Arab Student Problems In Learning English

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Nowadays English language has been an important role in our daily life. It opens a window to communicate with other people in all over the world, knowing news about the world and open chance to study and work outside the Arab countries. English teachers face a lot of problems when teaching English to Arab students because of their social and cultural backgrounds. English also difficult because is not used in daily situations and it’s a second language. Backgrounds of students on English language comes from primary and secondary school which they consider English language as the other subject and they need marks only to pass the exam without learn, when they go to the university they will face a big problem with English.

English language has four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

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Arab student face problem with four English language skills.

Problems in Speaking (Communication)

Problem face Arab student when uses English in communication are: they often lack of suitable vocabulary to get their meaning across, lack of motivation, think in the word before speaking make student confuse and cannot continue talking, they can’t keep conversation going for long period of time and they cannot communicate with native speaker because they lack of self confidant. Pronunciation is another problem face Arab student, they found problem in differentiate between the sounds of /p/ and /b/, /v/ and /f/, /Ɵ/ and /ð / and /t/and/k/.

Problem in Writing

Writing is very important skill in English and there were great different between Arabic and English, most problems face student is: spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, capitalization, organization of ideas, content of assay, singular and plural word, repetition of word and sentence on phrases, suitable place of use formal and informal word and using the right expressions.

Problem in Reading

Most problems with Arab student in reading English comes from different style between English and their mother language, problem in recognizing the alphabets, different in way of pronounce of some word than way of written, fear of the student from make mistake while they was reading, lack of acknowledgment of meaning of some words and unfamiliar with English language.

Problem in Listening

Arab face problem in listening because there are various accents in English speakers this makes the listener convinced and cannot understand every word speaker said and most speakers speak quickly and listener cannot catch them. Listener face problem with pronunciation include: vocabulary, stress, intonation and grammar.


  • Use English language in daily situation (practice).
  • Don’t worry about making mistake when speaking.
  • Be confidant.
  • Talk with native speakers.
  • Stop translates every word.
  • Don’t compare yourself with native speakers.
  • Improve yourself in grammar and vocabulary.
  • Watch English movies without translate.
  • Listening to English radio and conversations


To conclude Arab student face problems with four English skills (speaking, writing, reading and listening) because social and cultural background, English language is the second language and Arab student lack of confidant and motivation. Most problems conclude in problem in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and spelling.


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