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Chicago Arabic language, Culture & civilization Club Message Board › Where to learn Arabic?

Where to learn Arabic?

gennevie
gennevie
Gurnee, IL
Post #: 47
The thing about Arabic Language for beginning students and the Quran is this and I will try my best to explain it since there are many people who have in the past asked me personally about the religious content and some people who may be interested or curious about studying Arabic may read this and maybe it will help them or clear things up for them...I hope anyways.lol

Most of you probably know that the Modern Sandard Arabic which is spoken in media and publications does not contain vowel marks but for some people who have not had an intruductory class or some familiarity they would not know that and thus perhaps be confused or concerned when hearing that some students read from the Quran. The reason many instructors use the Quran or Quranic text is because other than teaching materials there are NO voweled texts in Arabic and the Quran is the only text or book which is written in Arabic and always contains the vowel marks and other grammatical marks. Also, if you wish, it's possible to obtain for yourself a copy of the Quran wherin the text is very big and very easy for a new student to read in addition to that another benefit of reading through the Quran is that there are audio tapes/cd's of it being recited which are widely available for purchase and even for free on some internet sites and it's possible to use these to read along with the Quran and if you want you can even hear different colloquialisms in this way for example the differences between an Egyptian speaker and a speaker from the Gulf.

There is something else I would also like to add in regards to the religious content. The reason Arabic has been preserved and has not gone extinct as so many of the semitic languages have is because of the Quran. Both Hebrew and Arabic have their religious history to thank for their preservation and survival throughout the ages as without the Quran and Torah these two languages might have also become extinct. That being said, it is not suprising that some words in Arabic may appear to have an Islamic origin though that is not necessarily true and I am not trying to start any religious arguments here but here is the fact...both Muslims and Christians I am told use the word Allah to refer to God and there are some greetings in Arabic that actually refer to God but are used among all Arab speakers wether they are Christian or Muslim. In additon there are also many similarities I have found between Arabic and Hebrew and some of the words sound the same and have the same meaning but are simply spelled differently and with a different alphabet.

All of these elements are part of the unique diffusion of language throughout time from one area to another. While some people might have a strong adversion to Islam or religion or may perhaps be so caught up in their own religion or beliefs that they can not tolerate even a little exposure to anothers, I would not expect such close minded people to be very successful at learning a foreign language or anything else for that matter. Many people might decide to or be required to learn Arabic to further their careers or strictly for work purposes and may have no other interest in doing so but these people may soon find that it's also common for corporations and employers to require such people who interact with foreign speakers to take classes that educate them about other cultures and religions such as International Communications or something similar.

As for the ratio of Muslims to non Muslims I will tell you how I saw it when I took arabic. Our classes usually started with around 20 people sometimes 30. I would say that half of these dropped by the end of the semester and as for religion most of them were non Muslims or Christians. The few Muslims who did take the class usually between 2-4 were American Nationals that is I mean to say...people who spoke English as a first language and were born in the Western World. That includes African American Muslims and Arab Americans who have Christian or Muslim Arab ancestry through a parent or grandparent who immigrated here and want to learn how to read and write in Arabic. Most African American Muslims and people with Arabic speaking parents can speak some Arabic but can not read and write in Arabic and take a formal class in order to learn. For those of you who are curious about beginning a class that is the sort of attendance you may find.

So, hopefully I didn't offend anyone since religion for most people is a very touchy subject and people do LOVE to fight about it. I know there was no meetup.com when I first began studying Arabic back in 2000 but, it would have been nice to find some forum to learn about Arabic or discuss things with other students outside of the classroom or prior to entering the classroom. So, if you are going to study Arabic in the classroom...on your first day you might see a few students come in and greet the teacher in what appears to be an Islamic greeting but that is really just how you say hello in Arabic.lol

genn
Huggy
user 3088534
Chicago, IL
Post #: 2
I would add about the religion aspect when you just want to learn Arabic, is it possible to go to school in the U.S. without being exposed to Christianity? Though you may not take actual religion classes, you're going to be exposed to Christianity. The God in which we trust is a Christian concept, and as this country was established by Christians, it's on our money, in the "Pledge of Allegiance" I grew up saying every morning in Grammar school, and pervades our language as in the common exclamation "Oh my God!". I mean, you never hear "Eyy, Bhagvan!" when something amazing happens, or hear anyone say "Thank the sun goddess for our good fortune" when something good happens here in the U.S. The Ten Commandments are even on many of our Memorials Like the Lincoln Memorial. I would even venture to ask, since English came from the Christian language of England, and is now spoken everywhere in the world due to the prosperity of the Christian nation of America, is it possible to learn English without being exposed to Christianity and Christian concepts? No value judgements here, just my personal experience.

