Maljadeed? (What’s new?)
LaShari jadeed…(Nothing New). I’ve been trying to learn Arabic since this past summer and while I’m making great strides, I find the language very difficult and my brain struggles with remembering to apply Arabic terms I’ve already mastered in conversations. For example, when people speak Arabic to me (I can understand them sometimes) and I still respond in English.
Then I have English speaking family and friends who will put me on the spot and say, “say something in Arabic!”
I try not to respond with side eyes but confident casual conversation starters I’ve learned. It’s not as easy as Spanish or Creole have been to pick up to me.
Last night in passing we discussed an interesting dessert name with our neighbor and his wife. In parting, I should have said,”Toshbeho” instead of goodnight to him and “toshbeheena ‘ala khair” to his wife. These are the proper phrases to say when you are leaving.
I’ve mastered saying, “shookran” (which means thank you) because of daily encounters with drivers, colleagues, wait staff and henna artists, but I need to practice saying, “you’re welcome” in Arabic “al af’w”. It doesn’t come as instinctually… Perhaps, because the word sounds are lesser known or used infrequently.
Some of my attempts and strategies:
1. Study a phrase a day
2. Share my phrase of the day in my classroom/what’sapp status
3. Use my phrase of the day throughout the day
4. Blog my progress and language experiences
5. Teach my family and friends phrases for responses to me
6. Record voice memos in Arabic
Feel free to share your suggestions, apps, or programs for learning Arabic.