My learning for the summer is over! But not for long!

(8/15/2013)

Sorry for not posting for a while! My computer broke, and it is still broken, but I can use community computers for a limited period of time. If I hadn’t been busy with final projects, and if the hours of operation were after instead of during my class, I would have written more within these past few weeks.

I had my last class of Arabic today and I feel a little bit sad. I have been challenged consistently this summer, and one of the things I’m grateful for is my teachers who have pushed me so hard this summer to do things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing without them. As I mentioned before, I moved up from level 3 to level 4, skipping quite a few chapters in the main Arabic book that teaches basic grammar. In level 4, everything I did was in Arabic. I was pushed to read articles on my own from legitimate news sources, and it wasn’t easy. I moved beyond the articles specifically tailored to Arabic learners to articles from news sources such as Al-Jazeera and BBC Arabic. Of course, the vocabulary and grammar were hard, but after this summer, any article on any subject is manageable for me. Only the most complex grammar is outside my reach in terms of understanding. And while there exist thousands of words in Arabic that I still don’t know, I have been given the tools to decipher their meanings and study them on my own. It will take time, but I think I have all the tools, all the basics and fundamentals to be successful in Arabic now.

One thing I wish I had focused more on from the beginning of my studies in Arabic is the dialects, particularly the Egyptian dialect. I was not able to practice Arabic here as much as I would have liked because I could not speak the Arabic language that many of the people here spoke. It wasn’t impossible, and as most people here understand the academic Arabic I was able to be understood completely fine. However, in terms of listening practice and practice talking like a normal person, I did feel a little hindered because the Arabic dialects were not focused on in class. But now with the amount of improvements I have made this summer, I think I will be fine. And I have also made a number of Arab friends that can help me with such studying when I return to the States.