Arabic Lesson #2

In Culture, International on April 1, 2009 at 7:56 am

I had my second Arabic lesson yesterday and I was surprised at how much I learned. Don’t get me wrong: I know I have tons left to learn and that I’m not likely to ever become fluent in Arbabic. But that isn’t the point of all this anyway.

The point is the same as it was when I started learning German: I wanted to get a glimpse into another culture’s character and I believe that language shapes who we are as much as we shape our language. It is a way of transmitting values and patterns of thinking.

How does it shape your brain, for instance, when you write from right to left? When your possessive pronouns are at the end of the noun? When your language is peppered with phrases like “Peace be upon you” and “God willing”?

I’m too close to and too used to English to get a grasp on how it has shaped me. But I’m sure that it has. Maybe my Arabic tutor will give me some insights into that. What does he think of English as a language? What does it make him think of Americans? Does he see a difference between American and British English and the respective characters of the people who speak them?

There’s a whole lot more to be learned from taking on a new language than grammar and vocabulary.

By the way, here‘s a great site to help you learn Arabic.


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