Category: general interest

Articles of interest to everyone.

beginning, general interest

I want to learn Arabic. How should I start?

As a teacher of Arabic, I am sometimes asked what the best way is to start learning the language. In this article I’ll give some tips and things to consider. What kind of Arabic? The language normally used in newspapers, books, and scripted material is usually known as Modern Standard Arabic, abbreviated as MSA. MSA …

general interest

Umm Kulthum’s «ألف ليلة وليلة» (A Thousand and One Nights)

Though she died in 1975, Umm Kulthum is undisputably the Arab world’s most renowned and beloved singer. If you would like to learn more about this Egyptian icon, take a look at this Wikipedia page. (If you have some Arabic reading skills, you could also look at her page on the Arabic Wikipedia page.) There …

beginning, general interest, intermediate, reviews

Duolingo Arabic is coming: What should we expect?

Duolingo is a wildly popular website and app for learning foreign foreign languages. English-speakers are currently able to learn over 25 languages on the platform, ranging from the tried-and-true French and Spanish to the more adventurous Ukrainian, Swahili, Vietnamese, and Esperanto. Spanish-speakers can even take a stab at Catalan or Guaraní. Although there has been …

general interest

Want to improve your Arabic on location in Cairo?

I am sometimes contacted by former students who decide they would like to take a trip to Egypt to improve their Arabic. What they need is suggestions for courses and the like. This article provides some suggestions. Language Schools and Other Institutions Kalimāt. The first place I will mention is Kalimāt, an Arabic language school …

general interest

An American journalist learns Arabic during the Egyptian revolution

The New Yorker magazine recently published a long article by Peter Hessler, who an American writer and journalist who moved to Egypt in 2011 and learned Arabic over the several years that he remained there. The article, called “Talk like an Egyptian” (though versions have also appeared with other titles) gives insight about quite a …

beginning, general interest

Depictive calligraphy: When the word for ‘duck’ looks like a duck

Part of the magic of Arabic calligraphy is that a skilled calligraphy can stack, intertwine, superimpose, and change the proportions and positions of words so as to obtain a recognizable shape of the sentence or phrase that is written. Here to the right is an example from the Wikipedia page on Islamic calligraphy in which …