I know how to read, write and speak arabic yet i dont understand it.
I tried to look for a word that describes my predicament yet i can't find one.
Since many share this issue i am convinced there is one.
thus my question if such a word even exists.
if yes what word is it?

edit: i know the phonetics for example: if you were to give me an arabic text i would read it out loud correctly but i would have no clue as to what it is i am saying.

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    I have exactly the same problem with all the languages I know, and as far as I know there is no word for such a person except linguist. We linguists tend to figure out the syntax fast because we have some idea what to expect, and knowing phonetics means a good accent (eventually, with lots of practice). But I tend to speak like a textbook instead of idiomatically. My colleague Jerry Sadock, who spent his entire career studying Eskimo (he majored in it in college in Denmark!), tells me that he can understand it pretty well for about half an hour, and then he has to lie down for a while. – John Lawler Mar 17 '18 at 18:51
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    Many people struggle to master even their own native language and if you come up with a word you will be faced with the further predicament of using it to describe a rather large number of the global population. I describe my own competence in two particular languages as 'schoolboy French' and 'schoolboy Latin'. – Nigel J Mar 17 '18 at 19:37
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    Hello namesake! I thought it was impossible for a person to read, write and speak a language but not understand it... Do you mean that when others speak Arabic you can't understand what they are saying, or that you know the basics of the language but do not understand its details? Or do you mean something else? Please edit your question to clarify this point. – English Student Mar 17 '18 at 19:56
  • he was lettered in xxx, but alas ... he found it to only be a 'sheepskin'! – lbf Mar 17 '18 at 20:34
  • Do you not understand some spoken Arabic because [there are many variations / colloquialisms which make it hard to understand the others with different variations?] (slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_gist/2002/04/…). If this is the case, consider this thesis, which touces on that problem (in reading novels/ texts), it uses the idiom lot in translation – JJ for Transparency and Monica Mar 18 '18 at 3:55

One way of describing language competence which is not very competent is 'schoolboy French' or whatever.

David Cameron, who has notoriously poor schoolboy French, is urging today's youngsters to abandon the language of Molière and Voltaire to concentrate on the tongue of the future – Mandarin.

The Guardian

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    That's usually reserved for people with some exposure to the language but with little fluency in any of the four language skills. The OP is suggesting he has some level of fluency in all but listening. – KarlG Mar 17 '18 at 19:45
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    Well that needs clarifying as @English Student has pointed out in comment. – Nigel J Mar 17 '18 at 20:32
  • i just edited the question based on the comments. no clue whether that is the correct way. – english student Mar 18 '18 at 20:50

If you have studied classical Arabic, yet cannot understand that language in spoken form, then you lack the skill aural comprehension. This is rather unusual, since as one of the passive skills, it's usually one of the first skills acquired. There is no word for this other than "someone who needs practice listening" if the skill is desired.

If, however, you can understand spoken classical Arabic, but would be utterly clueless if someone dropped you in Morocco or Bahrain because the local dialect diverges so much from what you can understand, then you could be termed monodialectical in Arabic.

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    The ability to follow along with a liturgical language such as Hebrew, Arabic, or Latin without understanding what you're actually saying is incredibly common. – Stu W Mar 18 '18 at 1:26
  • Language without understanding is behavior or perhaps music, but it is speech only in a mechanical sense. Those who "follow along" are hardly likely to have any fluency in the other three language skills as the OP claims. – KarlG Mar 18 '18 at 14:36

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