Monday, May 9, 2011

The challenges and rewards of Arab learning - Cry Now, laugh later

Arabic is one of the major languages of the world, and master's degree in Arabic is a skill that is in high demand. With the importance in the Middle East for the two strategic reasons and for its oil resources, the Western world will continue to have interests and interaction with the region for a long time. But Arabic is not limited to the Arab countries of the Middle East. It is also spoken in North Africa and parts of Eastern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

It is the official language or the a multiple official languages in 25 countries and 26 if categorize us Israel and the Palestinian Authority as separate entities, which have a total population of 325 million. Arabic-speaking are sought by many companies carrying on the Middle East, by the armed forces and intelligence services. Master of Arabic opens some special career opportunities not open to others, it is interesting to learn Arabic. Not to mention that the people of the Arab world is warm and welcoming and love to communicate. Power to speak their language will transform a good an incredible trip.

Arabic, however, is a challenge to learn. Most people take a blow of eye in Arabic writing and conclude that they could never to learn it. It is, however, not complicated and can be learned easily with a few weeks of constant practice. The pronunciation is more challenging, with Arabic with a number of sounds which are not found in addition to other languages and can be difficult to reproduce and distinguish. These sounds are better learned by imitating a native speaker.

Another challenge of Arab learning is that it is so different from English and other Indo-European languages. As a Semitic language, the Arabic grammar and morphology is very different from what you are probably used to verb tenses work differently, the word order is different, and there are few cognates between English and Arabic. Learn that Arabic is not an occasional case, it really requires some discipline because the huge amount of new concepts and information can be overwhelming.

The biggest challenge is perhaps Arabic diglossia. Diglossia is the use of two distinct varieties of a language by speakers of a language. The language that is an official language throughout the Arab world is Arab modern Standard, which is the official language which is a modern adaptation of the classical Arabic of the Qur'an. This language is used in newspapers, emission information, official and similar speech.

But throughout the Arab world, there are various dialects of Arabic which differ from modern Standard Arabic. These dialects are the native languages of the Arab people. All these dialects developed from classical Arabic, but they may largely differ from each other. In General, more geographical distance between two zones language Arabic, already the dialectal difference. It can be quite a barrier of the impressive language between two native speakers of the Arabic language.

The key to learn Arabic is to learn Arabic modern Standard as a foundation and also learn a spoken dialect. Some people recommend that you learn familiar Egyptian Arabic because it is widely understood due to the prevalence of films and Egyptian television. But I think it is flawed, thinking, because even if you can be understood, you understand not the other person, who will speak in his local dialect. I recommend that you learn the main dialect of the country or region that you are most interested, or have the most interaction with. If you are in the U.S. Army and will install to Iraq, then obviously Arab Iraqi is the best choice.

If you'll be doing aid work in the Westbank, I recommend Palestinian Arabic. If at some point in the future you will be travelling or working in another region of the Arab world, and then Arabic modern Standard to use your Foundation and with a little practice, you should be able to give a sense of the local dialectIf not with jurisdiction, then at least for basic communication. If you are simply skip a trip to an Arabic-speaking countries and do plan on long-term studies or living in the region, and then learn some dialect spoken in this country is probably the best way to go.

Learn Arabic is a challenge on a number of levels. But for those who have a deep interest in the Arabic, Arab world is a fascinating and rewarding language including wonders will motivate you to overcome all these obstacles. For those who want to learn Arabic as a career asset, Arabic is a rare skill which is at the request by various companies and in certain professions. If you have the patience and commitment to acquire skills, it will be worth the effort.

Paul Jorgensen has spent years studying the Semitic languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic, as well as other languages such as Japanese and Indonesian. He is an avid traveler who takes a keen interest in cultural variations. His Middle East Museum blog provides editorials and information on the Middle East, such as the profile of all the countries of the Middle East.

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