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Thread: Learning Arabic Online

  1. #1
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    Default Iraqi Dialect Course

    The entire Iraqi dialect course is now available for download from AKO. This includes both student and teachers versions of the POI and exams, and the full complement of sound files. Documents are available for download in your choice of Word or PDF.

    AKO log-in required: Iraqi Dialect Course

  2. #2
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Kudos for the post and kudos to guys like Steve Franke.

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    We just allocated some O&M funds to get scenario development and unlimited distribution to the Marine Corps of the Tactical Language series:

    http://www.tacticallanguage.com/tacticaliraqi/

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Learning Arabic Online

    Wretchard at The Belmont Club provides the following:

    Anyone interested in learning Arabic without spending money on formal instruction can visit The Arabic PodClass, which teaches the language in podcasts using the familiar texts of Kahlil Gibran. Language skills are an absolute essential to anyone with an interest in issues like foreign affairs and security analysis, and here's one way that individuals with more time than money can pick up the skill.

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    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up on this site!

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    Council Member Ender's Avatar
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    Default Awesome

    I was looking for something just like this.

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    Are there any others who offer college credits?

    The Arab Academy based in Egypt? Anyone ever hear of or have thoughts on this?

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Why the pool of Arabic speakers is still a puddle - CSMonitor, 17 May.

    Alex Marin studied Arabic for three years, one of them in Egypt. But that still doesn't make her a "serious" Arabic student.

    After learning enough to conduct basic conversations, Ms. Marin is going to law school. Resuming Arabic afterward "might be a pipe dream," she says. For her, it's sad but true that getting a law degree is quicker and more secure than getting one in Arabic.

    The US has sought to cultivate high-level Arabic speakers since 9/11, when the country's lack of them became a national-security concern.
    Arabic courses swelled in number soon after the attack. But six years later, the post-9/11 spike in interest seems to be fading. And it's unclear how many of today's Arabic students will stick around for the five to 10 years it takes to become the advanced speakers the government requires. Learning it is time-consuming, and the dropout rate is high. The resources to teach it are sparse, and a perplexing policy sometimes discourages students from studying Arabic abroad ...

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Iraqi Arabic language resources?

    I was wondering if any of the OIF vets here have used any of the following books/CDs to learn some basic Iraqi Arabic?

    Modern Iraq Arabic with Mp3 Files: A Textbook by Yasin M. Alkalesi

    Iraqi Phrasebook: The Complete Language Guide for Contemporary Iraq by Yasin M. Alkalesi

    A Basic Course in Iraqi Arabic by Wallace M. Erwin

    Beginner's Iraqi Arabic with 2 Audio CDs by Nawal Nasrallah and Nadia Hassani

    Does anyone else have any other good resources for useful Iraqi Arabic for an upcoming deployment?

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    Council Member Abu Suleyman's Avatar
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    Default My Experience with Arabic

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    I was wondering if any of the OIF vets here have used any of the following books/CDs to learn some basic Iraqi Arabic?

    Modern Iraq Arabic with Mp3 Files: A Textbook by Yasin M. Alkalesi

    Iraqi Phrasebook: The Complete Language Guide for Contemporary Iraq by
    Yasin M. Alkalesi

    A Basic Course in Iraqi Arabic by Wallace M. Erwin

    Beginner's Iraqi Arabic with 2 Audio CDs by Nawal Nasrallah and Nadia Hassani

    Does anyone else have any other good resources for useful Iraqi Arabic for an upcoming deployment?
    Yes on all accounts. I am a professional linguist, but Arabic was my sixth language, so my experience will not be typical. These books are excellent resources. Generally speaking, Dr. Alkalesi's books are more up to date, but they are still ten years old. Dr. Erwins, if I remember is actually from the fifties, so bear that in mind when looking at books.

    I have used pretty much every method from DLI to Berlitz and self teaching to learn a new language. Of course, DLI is the best if you have the time to invest. Nevertheless, if you are coming up on a pending deployment (next month or two depending on your proficiency in languages) these books are probably not for you. They are more like college texts. You will not learn many of the things you will need to know, focusing instead on things like renting a hotel room, and getting a taxi.

