There are 4 million Lebanese people living in Lebanon, but there are 15 million Lebanese scattered all over the world. The Lebanese language is also understood in the entire Middle-East region, by over 60 million people, or twice more if you include Egypt.
Learning Lebanese is as easy as learning any other foreign language, but you need to know where to start. Many confuse the Lebanese spoken language with Arabic. Although the two have common roots, Lebanese is to Arabic as French is to Latin. Lebanese is a living spoken language, whereas Arabic is a written only language.
Some may refer to Lebanese as the Lebanese dialect of Arabic, but to foreign ears it is a language in its own right.
In order to learn Lebanese, we recommend the following steps:
First of all, you need to forget about the idea that you will have to learn Arabic script writing in order to Learn Lebanese.
Lebanese people have developed a way of transliterating Lebanese pronunciation into Latin alphabet. Many have invented specific Latin characters.
You may refer to a Wikipedia article on Lebanese Arabic language at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Arabic
Lebanese is a spoken language. Learning Lebanese should therefore be based on conversational foundations. Keep away from tedious formal grammatical rules. There are a few attempts to build academic foundations of the spoken Lebanese, but they are all under construction, and none has gained universal legitimacy.
I recommend you find a website or a school that uses Lebanese transliteration with only English accents (no specific keyboard is required). With such sites and tools you do not have to learn a specific alphabet to write Lebanese words. You simply use an ordinary QWERTY (English) keyboard.
You should listen to conversations, and even learn by heart the basic ones. Given that you are learning a spoken language, you should repeat the conversations as often as you can in order to feel comfortable with the way they are said.
Finally remember, you cannot learn a language overnight. You cannot learn a language from a phrase book, and memorizing tons of grammar rules does not mean you will be able to apply them readily.
Give yourself time, and organize your time in such a way so as not to overburden yourself and get discouraged. Make of your learning experience a pleasant journey. Lebanese people are very outgoing and friendly, willing to communicate with you. Do not hesitate to practice with them, they will be very proud.