Unit 3: Inquiring About Well-Being


two friends talking

This Arabic Without Walls lesson corresponds to the third unit of Alif Baa. You will learn how to ask someone else how he/she is doing, as well as to respond to this question in a native-like manner.

Unit 3 Learning Tips

Prioritize: Basics First!

By now, you may have noticed that we have included a fair number of optional links in our lessons. Since you are not in class each day, we tried to anticipate some of your language questions and answered them in our lessons through opitonal materials. For instance, for grammar buffs we offer grammatical dissections, as well as more detailed grammar explanations. For vocabulary fiends, we offer extra vocabulary lists based on what we think some of you might also want to know. And for struggling learners, we offer hint links and feedback to help you focus in on what you need to. That said, we do not expect that anyone will use all of these optional links. In fact, we would even discourage it.

The most important things you need to know are included in the main sections of the lesson. Please learn these core basics first. And if you struggle with mastering the basics, by all means, do not overwhelm yourself more by clicking on optional links. That said, if something interests you, we want you to be able to learn more about it.

Just be wise in your use of optional links. Don't let them distract you from the core elements, overwhelm you with detail, or just plain eat up too much of your time.


We assume that being able to communicate proficiently is your goal. To do so, you will need to work on speech rate and response time, as well as accuracy. It is the sad truth that few people have the patience to listen to someone who speaks slow, no matter how accurate the language is. Of course, you are a beginning language learner, so no one can expect you to speak at a native's rate, but you should be aware of speech rate and response time as elements of fluency.

The problem is that the quantity of time spent studying Arabic isn't necessarily going to make you speak faster. The quantity of practice, however, sure makes a difference.

We challenge you to practice, practice, practice to the point of "automaticity." Don't just know how to say your name and ask someone else theirs; be able to do it on the spot. Especially with the things we have covered thus far (i.e. greetings, personal introductions, inquiring about someone's well-being), the range of possible responses is fairly limited, which means that automaticity is definitely within your grasp.

The next two exercises are designed to help raise your awareness of your own level of automaticity.