    With short time pending I would do the following, in this order:

    1) Learn to count in Arabic, to one thousand (it is not as hard as you think).
    2) Memorize the phrases on the little brown card that your S-2 should have, it says Iraqi Dialect. (If you can, learn what each individual word means, that will help later on.)
    3) Learn colors and directions (NSEW, Right left, tall,short)(that is important for describing things)
    4) You can use text books for whatever you want, and throughout this process. At this point you can start using more texts and programs. What you want to know is present future and past tense conjugation of verbs. and the 500 words that you will most use. You may already know those based upon what I have listed above.
    5) The last part of this 'hurry up" language program is to learn circumlocution. This is the ability to talk around a word you don't know. You do it all the time in English, I guarantee. You just need to learn how to do it in Arabic. Once you can do that you have all the tools that you need.

    This is what I do when I know I need to learn a language on short order. If you stop learning at any point you are immediately better off, and you are always laying a foundation for future linguistics.

    If you have more time, there are several options available to you. If your unit will spring for it, get a private tutor. Pretty much every town has a language school that at least can refer you to a private tutor. (That is obviously the best). Also, most posts have a university nearby that will offer classes. Barring those, or including those, you can get Rosetta Stone off of AKO. As far as easy and quick Rosetta stone is by far the best way, I have found, for a non linguist to learn a language without too much outside help.

    If you have any further questions please feel to post them. This is something I am passionate about.

    PS I almost forgot that I cannot highly enough recommend Alif Baa. It is the easiest way to learn the Arabic Alphabet, and nothing will help you more in learning the language than the ability to read, at least the sounds of what is written.
    Last edited by Abu Suleyman; 11-20-2007 at 03:32 PM.
    Audentes adiuvat fortuna
    "Abu Suleyman"

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Abu Suleyman,

    Great info, thanks!

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    The article mentions a "perplexing" policy on studying the language abroad. My personal experience is that they were unprepared for initial interest. After my freshman year of Arabic, in the summer of 2006, I applied with the encouragement of my professor to the State Department's Critical Language Scholarships program, to spend the summer studying in Amman. Despite being more than qualified, I was turned down; they had over 4,000 applications for a hundred or so spots. They had no way of accomodating the demand.

    Interest may be waning now, but the fact is the government was not prepared to take all the steps necessary to develop a larger pool of Arabic speakers after 9/11. Just throwing some money into a few programs doesn't cut it.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Suleyman View Post

    With short time pending I would do the following, in this order:

    1) Learn to count in Arabic, to one thousand (it is not as hard as you think).
    2) Memorize the phrases on the little brown card that your S-2 should have, it says Iraqi Dialect. (If you can, learn what each individual word means, that will help later on.)
    3) Learn colors and directions (NSEW, Right left, tall,short)(that is important for describing things)
    4) You can use text books for whatever you want, and throughout this process. At this point you can start using more texts and programs. What you want to know is present future and past tense conjugation of verbs. and the 500 words that you will most use. You may already know those based upon what I have listed above.
    5) The last part of this 'hurry up" language program is to learn circumlocution. This is the ability to talk around a word you don't know. You do it all the time in English, I guarantee. You just need to learn how to do it in Arabic. Once you can do that you have all the tools that you need.

    This is what I do when I know I need to learn a language on short order. If you stop learning at any point you are immediately better off, and you are always laying a foundation for future linguistics.

    PS I almost forgot that I cannot highly enough recommend Alif Baa. It is the easiest way to learn the Arabic Alphabet, and nothing will help you more in learning the language than the ability to read, at least the sounds of what is written.
    This is great advice. Thanks much for sharing it.

    Are you familiar with the Field Support Modules from DLI?

    http://fieldsupport.lingnet.org/index.html

    Any opinion on their usefulness?

