A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

our relatives, our real estate: adventures in elementary Arabic

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 26, 2006

This term I took a position running the listening comprehension labs for the university’s elementary Arabic program. the students are delightful – hard working and committed despite the many challenges this language presents.

for me the position has turned out to be a never-ending fountain of malapropic delights. this weekend, while grading sentence dictations, I found that one student had transformed the sentence I read in a particularly entertaining manner.

I read: `a’ilati `ainduha suar kathiira min aqaribna fil-bayt – my family has many photos of our relatives in the house.
He heard: `a’ilati `ainduha suar kathiira min `aqaribna fil-bayt – my family has many photos of our real estate in the house.

I had to set down my pen lest my laughing manifest itself in spastic squiggles all over his paper. I can just see the Hariris or any of the other ‘big families’ throughout the region sitting down to supper, surrounded by real estate photos and self-congratulation.

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One Response to “our relatives, our real estate: adventures in elementary Arabic”

  1. intlxpatr said

    Totally LOL!!!!

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