My students are teaching me Arabic.  I’m really excited about this.  I can have a very short and very slow conversation in Arabic now.  This is a great accomplishment for me since I came here with absolutely no Arabic in my head.  : D  Some of my students are taking more of an interest with this educational need and are helping me learn a new Arabic word each day.  Even some of the Arab teachers are getting in on the act and helping me learn my numbers and giving me worksheets for the letters (I’m still very illiterate in Arabic).

So now I have a notebook where I write all my new Arabic words and phrases.  Then I study them and try to use them as often as I can.  Some of my students are even giving me deadlines to learn certain words or phrases.  It’s fun because they get to be the expert on something and it also helps some of the kids who grew up in America learn their Arabic better.

Here is my problem:  I can’t role my ‘r’ and I can’t get the throat sounds correct.  See, there’s certain numbers they use in their English writing of the words and they mean different sounds that can’t be expressed with letters.  So 2, 3, 5, and 7 all have specific sounds and the only one I’m good at is 5.  The greater problem is that the kids know this and this it’s funny.  They like to continue saying the sound over and over again until I get it but when I hear it, it sounds the same to me!  They also have no confidence in my ability to learn these sounds or my ‘r’ rolling.

I also have a few students who just want to teach me all the curse words and other inappropriate phrases.  Unfortunately, those words are easy to learn so I know them now.  This does help me in class because I can recognize them when the kids are using them so they get away with less now.  But I think they thought I’d get all upset or weird or whatever about learning these words but I don’t.  It’s actually really funny because they’ll write them down for me and then say, “Read them to me!”  So I read them and they smack my face when I say the words stating, “My mom can hear you!”  To which I respond by laughing and saying, “You’re the one teaching me!”

I can understand more Arabic than I can speak and I’m learning more and more every day.  It really is one of the hardest languages to learn.  But I am determined to succeed in knowing this language well enough to hold a real conversation or watch an Arabic TV show.

Well, wish me luck.  I’m off to work on my Arabic!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by odai on November 6, 2009 at 2:11 am

    That’s so cool ! !
    if i weren’t arabic native speaker , i wouldn’t never try to learn arabic cuz it’s so hard and donforget the way we write (back words). ! !

    good luck


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