Trying to Learn a Foreign Language!

I have been to a few places in Europe, not from my own choosing but because my family and I were refugees of war there during the ’90s. In the course of those travels, I have had the opportunity to briefly take some foreign language classes. I was 15 at the time, and it seemed like I had no problems with language learning; it just came very natural to me. Three things could have played a big role in my early language ability: I was very young, so the hunger for learning was easily met, or Latin languages use the same alphabet as my native language, which made things easy for me, or I was immersed into a new culture and had no choice but to learn this new language. It certainly could have been all three!

I have not taken any foreign language classes here at PSU, but I so wish I had, if I could have fit them into my schedule. One particular language of interest to me, which is becoming a global language, is Arabic. I am mostly working on it on my own, using various books which all claim to hold the secret to successful learning, but so far that secret has alluded me. I admit, I do not practice as hard as I should and do not get the opportunity to mix with Arabic speakers much, but those reasons should not hold me back that much. One thing I know, however, is that languages like Arabic require a shift in thinking and that has not been easy to do.

Your suggestions are more than welcome!

3 thoughts on “Trying to Learn a Foreign Language!

  1. Definitely speaking with the native speakers of a language is a big factor in succeding in this hard task- learning a new language. With Arabic in particular, with its very diverse dialects, it should help you eecognize these dialects and train/ adjust your ear to hearing those different tongues- and PSU is definitely the best place where to find Arabs frim all over the Arab world coming together in one place… Listening to Arab radio stations on your ipad, laptop or smart phone is another good place to start along with the self-learning and teaching you are doing. Finally, try to focus on a certain dialect besides the standard. Good Luck

  2. I studied Arabic for a few years and reached a pretty high proficiency. It’s definitely a challenging language to pick up, but not impossible. The hardest part, in my opinion, is reconciling the difference between the classical style you are usually taught and the dialects that are spoken in everyday life. The classical style provides a base, but is often not sufficient to hold a conversation in if you’re in an Arab country.

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