Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Language Exchange Partner :)


I signed up for the Language Exchange Partner program  on campus to be paired up with an Egyptian person to practice Arabic with.  I really like my partner! She is an sweet girl from a small town near the Nile.  She was quite nervous when we first met. She told me that, unlike the other student’s who came from wealthy backgrounds and could afford to go to international schools,  she’d never studied in English. Thus, it was a challenge for her to go from learning completely in Arabic to taking classes completely in English! Her  Englih was waaay better than my Arabic though.
She’d studied English as a second language in highschool while I only had 2 weeks of Arabic under my belt.  Anyhow, I enjoyed the exchange immensely! I’d realized that my Modern Standard Arabic (foosa) was improving at a quicker pace than my Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (Armaya) thus it’s importnt to me to start speaking regularly in Armaya.  While MSA is important for reading and writing, no one really speaks it in conversation so its restricting. 
Also, after the past few bad experiences, I was subconciously limiting my interaction with people off campus but that’s not the way to learn a language! I have to jump in head first! I was happy to talk to my language partner. I was afraid that she may be impatient with me as I stumbled through the basics but she was happy to speak slowly and write new words down for me.  I’m even more  motivated to practice Armaya after hearing how good her English is! Yay, I made a friend!!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the bakery. Since  Iearning the word for bread (kobz) ,  I like to test out my skills on the baker down the street lol


Concept said...

LOL I hope you didn't go broke ordering loaves of kobz just for the sake of the interaction! I'm glad you have a patient language exchange partner. Language aqusition is a pain now that we're older :-( Even though they are two forms of Arabic, does it feel like you are learning two completely different languages? Like creole and french?

Frenchie said...

I actually think of it as Arabic versions of Creole and French lol! Although we study both in class, the focus is more on MSA with only 1 ECA class.Modern Standard Arabic is used in the journalism and print, and for formal situations like high-level diplomatic meetings. Then each country has its own dialect. The Levantine countries have dialects closer to MSA. The farther you get from that region, the farther you get from MSA. At some points it does feel like to completely different languages but I keep trying to think of MSA as something to read and write while ECA is something to speak.

I'm really happy about the language partner. B/c I've learned to read and write in MSA, I've gotten much better at it than Egyptian Arabic. Ive been frustrated b/c the intensive nature of the program and the commute (along w/ all the other things) gives me very little opportunity to interact with regular Egyptians.

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