When the French class I was teaching closed through low numbers I found myself free on Mondays evenings just as an Arabic beginners class started. Having been to 4 Arabic speaking countries in the last year and having read that well over 200 million people speak Arabic I was just curious to find our about this language where the writing starts on the right!
Our teacher, Enas, is very good – she manages the introduction of new phrases very gradually and ensures that we get lots of practice and reinforcement. I have modest aims and will just be pleased if I have a basic polite conversation and make some kind of sense of written signs.
It was only at the end of week 2 that we started with the alphabet. ‘There are 28 letters in Arabic’ Enas told encouragingly and promptly gave us a handout with over 100 symbols on it. There may be only 28 letters but each letter has 4 different forms depending on whether it stands alone or at the beginning, middle or end of a word! Afte a while you do bgin to follow the logic of the way letters vary but I am going to have to work hard at this!
The phrases below start with greeting and go on to the questions of your name, where you live and your profession. – Would I dare try out my skills on a Tunis taxi driver yet?
I probably need a bit more time!