Learning Arabic can be daunting! I toyed with the idea of taking formal lessons where I’d learn to read and write Arabic letters but after one go with the Rosetta Stone language program I gave it up! Egyptian Arabic has it’s own vernacular that is reported to be the most widely understood form of Arabic. It’s a bit different than the Rosetta Language program so I decided to concentrate on learning the language verbally and in it’s text and social media friendly Latin letter form: Franco Arabic. Franco Arabic is very helpful for taking notes and keeping a dictionary without having to learn a completely foreign alphabet. Franco Arabic is also a great way to remember pronunciation as there are letters in Arabic that do not equate to anything in the Latin alphabet. Eventually when my vocabulary is a bit better, I would like to learn to read and write Arabic, Inshallah.
My method for learning is Anywhere & All the time! I carry a small notebook everywhere I go. I started with the small stuff, good morning, hello, what’s up, I want, I like, etc. And now, I’m refining the small stuff to carry on short conversations, adding new words and phrases and dealing with different verb tenses and gender. The other method I use for learning is listening. This requires some patience and some friends with patience! I often interrupt conversations with an eloquent “What’s that mean” or simply a less eloquent, “What?”
And ahumdallah, I get a mini-lesson in Arabic. I start scribbling in my notebook, adding my new words, correcting old ones, and crossing out some earlier misguided entries. It’s been frustrating! Sitting in a room with people having lively conversation (no matter how mundane the topic, all Egyptian conversation is lively!) and not knowing what is being said and not able to contribute can be frustrating. That’s how I got started with the interrupting habit. People light up when they see you are trying to learn their language! I usually get an overwhelming response from everyone in the room and sometimes my queries lead to interesting conversation. Usually between the Arabic speakers so I don’t know exactly what’s being said, but it looks lively!
There’s a lot more to be said about this topic so I’ve started a category Learning Arabic that I’ll post in regularly. I’d love to hear from others who are learning the language and any techniques, tips, words are always welcome!