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Learning Arabic?

Reader comment on item: The Arabist and Islamist Baggage of Arabic Language Instruction

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Sep 2, 2017 at 10:00

Dr Pipes

The Arabic language is unique in the sense that it has the Qur'an a book that most Arabic speaking Muslims have no clue about what it says in Arabic Oh 3rd century Classical Arabic? It is a language that no one speaks not back then and not now

As for spoken and written modern Arabic Niloofar Haeri in her outstanding book: "Sacred Language Ordinary People Dilemmas of Culture and politics in Egypt" She studied Arabic in the US and then went to Egypt for field work and she felt secure that she would be able to communicate with Egyptians and will be able to read their literary sources in Arabic Her big surprise is she could not understand what Egyptians were saying in Arabic and she could not communicate with them either and this is a woman who earned a graduate degree in Arabic in the US

The point is students can learn Arabic in the US but this is not the language spoken by Arabic speakers It is also surprising to most non Arabic speakers when they realize that an Egyptian would not understand what a Moroccan would be saying in Arabic (not unlike Aramaic when it was the dominant language in the Middle East)

The only way to learn Arabic is a learn a specific dialect (Egyptian for sure is the most important) and learn it not in the US but in let us say Egypt

As for link between learning Arabic and "indoctrination" this would have been a reason not to learn Russian in the 1940,s and 1950's because the student would become a communist sympathizer or even worse a communist

And remember that most Muslims don't speak Arabic and still they are rabid anti-Semites and anti-West

I'm in favor of learning any language as long as students spend some time learning the language where it is spoken

Here is a link to Ms Haeri's book

https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Language-Ordinary-People-Dilemmas/dp/0312238975

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