Reading from right to left

Reading from right to left: how long does it take to adjust when learning Arabic as an English speaker?

Arabic is one of the world�s increasingly important languages thanks to its position at the centre of business.

One of the many challenges that people face when learning a language such as Arabic is becoming accustomed to right to left reading. Even where people have studied for some length of time, with a wide variety of words and phrases, the fact that we have spent so much of our life reading from left to right means that a block of text can prove to be an issue for some time.� So in this guide we look at exactly how long it takes to adjust to this alternative way of reading, the things that you can do to improve as an Arabic language learner and the other factors of Arabic that are a challenge.

Reading from right to left: How long will it take?

The length of time it takes to get used to reading Arabic greatly depends on the person who�s learning the language. Some will be more naturally inclined to pick the format up quickly and compared to this there may be others who particularly struggle with getting used the right to left format. The time differences between these two groups can range from weeks to months.

It additionally depends upon how frequently you practice and your language teacher. Reading only Arabic texts, on a daily basis, will see your brain adapting far quicker than if revising only every few days with the reading of English texts in between. Whilst it isn’t always possible to avoid reading English reading completely, you should certainly try to practice an Arabic text per day, even if you don�t understand any or all of it.

Tips on adjusting to right to left reading

The following tips may help you adjust to reading from right to left more quickly.

– Place post it notes on the right hand side of the page. You may want to change the colour every so often so that it always grabs your attention.

– Place Arabic texts around the house, so you can practice reading from right to left whilst making the tea to doing the washing up.

– Marking your right hand with a marker pen.

Others areas of the Arabic language that can prove to be a struggle


When compared to languages such as French and Spanish, Arabic are considerably different in terms of pronunciation. There are more sounds and tones to master and wrapping your tongue around a the majority of words may leave you frustrated for the first few weeks.

Letters and word structure

The Arabic alphabet has a set of entirely different letters. This means that Arabic can be, at first, like learning a code.

Lingos can help you not only overcome the issues with getting used to reading from right to left, but can help you in all areas where you may be struggling with the Arabic language (and being one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn, there may be plenty of issues you face in your language journey). They will help you find a language teacher and improve your language.