And as far as the American Muslim College, I took an Arabic class there 5 or 10 years back. The class was only like 4 or 5 students. The best student in the class was a half-Puerto Rican half-Spaniard Christian missionary who dreamed of the conversion to Christianity of the entire Arab world. There were Muslims in the class, but Islam was not the subject matter of the class unless someone specifically asked a question about it that day. They had get-togethers at local Algerian restaurants for conversation practice since Algerians were largely familiar with MSA due to the history of linguistic repression under French rule for so many decades. Lastly, there was always a friendly atmosphere among the students regardless to religion, and always an unspoken desire for other classmates to feel comfortable and welcome, that was unfailingly reflected in everyone's attitude.
Summer
msdugger
Chicago, IL
Post #: 7
I want to learn to speak Arabic and was lookin gfor a class. I'm glad I came across this group. I am going to Egypt this Summer and although I know most people speak English I do want to learn some Arabic before I go. I dance Raks Sharqui and I want to understand the words to songs for one thing and learn more about the culture. i think learning Arabic will help my dance. thanks for the information. I'll look into one of those classes.
A former member
Post #: 1
Ahlan ya Sion. I'm not sure if you are interested in other programs in the US, but if you are looking to learn modern standard Arabic (the written language and an adaptation of fusha, or classical Arabic) I strongly recommend Middlebury College for the summer. It is an intensive 10 week program with no enlish at all (even the TVs are in Arabic, as are all of the social activities and life in the dorm). It is expensive, but you may be eligible for a language acquisition scholarship through your university. There are also classes at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. While you might not be able to register for a class if you aren't a student, you might e-mail someone who is a TA for one of the classes to hire them for tutorials, if they are available. Good luck (Hath Saieed)!
Summer
msdugger
Chicago, IL
Post #: 8
I wish I could do a 10 week intensive. But i'm not a student anymore. I work and I couldn't possibly go away for 10 weeks. the 2 week trip to Egypt is already going to take up all of my vacation time.
A former member
Post #: 1
Does anyone have any suggestions for language classes/tutors for children? I am also interested in private tutoring for myself.
Nancy
NancyAnne
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1
Has anyone mentioned the Graham School, the extension of University of Chicago located in the Gleacher Center downtown (the UC business school)?

Their Arabic courses are wonderful! Studying Arabic for 3 - 4 years is (a possibility, the only limitation is only 4-5 students last through a whole year so they may not offer 4th year). Your teachers are UC graduate students and you really get quality learning.

I am starting second year, next fall.


Nancy Hammond


The only "school" I've found so far in Chicago is Language Loop LLC (http://www.languagelo...­. Does anyone know anything about the quality of this school, or know of any other schools to check out? Thanks.

-Sion

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi All,
I too am looking for somewhere to take beginer Arabic classes. I am looking for something in the west suburbs though. I live in Aurora. If anyone can suggest someplace, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Mike
A former member
Post #: 2
The reason that modern Hebrew is so similar to Arabic (besides the fact that they are both semetic languages) is because it is based on Arabic. This is a little know fact. Hebrew was a dead language. It no longer existed. In the early 20th century (I think, but not sure about the time for sure) Jews wanted to "resurect" Hebrew. This became especially important when the formation of the state of Israel became imminant. The problem was that it was completely dead. There was nobody who could speak or understand Hebrew. They still had the script, so they used what little bit they were able to cobble together, and used Arabic (since it was the closest language still in use to Hebrew) to "fill in the blanks" for the rest. They made adjustments wherever they could, and the language has evolved since then. However, if there was no Arabic language, there would not be a Hebrew language today. Just one of those trivia questions I thought I'd share.

