- part 1 ba lam dal ya
How hard is it to learn Arabic? Very. Why bother? Apart from politeness and extending your cultural understanding, it enables you to at least take a stab at what a song is about "habibi" - beloved, "arousa" - bride, "beledi" - my community. However, it can be fraught - the words you don't know can be a minefield. "Tanoura" - skirt, yes - but what if the rest of the words are about how short it is and how slutty the girl is!
A lesser task is to learn to read Arabic. Why? Well, it means you can actually read your CD covers - and won't have to refer to all your music as "squiggle squiggle".
Where to start? Let's start at the very beginning:
- Arabic is written in Arabic script (Turkish is not)
- Arabic is written right to left.
- Arabic letters have multiple forms depending on where they are in the word.
- When in doubt count the dots
- Short vowels are indicated by thin strokes above or below the letter, or by a small comma above.
- Normally Arabic is written without the short vowels.
To see how they fit together:
Attar, S. (1997) Modern Arabic - An Introductory Course for Foreign Students, Beirut:Librairie du Liban
Wehr, H. (1994) Arabic-English Dictionary, 4th ed, Ithaca, NY: Spoken Languages Services