On March 27, and during the World Languages Week, students from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures read poems in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Swahili.
Arabic students from 104 class read two poems:
1- ila oumi (to my mom) by Mahmoud Darwish
2- koun sadiki (be my friend) by Souad Sabah
Over 110 students and faculty attended the film screening of “Veiled Voices” on Wednesday, March 20 in Eben Holden. The film screening was followed by a discussion (questions/answers session) with the film director Brigid Maher.
On Wednesday March 20th, the Modern language department is bring Dr. Brigid Maher to the University to speak to students about her documentary “Veiled voices” in particular and about her experience with women in the Arab world in general.
We will have a film screening at 7 pm followed by a discussion in Eben Holden. Brigid will talk to students about the day-to-day challenges she faced when she was filming her documentary in Egypt, Lebanon & Syria, and what she did to overcome those challenges. She will also discuss how the situation of Arab women is different from the situation of women here in the US.
Veiled Voices – poster
Check this link it is Hilarious !
“Arabian Night” yesterday (November 26th) was a success! About 40 students, who are studying Arabic language, attended it. This event included Powerpoint presentations about different traditions and cultures related to the Arab world.
For this event, students had to prepare Arabic dishes. We had dishes from Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan.
They did an excellent job, everything was delicious!
On Friday November 2nd, students in Arabic 103 had the opportunity to Skype with the students in the Abroad Program in Jordan. They exchanged questions and impressions about the experience of studying abroad.
Some of the topics included: housing with Arabs families, academic courses, social and cultural life in Jordan.
I thought I’d center this post around my core motive for studying in Jordan- acquisition of the Arabic language. “Why” you might ask, why am I learning Arabic? My earliest interest in studying Arabic emerged during my introduction to the Spanish language. From our first classes in middle school onwards I slowly was informed of how many Arabic words and sounds remain in the Spanish language. From fifth grade on I was left wondering how these similarities came into existence. The short answer to my question came from taking a class in the history of the Islamic world during my freshman year of college. Since then building an in-depth understanding of the history of cultural syncretism in the Iberian Peninsula has become my academic focus. I believe the study of an era when Abrahamic religions, Semitic languages, and Romantic languages thrived together is highly relevant with the current state of the world. Therefore my core professional goal is to help people understand one another’s language and culture. This might take form in teaching, translating, or foreign relations. Before I get down to the specifics of Arabic I’d like to present my Halloween costume.
I was Scuba Steve and my friend Martha was Scuba Cindy
There’s no way around it, Arabic is difficult. And there is no single Arabic language. Here in Amman I’ve been learning colloquial Jordanian Arabic and Modern Standard (Fus-ha). It’s discouraging but besides reading the newspaper or watching television most of what we learn at universities in the States isn’t something you’d use on a day-to-day basis in Jordan. This is not to discredit the importance of Fus-ha. I still highly recommend you pay attention in Modern Standard Arabic as some Jordanian adults intersperse more formal phrasing and vocabulary to strengthen their points. Not to mention, any important legal document or political speech will most likely be in Modern Standard Arabic. Yet the truth is still obvious when I speak or dream in Arabic, I have acquired much more of the colloquial tongue than Modern Standard. Again Arabic is difficult. But there are strategies I’ve learned that someone with no experience can use to pick up on grammatical structure and phrasing. Now that I think of it, this might work for any foreign language. The hint is, listen for the way native speakers of Arabic speak English. Listen to the common trends of how foreigners restructure English grammar in what seems to be a peculiar or incorrect manner. Sometimes this will reflect their projection of Arabic grammar onto the English language. This strategy came from my early days of understanding almost nothing and making the most of the fact that many people in Jordan speak better English than a lot of westerner speaks Arabic. I’ll use some examples now. You will always hear Arabic speakers say “as you like” in English. It’s something we don’t say that much in the States, or at least in New York. But in Jordanian Arabic the polite phrase zay ma bidak (as you like) is used all the time. Another example is Jordanians accounting for time passing by saying things like “before two days” or “before thirty years.” In English we’d normally just say “two days ago.” But by listening closely to the abnormalities in grammar you can pick up on the Arabic tendency to account for the passing of time with qabla yeomayn (literally before two days). I’m not sure if this strategy will make sense just on paper. That is something I have been facing, the difficulty of conveying the spectrum of my experiences from across the planet. I’m doing my best though.
After one more anecdote I’ll move onto some more pictures. I walked out of the gym this past weekend and a man with his family in the car pulled up in front of me. He called ya shab (hey you youth) and proceeded to ask me for directions to a street near my house. I was first surprised that I knew what street he was talking about and even more when I realized I didn’t realize I was being adressed or giving directions in Arabic. It just happened. I was dumbstruck after they drove off.
On Wednesday October 31, Aegela (one of the best and fewest foreign dancers that are allowed to dance in Egypt – the capital of belly dancing) gave a lecture for the Arabic classes (101 & 103) about post-revolution and the socio-economic changes that she witnessed on her last trip to Egypt.
Short bio about Aegela:
Since 1978, Aegela’s love of Middle Eastern dance has taken her throughout the US and to the heart of the art—Egypt. She has engaged in several performing tours of Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. It was on her first tour that Aegela was awarded the coveted Lifetime Performer’s license by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, an honor held by only 11 foreigners. While working in Egypt, Aegela enjoyed the privilege of studying with famed dancer/choreographer Mahmoud Reda, of the Reda Troupe, and with Madame Busi, principal dancer with the National Folkloric Company.