Mike



The thing about Arabic Language for beginning students and the Quran is this and I will try my best to explain it since there are many people who have in the past asked me personally about the religious content and some people who may be interested or curious about studying Arabic may read this and maybe it will help them or clear things up for them...I hope anyways.lol

Most of you probably know that the Modern Sandard Arabic which is spoken in media and publications does not contain vowel marks but for some people who have not had an intruductory class or some familiarity they would not know that and thus perhaps be confused or concerned when hearing that some students read from the Quran. The reason many instructors use the Quran or Quranic text is because other than teaching materials there are NO voweled texts in Arabic and the Quran is the only text or book which is written in Arabic and always contains the vowel marks and other grammatical marks. Also, if you wish, it's possible to obtain for yourself a copy of the Quran wherin the text is very big and very easy for a new student to read in addition to that another benefit of reading through the Quran is that there are audio tapes/cd's of it being recited which are widely available for purchase and even for free on some internet sites and it's possible to use these to read along with the Quran and if you want you can even hear different colloquialisms in this way for example the differences between an Egyptian speaker and a speaker from the Gulf.

There is something else I would also like to add in regards to the religious content. The reason Arabic has been preserved and has not gone extinct as so many of the semitic languages have is because of the Quran. Both Hebrew and Arabic have their religious history to thank for their preservation and survival throughout the ages as without the Quran and Torah these two languages might have also become extinct. That being said, it is not suprising that some words in Arabic may appear to have an Islamic origin though that is not necessarily true and I am not trying to start any religious arguments here but here is the fact...both Muslims and Christians I am told use the word Allah to refer to God and there are some greetings in Arabic that actually refer to God but are used among all Arab speakers wether they are Christian or Muslim. In additon there are also many similarities I have found between Arabic and Hebrew and some of the words sound the same and have the same meaning but are simply spelled differently and with a different alphabet.

All of these elements are part of the unique diffusion of language throughout time from one area to another. While some people might have a strong adversion to Islam or religion or may perhaps be so caught up in their own religion or beliefs that they can not tolerate even a little exposure to anothers, I would not expect such close minded people to be very successful at learning a foreign language or anything else for that matter. Many people might decide to or be required to learn Arabic to further their careers or strictly for work purposes and may have no other interest in doing so but these people may soon find that it's also common for corporations and employers to require such people who interact with foreign speakers to take classes that educate them about other cultures and religions such as International Communications or something similar.

As for the ratio of Muslims to non Muslims I will tell you how I saw it when I took arabic. Our classes usually started with around 20 people sometimes 30. I would say that half of these dropped by the end of the semester and as for religion most of them were non Muslims or Christians. The few Muslims who did take the class usually between 2-4 were American Nationals that is I mean to say...people who spoke English as a first language and were born in the Western World. That includes African American Muslims and Arab Americans who have Christian or Muslim Arab ancestry through a parent or grandparent who immigrated here and want to learn how to read and write in Arabic. Most African American Muslims and people with Arabic speaking parents can speak some Arabic but can not read and write in Arabic and take a formal class in order to learn. For those of you who are curious about beginning a class that is the sort of attendance you may find.

So, hopefully I didn't offend anyone since religion for most people is a very touchy subject and people do LOVE to fight about it. I know there was no meetup.com when I first began studying Arabic back in 2000 but, it would have been nice to find some forum to learn about Arabic or discuss things with other students outside of the classroom or prior to entering the classroom. So, if you are going to study Arabic in the classroom...on your first day you might see a few students come in and greet the teacher in what appears to be an Islamic greeting but that is really just how you say hello in Arabic.lol

genn

A former member
Post #: 2
Sion, I studied Arabic at Oakton Community College for a few years, my professor was incredible. The only challenge to me was learning the MSA/Fusha dialect, because im so used to the colloquial Lebanese dialect. But, the professor was very accomodating and extremely helpful. The classes weren't too big, which allowed for a more personal teaching style which turned out to be really effective. I was majoring in Political Science and Arabic but since then Ive changed my major to International Business, so I figured learning Chinese would be more to my advantage considering I already speak Arabic. I really miss arabi though, it was an awesome experience! Good luck to you!

~Christina
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