Monday, October 30, 2006

Clases de árabe

Life was normalising nicely unil tonight.

My eldest daughter's been bugging me for a while to have Arabic classes. She's acquired a Spanish-Arabic phrasebook and (mentally) devoured it. She produces the odd Chinese character as well - her favourite W.I.T.C.H. heroine is Chinese.

A while ago I got chatting to the vigilante of the local car park, and discovered he's Morroccan. He's been trying to set up Arabic classes in the town, but the council says he doesn't have enough students (he had recruited eight).

Well, tonight was the first lesson. My daughter did quite well I thought, and will probably continue. My brain is still reeling. What with meem, noon, thath and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, all written backwards with vowels that rocket skywards or crawl along the ground.

All this being taught from the book this man learnt his Arabic from in 1972. He tells me the book is now a collector's piece and worth over €20!

Thing is, I've got quite excited about it, the language is such a mental challenge, like super-difficult Sudoku, but with a purpose.

1 comment:

Grumpy Goat said...

You're not only learning to speak the language, but to read and write it too! Mabrook!

The dots are more useful to me than the wavy line that constitutes most handwritten Arabic:

Loop with no dots - M, but might be an H at the end of a word;
Loop with one dot over - F;
Loop with two dots over - Q, but might be a feminine A at the end of a word;
Short line with one dot over - N;
Short line with one dot under - B;
Two dots under - Y;
There are others too...

And then there are the emphatics, that are very difficult becaus eto a non-Arabic speaker they all sound the same.

And no proper written vowels either, at least not in the mainstream printed media.

I've been in the Gulf States for over ten years and still find the language almost incomprehensible. I can read it though, assuming it's neat and not in a wacky font.