I woke up, bright and early and immediately wished it wasn’t quite so early. First day being a foreigner getting taught Arabic at the Ma’had institute.
I was a bit worried I didn’t know what class room I was supposed to be in. What I had somehow not realized was that absolutely no one had any idea what class they were supposed to be in. the director read some names of a list, then walked away. All the names followed, wanting to find out why he’d read of their names. The rest of us also followed him, wanting to know why we weren’t on the list. eventually someone entered the swirling confusion.
‘beginners Arabic. room 12.’
Beginners Arabic all headed to room 12, where we gave the director our names and took a seat. that makes it sound orderly, but take my word for it it wasn’t. Maybe the intention was to give us a tour of the building, but apparently the director can’t write names on a list unless hes striding around, with a tail of students running after his waddling figure like they’re his ducklings.
I got the second last seat. Later students had to bring their own.
at just gone 10 the lesson started, with 30 odd in the room.
At 10.20 the director came back and called people out by nationality and sent them to room 11.
The class cut down to size, we began. It was pretty confusing. No language other than Arabic was being used, and it took me a bout three qauters of an hour to figure out I’d lernt ‘my, your (feminine), your (masculine) hers and his’ name and I You, You, His and Hers’ not ‘My, his, hers no idea and no idea.’
My teacher may not be one of those rare students to get an A* in the Arabic equivalent of TEAFL, unlike a certain Ms Parker who I’m proud to call a friend, but equally I know this way of learning doesn’t suit me. Time, methinks, to track down an old fashioned book of Arabic grammar and a private teacher for the afternoons.
After class some of the other girls and I went to pick up the results of our mandatory aids test. Lots of the other students are either from the non Arabic speaking Islamic world, or Japan & South Korea. The overwhelming majority of the European kids are German, though Italy, France and Holland can also boast a pupil each. They all seem quite nice.The is one woman who had her son, aged about 6, with her. He was well behaved, but if the teacher is going to continue teaching him as well as us we are going to be their for quite a while.