7 Reasons Why You Should Learn Arabic

ahlanSince 9/11, the Arab World has been super controversial. Terrorism and islamism are now usually associated with that region, as well as other prejudices. I guess that’s why I wanted to learn Arabic in the first place and I think it’s the best decision I have ever made! I am so happy I took the plunge in 2006, although my parents encouraged me not to. I don’t think they had any preconceived ideas, but in their opinion, because the writing (and the language in general) was different, they thought a non-Arab would never be able to speak Arabic fluently. They were also scared to let me go to the Middle-East, afraid I would either be kidnapped or sold to a bedouin in exchange for a few camels. In both cases, they were wrong. Yes, you CAN become fluent in Arabic if you are not of an Arabic origin. Not only that, I personally think that if you are highly motivated, you can actually speak it and write it better than a lot of Arabs (I mean Standard Modern Arabic, regional dialects are a different story). In today’s post I have compiled 7 reasons why you should take up Arabic – I hope they will be convincing :-)

#1 Arabic is not a common language

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Translating from Arabic into a European language is rather unusual. This means you have more value on the market. This also shows people personality traits such as perseverance, determination and tolerance, which helps building trust in your relationship with your clients.

 

 

#2 The writing is different from European languages

arabic alphabet

To me, this was the most enjoyable part of the Arabic learning process. When I started learning the Arabic alphabet, I felt like I was learning a coded language that no one else would be able to understand. It only takes a couple of days to learn how to read. People will tell you that it’s tricky because letters are written differently when they are at the beginning, the middle or the end of the word, but to be frank, it’s not rocket science.

#3 Grammar is regular

grammar

Being a French speaker, I know how difficult grammar can be. French is full of irregularities, and although I am a native, it doesn’t mean I never struggle when I write in French. Arabic grammar is far from being easy, but unlike French, it is logical! The rule is the rule and you even have rules for exceptions. I love Arabic grammar as it is similar to mathematics :-). It has cases like in German, but only 3: Nominative, Accusative and Genitive.

# 4 The culture is different

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Which means it’s also intriguing. In the case of Arabic, culture is closely linked to Islam. This doesn’t mean that all Arabs are Muslims (or that all Muslims are Arabs), but the majority of them are. Also, there is a great deal you can visit in the Middle-East. Mesopotamia is considered a major milestone in the history of the world, and so are cities like Cairo, Damascus or Aleppo.

 

#5 The Arab Spring

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Let’s face it: Arabs are going through a tough time at the moment. And not being able to go back to Syria makes me really sad. A lot of my Arab friends have fled the country, and a lot of their friends have died or been imprisoned. On the flip side, it means there are a lot of opportunities businesswise: a lot of Arabs came to Europe, and in most cases, they will have to get their documents translated. Also, the fall of dictatorships (Libya for example) will allow the Western World to build new relationships with local businesses and open offices in the region. Needless to say that these companies will require staff who are fluent in Arabic.

#6 The Sun

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Okay, I won’t consider this as a USP as many other languages are spoken in sunny countries, but having the possibility to learn a language without asking yourself “how is the weather gonna be tommorrow?” is quite appealing. Ladies, in most Arabic countries you can’t just walk on the street in a mini-skirt, but still, it’s better than walking in a rainy and windy city like London.

 

 

#7 It’s Cheap

cheap

I am not aware of prices applied in Europe when it comes to Arabic classes, but shall you choose to travel to an Arabic country, it will be relatively cheap. Classes are much cheaper than in Europe and the value of money is goooooood. Accommodation is also much cheaper, which helps if you want to spend a year abroad.

 

 

Bye for now,

MH

Bye Bye, Rabat

My stay in Rabat is almost over – tomorrow I’m flying back to London and on Monday back to work :-) Have a look at my pics which I took with my brand new camera. The result is not yet what I want but I feel like I have made some progress since I bought it.

From my learning perspective, I managed to get a lot of things done in just five days, not exactly as much as I wanted to but I now feel like Arabic is part of me again. Do you know what I mean? :-))

So on Monday I bought that book called “Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-‘Arabiyya, Part 3”  and managed to complete 2 units out of 10in a bit less than a week. I could have got a lot more done if my morning teacher had based his classes on the book but well, 2 units in around 10 hours is not that bad.

My new goal once I return to London is to complete the textbook and watch the DVD too. I haven’t set any deadline yet but will do once I’m back in my daily routine.

Now, time to go to the Souq one last time and bargain with the locals!

MHM

Waw, I Didn’t Know It Was That Bad!

IMG_0727 [Marelle]Today was my first day of Arabic class in Morocco after almost two years without practicing. Ok guys, staying that long without speaking and barely listening to the news every now and then was a bad idea. Where have these years been? And as I said in one of my previous posts, there is NO excuse for not practicing a language, so I won’t make one up!

This morning I arrived at the study centre and took my placement test. I was really nervous before taking it, so scared they would tell me my level was only intermediate. Now, intermediate is not too bad and means the student is already fluent, but after graduating with a master in Arabic translation, that level would have simply been unacceptable. Thank god I only god a few grammar mistakes and reached more or less the same grade as two years ago.

However, when taking the test and later on during the class, I noticed that though I still find it pretty easy to read news articles or written texts in general, I had quite a lot of trouble finding my words when speaking to the teacher. Worse: very elaborate words would usually come naturally but simple words such as “client”, “role”, “to think”, didn’t come out of my mouth till I ask my teacher. I felt a bit embarrassed but on the flip side the teacher only had to tell me these words once in order me to memorise them. I imagine these basic words are thus back in my memory for probably the next 2 years, after which I will most certainly forget them again if I make the same mistake of thinking that once a language is acquired, it is acquired for good.

It’s weird, right? Who would have thought that after studying Arabic for over five years at least 10 hours per week and spending over six months in the Middle-East, I could forget that easily? No no no, I won’t let that happen, not after all the efforts I put in learning this language, and Arabic learners know what I’m talking about :-)

Bye for now

MHM