Monday, April 28, 2008

Learning Arabic

Arabic script is beautiful. Literary Arabic is different from spoken Arabic.
 Spoken Arabic is not a written language, so in our 5-day course in Darajat village we did not learn the letters.

Our gifted and patient teacher, Dr. Hassan Abu Sa'ad, would write our Arabic vocabulary on the board phonetically, using Hebrew letters.
Hebrew and Arabic are Semitic languages, often quite similar. We also had a textbook.

The computer room of the village school became our classroom for the week. The first "summer school" for Jewish Israelis happened last August. Our own Pesach vacation class was the second such course. Hopefully there will be more. I wish everyone in the country could come for this experience.

Here the eleven students get ready for a group photo. Hassan is the man standing.
 We studied together for six hours a day, learning over 300 of the most useful words.

Most of the week was a chamsin, a desert heat wave, 40 degrees C., over 100 F.
 Luckily, this computer room was air conditioned.


Chrisss said...

Very interesting posts. Can I ask what made you decide to learn Arabic?

Dina said...

Chrisss, my last course was in ~1970 and you can forget a lot of Arabic in that time. Plus, it was always my dream to live for a time with Bedouin. Well, the opportunity came late. Now most of them no longer live in tents.
Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of the State of Israel.
Even a few words go a long way in better understanding of people and closer ties.

Musings said...

I've always admired your desire to learn and understand different cultures. If the world's leaders (and people) were more like you, they'd think first before jumping in to go to war.