Founded in 2012, Arcana was formerly a language institute based in Bahrain. The institute stopped receiving students in 2018 in order to focus on developing an online digital platform for Arabic learners. Arabic Online School, set to launch in early 2020, will offer a complete course that will take learners from zero to fluency. The courses were developed using the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis and will be available in Gulf Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.
Our Teaching Approach
Modern linguistics has reshaped the way we think about languages. In 1957, linguist Noam Chomsky published a groundbreaking book called “Syntactic Structures.” It proposed a novel idea: all human beings may be born with an innate understanding of how language works. We can acquire language because we’re genetically encoded with a universal grammar and a basic understanding of how communication is structured.
Chomsky and other linguists have maintained that all languages contain similar elements. All languages, for example, break down into similar categories of words: nouns, verbs, and adjectives, to name three.
Another shared characteristic of language is recursion. With rare exceptions, all languages use structures that repeat themselves, allowing us to expand those structures almost infinitely. Chomsky and others have argued that because almost all languages share these characteristics despite their other variations, we may be born pre-programmed with a universal grammar.
We used this understanding to develop a more natural, immersive approach to language learning that mimics the way we acquire our first languages, rather than memorizing grammatical rules and vocabulary lists. Focusing on the structural differences between English and Arabic, we were able to convey a sense of grammatical understanding through our courses without having to use any complex grammatical terms.
Our method not only works but it allows students to gain a functional use of the Arabic language in only three months. The lessons are only twenty-minutes long, which helps students retain the information without needing to review and maintain consistency over the learning period.
At Arcana, we’re committed to improvement. Test questions are embedded throughout our courses to measure how learners are progressing — and to show where Arcana can improve.
We use the results to develop new and better courses, expand our universe of language-learning tools, update our materials as languages evolve, and ensure we’re continuing to offer the best language education in the world.