Sunday, January 29, 2006

Basics of Iraqi Arabic

Click on the title to go to the Defense Language Institute's free online basics of Iraqi Arabic course complete with mp3s and more. Actually, this link takes you to a page where you will select the course. The course is, yes, basic but has some vocabulary that may come in useful. It is a bit on the military side, but much of the vocab and phrases are generic enough to be of use.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

School System Adds Arabic and Chinese

Click on the title of this post to go to an interesting article from about Arabic for middle and high schoolers. This is one of the keys to freeing the US from its monolingualism: get the kids to start learning foreign languages when they are younger so that when they grow up - the foreign languages aren't quite so foreign and seemingly unlearnable. This is one of the hot topics in education circles these days: How to get foreign language learning included the national standard exams.

Does your area offer any k-12 Arabic programs or classes?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Jeremy's Arabic notebooks. Featuring "Spotlight" and making phone calls

So I have piles of language notebooks. I have digitized a few sections of one. I am considering putting my notes from my Syria program online. They would be seperated into Syrian colloquial and MSA. There may be some sub categories such as grammar, novels, news etc. What else would I do with all the knowledge I gained? I believe that sharing is caring folks. I will have to think about how and where to store all of these. They are currently in low resolution jpgs. I found that taking low res photos goes much faster than scanning or any other option I could think of. Tell me what you think and share ideas.

Above is an example of a vocab page from one of my notebooks. This is Syrian colloquial. The page on the right is from the Syrian TV series "Spotlight". The page on the left is notes from a speaking partner exchange.

Click on the photo to enlarge it. Oh, and I don't always complete my notes in English. Usually, but not always. For example on bottom of the left page there is the English that says simply "I will" - I should have written "I will no longer speak with you". The construction I was practicing was "to do something no more / no longer".

And don't take my word for everything. Learn from others' notes, but you should always verify and practice to make sure you and I are both correct.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Learning Arabic, and much more - in Amman

Click on the title of this post to go to the article "Learning Arabic, and much more" by Justin Martin a fulbrighter in Amman, Jordan.

It seems that there is a good deal of interest in expanding and creating Arabic programs for foreigners in Amman. I want to see the new multi-million dollar center for foreigners who want to study Arabic. Excellent.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Book Review: Top 1,000 Words for Understanding Media Arabic

I must first admit that I am a sucker for these types of books. This book seemed so cool on the shelf. This book is a collection of what Elisabeth Kendall considers to be the top 1,000 words you need to know to understand media Arabic. I bought this book from Powells for $11.95. The relatively cheap cost of this book is appropriate for what you get. The book is useful and does have many important words, but it also leaves much to be desired as far as organization is concerned. Here are what I consider to be problems with this book:

1) There is no mention regarding how this collection of words was gathered. I want to know whether a corpus engine was used and if so, which newspapers were harvested? The author writes the following vieled sentence in the introduction: "every effort has been made to select the most useful and/or common vocabulary items."

2) Not every effort has been made to organize this book. There are eight sections; general, politics, elections, military, economics, trade & industry, law & order, disaster & aid. Each section is anywhere from 4 to 24 pages long. The vocabulary items are not alphabetized. There are no subgroups. Each section is simply one long list of words with no apparent order.

3) This book is not a dictionary. You can't look up a word systematically. The book is listed as a reference book, though there is no index.

This book is potentially beneficial. Students, however, may want to reorganize the book in a more useful manner. The price of the book makes it worth buying. A little more information and organization from the author, however, would at least double the book's worth.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

To expand foreign language mastery, attitudes must change

Click on the title to go to the article at The author is David Maxwell.

Here is an article that is right up my alley of interest. The need for more students studying critical languages and people specializing in the teaching of foreign languages. I enjoyed the following quote from the article: A former "director of the National Foreign Language Center, Richard Lambert, called Americans 'the most devoutly monolingual people in the world.'"

It is sad that Americans are so monolingual. Many Americans have studied a foreign language but not enough to come close to our European friends.

Let's learn Arabic!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Status Report

This semester's beginning has hit me like a train. I will try and post soon. Let me know if there are any particular questions or issues that would be of interest.