Friday, October 15, 2004

Still want to learn Arabic ? .....#1


A phenomenon in which distinct formal and informal varieties of a language are used in a given society. The variety used depends on social context (e.g., using one variant at home, and another for more formal purposes).

Diglossia presents one of the more interesting aspects of learning Arabic; the spoken dialects of the language differ substantially from Modern Standard Arabic.

In the vast area where Arabic is spoken, various dialects or colloquial forms have developed. These dialects of Arabic are the mother tongues of all native speakers of Arabic. These colloquial languages can be quite different from each other, and might be considered different languages, as different from one another as Italian is from Spanish.
For example if you are in restaurant in Egypt and you ordered a chicken you need to say "FARKH'A" "فرخه", in a restaurant in Jordan you must say "FARUJ" "فروج" while in Iraq you need to say "DAJAJA" "دجاجه".

SO if you still want to learn Arabic you have two choices;

1. classic Arabic; hard to learn and you can't use it to communicate with people or you can communicate with one layer of the Arabic socity.

2. Dialect Arabic; you will be able to communicate with the people who used the same dialect only.

Think about it

To be continued...#2...Writing


#10/15/2004 05:50:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

I made my choice: it will be Iraqi Arabic since it is always better to learn a dialect. As for italian: i speak roman, different from sicilian, venetian, calabrese etc. The dialect creates better insight and fun in learning, and better possibilities to comunicate indeed. Which is of course what it is all about.

#10/15/2004 05:51:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

sorry, 'twas me: cecile

#10/15/2004 05:54:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Hmm. Good point. I think if i were motivated enough i would learn a little of each, classic and then perhaps some of the teacher's own dialect. Maybe i would throw in a few words from other dialects if i were lucky enough to meet people who might share a few.

#10/15/2004 07:07:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ihath

Growing up in Kuwait I got to learn all the Arabic dialects because the society had people from all of the middle east. My favorite example to give how things can mean different things in different arabic dialects is the word "basta" which in Iraqi means to beat somebody up and in shami dialect means to make somebody happy.
If you say
أبسطك بسطه عراقيه
In Iraq that means, watch out I am about to beat to you up, to a Palestinian it would mean I am about to take you to a party where we will have lots of fun.

Can you tell I have had lots of fun with that word???

#10/15/2004 07:48:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Yes, that is indeed funny, and it even gets better thinking that in Italian *basta* could mean both! :)
hasta pronto, -c-

#10/15/2004 08:02:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird


Hoe kom dat je Nederlands spreekt als je een Italians bent???

#10/15/2004 08:19:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dilnareen

how about this, understanding every single damn dialect but speaking none.
It would be interesting to see anyone else with the same problem. Even when i do speak arabic i begin to sound like some cartoon character or if i try on an accent ppl think im making fun of it or something so I do my best to avoid spekaing it. The only time i ever had to take arabic was in school and uuf those 10 yrs were torture and no one would let me drop it cos' my grades were ok in it. And the entire time the only time i ever spoke arabic during those classes was when i wanted my grades re-checked or if i was forced to, by the end i became an expert in the use of the least words possible to express anything. Also when we used to
have guests my mother used to make me talk to their children saying "c'mon practice ure arabic with them" haha by the end they learned to speak such beautiful english
Is there anything called language defficiency

#10/15/2004 10:52:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

Its an interesting subject. For me, I CANNOT, speak Iraqi with non Iraqi speakers. Its funny how I switch, if for example Im in cairo , i tend to speak egyptian, if Im with my friends who are from jordan, I tend to speak jordanian, and if in lebanon, I speak HUBBY used to hate it, he would tell me why do u have to speak in different dialects,just speak Iraqi and they will learn...But since I wanted them to understand what I was saying I automatically switch. And I also realised that Iraqis are much better in changing dialects than any other arabic nation. Am I right???

#10/16/2004 02:51:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

ladybird, i'll answer to your question: i do speak italian dialect(s) and some other languages as well. i 'am' dutch. i rather don't live in the netherlands, although a lot of people from abroad appreciate the netherlands very much, this is most of the time not because of the climate, or because the dutch are zo *gezellig* indeed. will you be coming to amsterdam next sunday for the iraqi poetry afternoon? program = on i would be pleased to meet you. cheerio, cecile

#10/16/2004 09:36:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Michael

I recently bought Erwin's Iraqi Arabic course. If acquiring conversational skills is an objective, the 3 hours of substitution drills on the CD will come in handy. I personally would have preferred to have more dialogs, but I'm not complaining. It's still better than what we have for other dialects. Plus, the story line is about arranging a marriage to a nice Iraqi boy, so if you would like to promote the growing Iraqi wife presence in the blogosphere (and who wouldn't), this one is perfect.

Also, thanks for the interesting link. (Not that I can follow those poetry recitations, but still.) On a related note, here are a few recordings of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab reading his own poetry, for anyone who hasn't run into them yet. And oh (ahem) by the way, if someone could take the time to write up literal translations for them, and put them up on the web (perhaps also correcting the discrepancies between the narration and the pop up texts in the process), I bet he or she or they would make a legion of Arabic learners extremely happy, not excluding this one.

#10/16/2004 10:21:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

I will be there but the the problem is with strike so I must come with my car and this is again a problem because I have a very big car (Jeep Wrangler)hard to find a parking place but I will think of somthing.

Email me

#10/16/2004 11:44:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Good post ladybird. Another point is, anyone who knows how to speak Italian (or sicilian) or even any European language will find it quite easier to learn how to speak nearly any Arabic dialect. That is something I had realized after helping a couple of Europeans friend to learn a few Arabic words or so, and it turned out much better than I expected.

#1/30/2005 12:06:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Learn Modern Standard and then learn whichever dialect by adding/changing coll. words/phrases to your vocabulary. You wouldn't want to learn "Alabama speak" on your first try with English, would you?

#12/08/2005 11:27:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

>>"You wouldn't want to learn "Alabama speak" on your first try with English, would you?"<<

Why not? Nobody speaks a language as the books tell you. There are all kinds of dialects in Arabic. I would start off with Egyptian Arabic first before going on with any other since that's the most widely understood dialect.

#8/26/2006 02:44:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Maii

^I agree with the previous comment.

Egyptian Arabic is a good start to learn conversational Arabic. Although it is fun watching someone switching dialects, like my mom. She's from Kuwait, so she knows all the dialects like Ihath (see above).


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