I’m not good at learning languages.
We do not believe anyone is poor at learning language. The best evidence is how you use your native language. You’ve been very successful, haven’t you?! It’s counter-productive how foreign languages are traditionally taught in schools, discouraging all the but those who have unique aptitude.
If I work hard to be able to read and write and speak, I will also be able to understand speech as well.
No! An enormous amount of learning must take place before someone can have much ability to understand the natural speech of another people group. The understanding mechanism in your brain is not the same as the talking mechanism. So... to learn to understand, you must first LEARN TO LISTEN
It is unhelpful to think of language as something to be aquired. Instead, it is more productive to think of yourself being nurtured into a new languacultural world while you are learning language. We don’t "get" a new language, we grow in it.
I know we learned language this way as babies, but adults learn differently than children.
Actually, the way our brains are designed to learn language has not changed. After years and years of being trained to learn in academic ways, we’ve made it our habitual way of learning. But the Growing Participator Approach is the most integrated approach with your brain’s optimal way to take in, store, and use language. Your Arabic will be more natural and easier for you to access - and you’ll have a lot more fun learning it.
I know how I learn, and I just can’t learn well this way. I have to write things down.
Writing (and reading) actually seriously distract from listening. Our brains are designed to learn this way, we’ve just allowed this function to atrophy. But you can actually rebuild the functionality with this approach. Trust the science and give it a try; you’ll be amazed by how much you are able to learn even without writing it down!
Can’t I just use a computer-based learning method? I’ve got one that even analyses my speech so that I can sound just like a local person.
Remember, you are not just learning a foreign language for recreation. You want to actually participate in Tunisian life. There is a special bond that forms when we allow ourselves to be learners and rely on local people to grow in using language and other cultural norms.
Tunisian Arabic is a dialect, on-line programs for Arabic are either MSA or another popular form, like Egyptian Arabic or Levantine. You could get by on those in Tunisia, but you would still sound very foreign.