn’t all that good.

Memrise can be enjoyed in both app and website form. The functionality is somewhat different, and both are cool. The app is more glitchy, but I prefer it for various reasons, one of which is that I like using a touch screen for vocabulary acquisition. My philosophy: less clicking is good. The app is available at no charge on iTunes.

Memrise offers many languages, so look around! 

Just a Few of Your Many, Many Memrise Language Choices!
Just a Few of Your Many, Many Memrise Language Choices!

Memrise Ltd.
33 Wadeson Street
London, E2 9DR

Comments (3)

Glenford Nunez • Posted on Mon, July 21, 2014 - 12:01 pm EST

Hey Ellen!
I have been using Memrise for Spanish and I started Arabic today. Thank you for the list of good Arabic lessons.

How has your knowledge of Arabic changed since you wrote this post?

- Glenford Nunez

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, July 21, 2014 - 11:29 pm EST

Hi, Glenford! Mostly my Arabic has declined (use it or lose it, you know!), but my familiarity with the writing system has improved because of my current Persian studies.

Good luck with Arabic! I definitely remain interested in the language and want to do more with it down the road.

Holly • Posted on Wed, February 11, 2015 - 5:07 am EST

Hi again, Ellen

Another hardcore memrise addict here. I stumbled on it after reading a very cool book on memory that mentioned the CEO Ed Cooke, and I’m so glad I did! It’s awesome. There are some gggrreat French vocab courses, and the Japanese courses have changed my language-learning life.

I’m wondering, do you know if the courses you recommend here are compatible with Eastern (Levantine) Arabic? My purpose in learning Arabic is to be able to speak to my friends in Palestine, so I don’t want to be learning words in the wrong dialect…

Cheers :D


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