I am learning Arabic!
I got in contact with a professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies out of BYU who was gracious enough to accord me with student access to his online resources. This includes listening exercises, quizzes, tests, notes, and vocabulary! I am very lucky to have been included in this group. I intend on buying his books for his class and following along at my own pace. Thank you professor!!!
Learning languages is something I really dig. I dare say I have the gift of tongues-- at least the ease in learning it variety. I've never spoken in an unknown dialect and I certainly don't have a cloven tongue of fire (Acts 2), but I feel a special gift has been bestowed on me. I never tire of learning new ways of saying something. I never get discouraged. It's the one area in my life where I can take the most critical abuse and not bat an eye and get down on myself. I wish I could say the same for other areas.
Here's the Uncle Sixline Marvelous Method of Language Learning:
1.) Learn the basic grammar rules
2.) Learn the basic vocabulary
3.) Listen to a basic conversation snippet (over and over) ^ n | n = the number of times you need to train your ear to pick up on all the words and recognize them
4.) Repeat, increasing intensity and complexity.
It worked for French, I don't see why it won't work for Arabic.
"But Uncle Sixline, why do you want to learn Arabic? Isn't that the language of the terrorists? I knew you had left leanings on the political scale, but are you a freedom hater?"
Good question, Timmy!
No, I'm not a freedom hater. There are many reasons why I want to learn Arabic. Some, if it makes sense, are personal and I'm not inclined to share them here. But for what it's worth, I feel that the only true way to understand someone is to understand the way the speak. Their speech is an outlet of their thoughts, and the patterns in one are intrinsically linked to the other. For cultures wrapped around Arabic, the influence of Islam and how that shapes an Arab's world and religious views are paramount. For Islam, the operative language for reading the Qu'ran in its purity (and hence its understanding) is Arabic. Thus, to understand Arabic is to begin to understand Islam. To understand Islam is to begin to understand the Arab's place in the world and his history. To begin to understand that is to understand the Arab today.
Understandably, as a faithful Mormon, I am very interested in the events surrounding the Middle East. What has become of Ishmael's progeny? Were they not sons of Abraham, and do they not have a stake in his blessings? What do I make of Muhammad, and of his teachings? What role will all this play in the second coming of Christ the Lord? Doesn't the Palestinian deserve a safe environment in the Holy Land just as much as the Israeli?
As I begin to understand Arabic, I hope it will help me understand the very complex issues that surround these sons and daughters of Ishmael, and ultimately of God.
That's why, Timmy.
PS - Mrs. Sixline is 11.9 weeks along! Yippee! I suppose I'm not longer 'Uncle' Sixline...