Learning new languages, including Arabic, has become much easier with the help of mobile apps. Popular apps like Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, and Promova use fun techniques such as quizzes, challenges, and rewards to keep users engaged and motivated.
One user, Khushie Mallya, a PR professional from India living in Dubai, has learned basic Arabic using Duolingo, even though she has not been in the region for a long time like other residents.
Duolingo, in particular, is known for its Arabic course, which is like having a personal language tutor on your phone. It is convenient and free, unlike traditional classes.
Mallya’s progress has inspired her colleagues to start a Duolingo challenge at work, led by their CEO. This shows how mobile language apps can create a learning culture.
These language apps are also helpful for residents who used to know Arabic but lost touch due to travel or moving. For example, Aisha Yaqub, a Pakistani who grew up in Kuwait and now lives in Dubai, stopped speaking Arabic regularly and lost touch with the language over time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in language learning apps increased. In February 2023, Duolingo was the most downloaded language app worldwide, with nearly 13.4 million downloads. The app has over 500 million registered users.
Babbel is another popular app that uses real conversations by native speakers to teach languages. It has seen significant revenue growth and has over 10 million subscribers since its launch in 2008.
In UAE, Arabits, an AI-powered language learning tool, is helping non-Arabic speakers across the region learn the language.