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Introduction to Arabic language and culture

Have you always wanted to learn how to speak Arabic and understand the culture? Are you fascinated by the sound, the script and the rich history of this ancient civilisation? If so, this 10-unit course can give you a solid introduction to the language. Through three to four study hours per unit you’ll learn the essentials of reading, writing, speaking and listening in Arabic through a variety of online activities. You’ll also learn fascinating facts and stories about the history and culture of the Arab world. By the end of the course, you’ll have developed the skills needed to speak and understand simple Arabic and simplified characters in everyday contexts which makes this a perfect online short course for absolute beginners.

After successfully completing this short course, you will receive a digital badge. This can be shared on social media, added to email signatures or act as a certificate.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code



This is a non-credit bearing course.

Study method

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

This course gives you an introduction on how to use the Arabic language when speaking and writing about everyday topics. You’ll learn the basics in grammar, the writing system, pronunciation and how to use common set phrases appropriately. The bite-sized and user-friendly sessions of each unit consist of a variety of online-activities and of audio recordings by native Arabic speakers. Besides this, every unit consists of a dedicated culture session that invites you to engage with the history, traditions and way of life in the Arab world.

Here are a few examples of what you can learn about the Arabic language and culture.

  • How to introduce yourself
  • How to talk about hobbies, your family and where you live
  • The use of pronouns and articles
  • Basic sentence structures
  • The role of the Hijiri calendar
  • Traditions around Ramadan
  • How Arabic has influenced other languages in Europe and Asia

Learning a new language such as Arabic has also been shown to enhance your cognitive abilities, so whilst learning a new script may be challenging at times, the challenge is very rewarding!

Please note that although this course is non-accredited, it can be used towards the module Making your learning count (YXM130) to gain OU credits.

You will learn

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • communicate with speakers of Arabic in a limited range of predictable and simple contexts relating to everyday situations
  • write and connect all the letters of the Arabic alphabet and write basic sentences using three different tenses
  • understand spoken Arabic on simple everyday topics
  • have a basic understanding of differences in history and language in different regions of the Arab world
  • be familiar with common customs, values and interests of people who live or have roots in the Arab world

This course is designed to help you achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level A1 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

Learner support

You will have access to discussion forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in as these forums combine support from fellow students with input from a language-specialist learning adviser. Other support is available via the StudentHome website and Computing Helpdesk.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying LGXA001 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for this course.

However, you may wish to complete this Introduction to Arabic on OpenLearn first to gain a better understanding prior to starting.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

Course length

The course is made up of 10 units, with each unit expected to take about three to four hours to study. In total, you’ll need around 30–40 hours to complete the course.

You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace. The course will be open to you for a time period of between 6 and 18 months depending on your course registration date and you will be advised of the specific time limitations upon enrolment.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jun 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £195.00

Registration closes 31/07/2024


Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

All learning materials are delivered entirely online and there is no formal tuition for this course.

Your study is self-directed and you’ll have access to a course website, which includes:

  • a unit-by-unit study planner
  • course-specific materials and activities
  • audio and video content
  • discussion forums
  • support from language-specialist learning advisers.

You will need

You will need to download an Arabic text font for some of the activities and quizzes.

Computing requirements

You'll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS Ventura or higher.

Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.