Did you know the word “magazine” comes from the Arabic مخازن, which means “warehouses”?
It was given its current meaning of “periodical” in English by a publisher named Edward Cave in 1731.
And now the concept has come full circle, because Arabic magazines are more widespread than ever before.
There’s an Arabic magazine for just about everything.
But from time to time, it’s good to give your ears a break…just so you’ll still have your hearing when you’re 89 years old, you know?
Also, reading is an essential language skill.
But before we look at some of the more popular magazines in the Arabic-speaking world, let me share with you how I used magazines to learn Arabic efficiently.
How to Use Magazines to Learn Arabic
- Summarize articles. Summarizing articles will improve your comprehension skills at an astonishing rate. After applying this technique with just a few articles, you’ll already notice how easy it becomes for you to understand Arabic text faster. For a practical approach, try summarizing each paragraph separately, and then merge all the summaries into one paragraph that combines all the main ideas in the article. This technique is strongly recommended for intermediate Arabic learners.
- Use an RSS reader. A Rich Site Summary (RSS) is simply a format for delivering website content such as news, videos, podcasts, etc. An RSS reader will provide you with a list of updates to your favorite magazines in one place where you can separate the wheat from the chaff. Feedly is free, and probably the most popular RSS reader. It displays new blog posts and updates of your selected magazines in an easy and manageable way. You can get it as an Android or iOS app, a website or an extension of Google Chrome.
- Translate articles. Translating texts exposes you to profound insight on everything you read by looking into every nook and cranny. If you have an Arabic teacher or language partner, make sure you ask him or her to review your translation. This way, you’ll expand your vocabulary and advance your understanding of the structure of Arabic. I would also recommended creating a blog where you can document your work and save it on a good-looking platform that will motivate you to translate more.
- Discuss articles. Speaking is a critical skill that every Arabic student needs to learn. Through discussing the content published on magazine sites, you’ll develop incredible capabilities in speaking and describing things in Arabic. But you might be thinking to yourself, “Who am I going to discuss these articles with?” The answer is simple: your language partner. And if you don’t have one, finding one may be simpler than you think!
- Commit to reading. Commit and succeed! Mastering Arabic takes determination and commitment. Persistence and motivation are the keys to continued progress in vocabulary, structure and pronunciation. Making magazine reading a regular part of your routine is a fun and easy way to commit to consistent Arabic practice.
9 Outstanding Magazines to Help You Learn Arabic
If you’re interested in new business trends in the world, you probably already read Entrepreneur.
If you’re looking to establish a business or a startup, or you already have one, you’ll find a tremendous amount of advice on a variety of topics concerning all the challenges, experiences and problems businesses face today in this online Arabic version of the magazine. Most blog posts tackle topics such as business events in the Arabic world, news and tips for entrepreneurs.
The majority of the articles are translated from contributions to the international version of the magazine; therefore, you can use the original posts to get a bird’s-eye view of an article before you read it in Arabic.
Are you obsessed with striking facts, lists and business data?
If the answer is yes, then Forbes is the magazine for you.
Forbes Middle East is the Arabic version of the well-known international magazine. Most of the articles on the website are translated, while others are written by professional writers and journalists in Arabic.
By subscribing to Forbes, you’ll receive a free online issue of the magazine.
Whether you’re a science geek or a nature enthusiast, Nature might be just what you’re looking for.
Focusing significantly on scientists and science lovers, Nature publishes on a wide range of topics, including new discoveries and inventions throughout the world. The Saudi Arabia-based magazine is available in both digital and print forms, with in-depth, researched articles written at an advanced Arabic level.
National Geographic is a well-reputed monthly publication, and probably the most famous science magazine in the Arabic-language world.
It offers stories on the most important up-to-date natural and cultural topics in the world, in addition to an enormous amount of features on Arab culture.
National Geographic is best for intermediate to advanced Arabic learners.
What makes this magazine unique is its diversity and scope. This not only makes BBC Arabic a daily resource for entertaining Arabic, but it also provides you with an “all-in-one” space to practice reading in Arabic.
The main categories of the magazine are technology, finance, the Middle East, the world, sports, arts and health.
Generally, BBC Arabic publishes blog posts in simple Arabic that can be beneficial for everyone from elementary to advanced learners.
Sayidaty (meaning “My Lady”) is the go-to women’s magazine in Arabic.
Unlike the previous publications on this list, Sayidaty may be interesting to learners for having been originally intended for an Arabic-reading audience. Over the years, it’s become a hugely successful magazine in the Arabic-language world, topping bestseller lists in many countries in the Middle East.
The print version of the magazine can now be found in many countries in Europe and America, in both Arabic and English.
Looking for an Arabic version of BuzzFeed? Welcome to Arageek.
Arageek is a well-known online Arabic magazine, posting articles on topics such as arts, education, technology, etc.
Most of the articles are translated from English magazines, and the affiliated links are included at the bottom of each article.
From the beginning, you’ll notice that Arageek (“Arabic Geek”) uses a simple language that even those with just basic Arabic skills can easily scan and digest.
It’s interesting how many people feel like politics give them a headache, while others find knowledge of them indispensable.
For the second group, Rai Alyoum is a pure politics online magazine that generally focuses on political issues in the Middle East and North Africa. The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Abdel Bari Atwan, is considered one of the most influential journalists of the last few decades in the Arab world.
You can read his new contributions by clicking the box entitled “كلمة رئيس التحرير,” where he writes about his thoughts on the latest trending news.
I’ve met many students who were learning Arabic for the sole reason of being able to read its wonderful literature.
Alef Today posts stories and poems with enticing titles such as “Witness to Love” and “The First Sandal in the City of Shoes.”
Translations of foreign literature are also regularly published on the magazine’s website.
By choosing the magazines that best fit your personal interests and following the learning tips above, you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your Arabic learning endeavors.
Yassir Sahnoun is a freelance writer, polyglot and translator living in Morocco. He loves learning about other languages, peoples and cultures. He also works on improving the presence of his native language, Tamazight (Berber), on the Internet. You can learn more about Yassir at his website.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.