Like a lot of people, I really wish I was better at learning languages. I’ve lived in Germany for eight years now and I have a fairly good grasp of the language, I can chat with my neighbours without problem, and can get the general gist of any newspaper article. I’ve really had to work hard to get to that point, and I wish it was something that came a bit easier to me, but it doesn’t stop me being interested in learning snippets of other languages. Throughout the year I’ve learnt some phrases in Scottish, Irish, Welsh, some endangered languages, and even a fictitious one. Today I wanted to have a go at learning something from the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, Arabic.
Back when I could, my travel was often motivated by food, and there is no food that excites me more than that of the Middle East. The flavour combinations excite me, and although meat is king, delicious vegetables are never forgotten. I would dearly love to be able to travel to some areas of this beautiful region and try some authentic food, and for the same reason I’m trying to learn some Italian, I wanted to start and learn some basics in case I ever go.
The obvious problem in learning Arabic the alphabet is completely different that of the languages I already know. For this reason, I decided to start very simple and learn the numbers 1 to 10, like I did when I learnt some Japanese.
I found the pronunciations really difficult to repeat, the sounds were so far away from anything my Western tongue was used to. I needed to find the words written in English to try and understand them a bit more. I went here, and together with the sound clip, I was soon recalling the numbers myself.
My pronunciation is still way off, but this was a good introduction into the Arabic language, and something I’d be interested to explore more. The one thing I should look at next is how to write the alphabet – no matter how many different times I tried to write the numbers they never looked like what was on the screen.