One of the most common questions asked by learners of Arabic is ‘should I learn Modern Standard Arabic or a dialect first’? Dialect of course refers to any of the many local varieties of Arabic spoken across North Africa and the Middle East, and Modern Standard Arabic is the variety you see and hear when you turn on the news or read a newspaper. This question is often asked by people who want to be conversational in Arabic too. We’re not talking about students of politics or religion here necessarily. Just people who want to travel and converse to people.