Journal: Learning Arabic

Journal for 3/22/2013 :Learning Arabic 

The main language of Egypt is Arabic.  In fact, it is called Egyptian Arabic because it is slightly different from regular Arabic.  Learning Egyptian Arabic has been really fun!  The word that I use most is “shukran” (pronounced shook- ron).  This word means “thank you.”  I use this word a lot because I am always thanking very helpful people!

This is the world famous library in Alexandria. I learned so much Arabic here!

When I am speaking English in Egypt to people that only speak a little English, I try to speak slower and more clear.  This helps with the language barrier.  Do you know what a language barrier is? It’s a term that means the difficulty in communication between two people who don’t speak the same language.

A really funny story happened as a result of the language barrier between me and my friend, Islam!  Islam was asking me about what he should do to impress a certain girl.  I told him that if they are going on a date, he should bring her a flower.  Then, when he gives her the flower, I said, “You should give her a kiss on the cheek for a short time.”  I must not have spoken clearly enough, because Islam replied, “Okay, so I go get a flower, then give her the flower, then give her a kiss on her shoulder?”  I said, “Shoulder, no not shoulder!  A kiss on the cheek for a short time!”  We both laughed really hard!

These are all of my friends who are helping me learn Arabic. They are all named Islam!

If you can’t really speak the language of the place you are visiting, it is best to try to make a friend who speaks English.  Then, the friend can help you in learning the local language.  The friends that I have made in Egypt have helped me learn Egyptian Arabic.  I think that I have learned more from my friends than I would from just reading a book!  Sometimes, the best way to learn things is by doing them!

If someone comes to America and doesn’t speak English, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to fit in.  It just means that they haven’t learned our language yet!  The best way to treat a newcomer is with patience.  Learning a new language can be really scary because everything is so different.  In Arabic, the words look like squiggles instead of the letters we are used to.  Also, there are different sounds that Arabic speaking people make when they are speaking.  For example, Arabic has two different sounds for the letter “H.”  One sound is like our normal “Ha” sound.  The other sound is like if you have spit in your throat and you are trying to clear it out.

If we can learn even a little bit of another language, I feel like we will all be happier in life.  This is because of the rich experiences you can have with different people all over the world.  More experiences in life mean more chances to create great memories.  Great memories make us happy!

One great tip for learning a new language that I’ve learned in my travels around the world is a really fun way of learning!  You have played the game called Memory right?  Memory is the game where you try to match two cards with pictures and words on them.  If you are in another country, you can play Memory there.  It helps in matching the word with the picture instead of just seeing a word by itself.  I have learned more language through this fun game than any other way!

Here I am in Alexandria, soaking in the night!

This is a cool theater in Alexandria where I was learning Arabic!

This is an example of Mosaic Art which is very popular in Alexandra!

This is a photo of my friend, Alexander, who wants me to teach him English!



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