“I bought Rosetta Stone, this great program for learning Arabic on my computer, but now I realize that it is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and It can’t help me with the Gulf dialect.”
For those who don’t know. Rosetta Stone is a very good program which helps you to learn Arabic vocabulary and practice some skills without using English translation. It uses pictures and the user responds to what he or she sees in the picture. For example, you can use it in listening mode and you will hear a word, a phrase, or a sentence. At the same time you will see 4 pictures. You simply click on the picture that matches the meaning of what you hear. The program tells you if you were correct or not. This is the most simple mode, but there are many other skills and ways to practice with it.
But, as mentioned above, unfortunately, it is only MSA. However, there is a simple way that you can make it an effective dialect tool as well.
For this you need a local friend or language helper to help you. Your helper puts on the headphones and listens to what the computer says. He then changes it to how he would normally communicate the same idea and says this out loud. You listen to him and click on the picture that matches.
For example, through the headphones he hears “qiTTa” (MSA) and says “gaTwa” (Gulf dialect) and you click on the picture of a cat. Ta Daa! You have a Gulf dialect computer game that your helper can easily manage (usually) and will enjoy with you.