Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oops! I do it again…

No, I’m not going to write about Britney. Today I’ve made a switch in my Arabic studies one more time - this time from Modern Standard Arabic to Egyptian. I hope I’ll stick to this decision for long. I also hope that I’ll find some people to practise as I don’t want my knowledge to be limited to grammar studies and watching TV.

Those of you who read my blog more or less regularly know that Arabic is one of my favorite languages. I don’t need to in my work or to communicate with a family or friends, but for quite a time I’ve felt attracted to it. It took me some time to decide what “kind” of Arabic I should choose. After some consideration I decided on a dialect, namely Egyptian as most widely spread and understantable in the Arab countries. Then I went on a short holiday to Egypt and everything seemed to be on its way.

Then I started to re-consider my decision, telling myself that I won’t have many opportunities to converse and maybe it would be better to switch to Modern Standard Arabic - the version used in the media and books. Some people I met online were convincing me to this switch and I did it.
It made it with some dose of hesitation and uncertainty if I was doing right, but then I loved so much my MSA studied that I convinced myself that it was the right choice.

After some months of serious studies I believe I know much about the language, I learned many grammatical rules and acquired a big portion of vocabulary. Yet, even if I have rare occasions to practise what I learn, I feel something is missing. I don’t want to limit myself to books and TV news, I want to be able to converse with people in the street and to understand what they say. Even if I don’t travel much to the Arab countries, I may meet many Arabs online. MSA won’t get me far.

So… I do it again. I swith one more - this time from MSA to Egyptian. We’ll see what will come out of it. Nevertheless, I’m not putting aside MSA completely. I guess it may be helpful to know more about its grammar to be able to read papers and to understand news broadcasts. But I won’t drill speaking to such extent as I did in the previous months. This time will be dedicated to Egyptian Arabic instead. Wish me luck!

In the first months I will use two books:
  • Arabic Basic Course. Egyptian Dialect, published by the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center; it has plenty of written material - also in Arabic writing, and tons of audio material too
  • Colloquial Arabic of Egypt, by J. Wightwick and M. Gaafar, published by Routledge; this one uses transcription, but there are Arabic texts in the appendices
*If you live in Egypt and would be willing to help me, please contact me - you can find my Google+ profile on the upper right side.

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