  14. #14
    Council Member Abu Suleyman's Avatar
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    Default Field Support Modules

    Unfortunately I cannot get to the modules you sent me from my current computer. However, I believe they are probably similar or the same as the ones that I used in learning Arabic through one of the courses I took. Just a word of warning, Kurmanji and Sorani are mutually unintelligible Kurdish dialects, so be careful that you choose the one for the area that you are involved in if you are learning Kurdish.

    Generally the program at DLI is good. Assuming that these are similar to the modules I used, then the vocab is legit and useful. However, it doesn't really explain any of the written language or grammar. If you only want to get to the basic level of memorized phrases, then no problem. Otherwise you are going to want to supplement with an additional study material. That said, there is no better source for military vocabulary than DLI, and I doubt there ever will be, so don't eliminate the DLI modules altogether.

    Let me append an explanation at this point, that many people may be familiar with, but just for general knowledge, in case anyone is interested in learning to actually read, and not just sound out. Arabic, Iraqi dialect, is diglossic. This means that what someone says when they talk and what they write are almost two completely different languages. Fortunately for Iraqi dialect learners the difference is not as great as some, but there are significantly different words. Iraqi dialect is rarely written in any formal way. I know of no dialectic newspapers, books (other than linguistic ones), religious texts or anything. That is all in Modern Standard Arabic, or MSA. So are most television broadcasts.

    I didn't have any trouble after learning Iraqi dialect with learning to read and understand spoken MSA pretty well. As I said in a previous post though, my experience may not be typical. This is something to be aware of and something you want to plan for in your linguistic studies program.
    Audentes adiuvat fortuna
    "Abu Suleyman"

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    Council Member Juan Rico's Avatar
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    Default Syrian Colloquial

    the best online syrian colloquial was/is this site:
    http://www.syrianarabic.com/contents.html
    (it used to be all for free, but now only lessons 1 to 3 are available)

    for some listening practice, you might want to watch the full 'war of lebanon', done by al-jazeera (people are speaking sham dialect/lebanese/syrian/palestinian and modern standard):
    http://blacksmithsoflebanon.blogspot...f-lebanon.html


    "Maraya" (mirrors) is a syrian tv series, the longest running i believe:
    [yt]SmWyfGTxyFo[/yt]

    "Bab al Hara" (neighborhood's gate) is also syrian, has a lot of old school expressions:
    [yt]IA-VuRmkv2I[/yt]

    "Taghreeba Al-Filistinia" (palestinian diaspora) syrian actors playing palestinians, you can catch some palestinian colloquial:
    [yt]pmPgRD5UZiE[/yt]

    also, don't forget the 'wati' (low) arabic, spoken by whores, pimps and cons:
    [yt]DNIB482iHtU[/yt]




    and watch "Iraqi Exodus" here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/ep...-episode/2827/



    Iraqi prostitutes in Syria:

    [yt]6_KC_PJJie4[/yt]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPYcCf5hoEQ (the video below isn't connecting)
    [yt]OPYcCf5hoEQ[/yt]
    [yt]NHYs4UKKIlM[/yt]
    [yt]X2TCDVxqIV4[/yt]

    Iranian prostitution, Shi'a style:
    [yt]XQCw9Nk5YWI[/yt]
    Last edited by Juan Rico; 08-24-2008 at 03:16 AM.
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    حافظ الأسد

  17. #17
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    Default Iraqi Arabic at DLI

    While looking for something else at the DLI website, I see that Iraqi Arabic was introduced as a new language course in 2009. If that's true, isn't the timing off?

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    Default maybe so but....

    ....I can at least tell you that they're all over Dari too. The biggest percentage of students seem to be in that program.

    But hey, there's still Russian students peppered about so I don't expect Arabic studies to go anytime soon!

  19. #19
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denismurf View Post
    While looking for something else at the DLI website, I see that Iraqi Arabic was introduced as a new language course in 2009. If that's true, isn't the timing off?
    That may be as a new version but they taught Iraqi dialect when I was there in 1981 and 1982

    Tom

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