Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My story with Arabic Language

Well, I've never thought about writing anything related to the whole "Me, Arabic and Languages" thing before. However, I made a trial recently thanks to Multilingual Mania page I found randomly on Facebook and of course to Melanie, the admin of the page and the site who encouraged me to do it.

This article can be helpful for Arabic teachers to non-natives and for non- native Arabic speakers who are learning or thinking of learning it.
The multilingual mania blog has a lot of useful articles related to learning and teaching languages in general. Waiting for your comments on it :-)!

To be a teacher, you need to first become a good student”
I was taught to read and write way too young compared to fellow kids, having an aunt who is an Arabic language major student who used to teach me the classical basics of it since I was 5 to 6 years old. I have a special kind of relationship with Arabic language.

“Discover the beauty and richness of the language you teach”
I become passionate about Arabic language, its history, literature, grammar and all arts. It has a very rich content and a precious heritage being spoken and understood the same way it has always been spoken since more than 1,000 years ago. This means that what was written in the old ages is still the same, with the same grammar and vocabulary, unlike most languages where you find great variations between classical and modern versions of the same language.
Since the time I started using the internet (2003), I have been doing language exchange with non-Arabic native speakers interested in learning Arabic-that was how I improved my English as well as Italian ( I focused on them as I studied both academically) and learned the basics of other languages such as Spanish.
Later on, I decided to teach Modern Standard Arabic as Egyptian dialect to non-natives, especially English speakers.
“Learn about other languages and never stop”
I still do language exchange with people of different nationalities, as I think learning more about different languages is the best way to know about common mistakes non-natives tend to make due to interference with their mother tongue.
I believe that the more teachers learn about other languages, the more efficient and better they become while teaching their mother languages to foreigners. You can always find something similar in other languages to the language you teach that would make it easier for both you and your student while teaching.

“Hey, did someone here say Arabic is hard?”
Moreover, Arabic language tends to have some specifications and characteristics that may be absent in other languagse, which is why it’s commonly known to be harder to learn when compared to other languages. Well, this is not very accurate. Based on what I’ve read and experienced with non-natives, I can say that Arabic is not really that hard, it just requires more patience, commitment and determination.
You may sometimes feel disappointed and feel that you have not learned anything at all, and it may sometimes seem as if there is just too much to learn. This doesn’t necessarily mean Arabic is hard-it’s a rich old language, so think about it that way! When facing some challenging matter in life, we should never give up on it-we only need to believe that we will always lack knowledge and need to learn more about it. No one will ever know everything about something… but still, there are those few bright hard-workers who believed in their abilities and therefore managed to learn a lot about something. Try to be one of those people then!
About the Author:  A university student majoring in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering while teaching Arabic part-time as a foreign language in Cairo, Egypt. She has deep interests about foreign languages and cultures around the world. You can frequently find her writing on her blog, In All Languages.

Check it out here

Thanks a lot Melanie, the author of Multilingual mania blog for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with learning languages and teaching Arabic.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

We will never forget

A massacre!
Yeah, this is actually something worthwhile writing about after a quite long break.

Yet another massacre, it wasn't the first and surely won't be the last as long as the international community remains silent like always used to be.

Next Tuesday, 8th of April 2010 will be the 40th anniversary of the Israeli attack on a small village primary school in Egypt.

I've tried searching for more details about the massacre online in English but seems like there is nothing more than what was mentioned in Wikipedia as follows:

Bahr el-Baqar incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bahr el-Baqar incident happened during the War of Attrition, where the Israeli air force carried out a raid on the Egyptian village of Bahr el-Baqar, south of Port Said, in the eastern province of Sharqiyya, the raid resulted in the destruction of a primary school full of school children.

The Attack

The attack was carried out by Israeli air force F4 Phantom II fighter bombers, at 9:20 am on Wednesday 8 April, 1970. Five bombs and 2 air-to-ground missiles struck the single-floor school, which consisted of 3 classrooms.

The Israelis claimed that they believed the target was a military installation. Casualties Of the 130 school children who attended the school, 46 were killed, and over 50 wounded, many of them maimed for life. The school itself was completely demolished.

Well, I'm amazed by the huge amount of useful information I've found on Wiki!Thank you so much, Wiki.

Apart form the fact they insist on calling it an "incident", the funny thing is that the page is only available in Arabic and in a weak English version without details. Anyhow, I shouldn't have been any surprised.

I mean, why should anyone even care for a bunch of murdered  kids in an Egyptian primary school in a tiny small village?


Ok, let's see what was written about the massacre on other sites:

From "Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem" by a Palestinian author named Issa Nakhla.
 Someone won't be easily accused of being biased according to what you might kindly read here in his biography:

"How superior the Israeli pilots were was amply shown on April 8, 1970 when they hit an elementary school at Bahr al Baqr, fifteen miles west of the Suez Canal, killing forty-six Egyptian school children."

In the Citations: (8) "April 8, 1970: Israeli jets struck Bahr El-Baqr, Egypt, killing 46 children in their school."

2- From Holocaust Facts:

Egypt - Bahr el-Baqar School “April 1970”:

Bahr el-Baqar is an Egyptian village located in south of Port Said. The attack was carried out by Israeli air force F4 Phantom II fighter bombers, at 9.20 am on Wednesday 8th April, 1970.

Five bombs and 2 air-to-ground missiles struck the single-floor school, which consisted of 3 classrooms.

46 students were killed and over 50 were wounded, many of them maimed for life.
Like I always say, neither being a Muslim nor an Egyptian is the reason why I feel really bad about things like that.

I'm merely a human being and any normal human being with a minimum set of human emotions and values would feel the very same way about it.

Regardless of what those kids belonged to, any sane human being would never find a reasonable reason behind attacking a school full of kids assuming that it was a fake military installation.

Especially when the same reason is mentioned every time, last one was about some school in Gaza in 2008.

( One of the very few clear photos I managed to find for the kids)

Those kids in their first school years had dreams, just like how yours do but apparently they were not supposed to dream since they were "others".

Now, honestly just forget about the whole "Palestinians gotta stop fling rocks" thing and tell me: what do you personally think of this?