Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So I started my new Arabic class today. Aside from recopying all of my Arabic notes into a compact, friendly, organized set of studying material, I had not studied since mid-December. Something about being in America for Christmas really throws off the Arabic practice.

I jumped into the cab with plenty of time before the class, promptly got very lost and consequently arrived twenty minutes late to the first class of the semester. I snuck past the teacher, rolled into a seat beside my friend and sat back to take in the learning.

My last Arabic class consisted of my instructor telling us pronunciations for words and having us say them back to her. In fact, the first time I had put together more than one sentence at a time in Arabic was during the oral test I had to take to get into this level 2 Arabic class. But ten seconds into the lesson, I knew I was not only going to surpass my previous Arabic speaking by about a thousand percent, I was actually going to be expected to understand this crazy language.

My ostaz, or professor, was speaking entirely in Arabic. He continued to speak entirely in Arabic for the first hour and a half of the two and a half hour course. AND, to make matters worse, he actually expected ME to speak back to HIM in Arabic. Full sentences. Correctly. AAAAAAAAAAAAH!

As if this Arabic shockwave weren't enough, I am taking the class at a French School. The majority of my classmates are French and thus speak better French than English. So I spent the time during break and after class speaking in French. If my brain wasn't confused enough before class, it was definitely mush by the end of it.

Fortunately, I discovered I could understand a lot of what he said merely by listening carefully and dredging up unused vocabulary I'd forgotten I knew. Also, the man is amazing at acting out words and repeating similar vocabulary to make you understand. For the last hour of class, he spoke in both French, English and Arabic to explain some grammar/verb rules and words we hadn't been able to catch. I filled up three whole sheets of paper with vocab I learned just in his hour and a half of speaking.

Must commence studying frantically so I can understand him next lesson. One thing's for sure. If I survive this course, my Arabic skills are going to skyrocket. My French, too, strangely enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment