Spotlights on Arabic and the Arabic course

Hi, guys. I am a native Arabic speaker from Egypt and I am majoring in Arabic in the Uni. I've finished the Arabic course by testing out the skills and I'd like to share with you my notes on it:

1- In Classical and Standard Arabic, the vowel or the vowel followed with n sound you add to the end of the words depends on the case (nominative, accusative, genitive...etc) for most nouns and for verbs in the present tense in certain cases. It's sth we study in Arabic classes at school and not all native speakers are good at, just like they may not be good at English, geography or maths. In spoken Arabic we don't change the end of the words depending on the case just like we don't do in English. What happens here is that the words are written without the vowel diacritics at the end of the words and the TTS engine sometimes add the right vowels and sometimes the wrong vowel.

You don't have to learn the rules of what vowel to add to the end in order to understand MSA. And I think if they pronounced the words in the sentences without it, it would be okay since they are teaching less formal Arabic. We as native speakers can read this way.

2- The structure of the sentences is MSA. And the TTS engine is reading in the way MSA is read. That's why it adds n sound to the end and stuff.

3- The rule of... for example saying (ْجارَك) if the addressee is a male and (ْجارِك) if it's a female is from the Egyptian dialect. In MSA it's (جاركَ) for a male and (جاركِ) for a female and the vowel you add to the (ر) depends on the case. So when they type it (جارِك) in a sentence with a female addresses based on the Egyptian rule, without adding diacritics to the (ك) the TTS engine that reads in formal considers the addressee a male by default and pronounces pronounces it (جارِكَ).

They mean to teach you the Egyptian rule (like when making you choose between (جارِك) and (جارَك) based on the gender of the addresses.) Maybe because it's easier than the MSA one that would need a vowel (depending on the case) before the letter (ك).

Also typing هوَّ/هيَّ with a shadda sign ّ sign is based on how Egyptians pronounce the word. It's هوَ/هيَ in MSA. A word like (بَيت), though, is written like it's pronounced in MSA. Egyptians say (بِيت)

4- There are a lot of mistakes in pronunciation.

5- They use Franco Arabic for the letters (ع) and (ء), but not for ض and ط (why?!) Then they ask you what's the correct pronunciation for the word Daa (or sth like this) and give (ضا) and (دا), how would you know which of they want?! They did the same thing with (ط) and (ت).

6- They mostly use words and expressions from the Egyptian dialect that can be used as MSA, the most slang expression I saw was (يالله باي). And there are some formal words that aren't used in the spoken Egyptian like (طاولة - معطف). Maybe it's good they are trying to teach you a practical language. But I'd like to mentionS that translating (live) to (أسكن) sounded to me unnatural when talking about a city or a country (it's natural when talking about a street or a district). (أعيش) is more natural for a city or a country. And (صالون) is not the living room. It's this kind of furniture or the room that has it (the guests room) is what called (صالون).

7- The font looks normal to me.

8- I think they should use the most common names in the Arabic world which sth reflects the culture, but they seem to choose the Arabic names that's easy for English speakers to pronounce and American names.

9- After all, it teaches you how to read Arabic and some basic structures of sentences, basic common words and expressions. So I think it's an okay one, but they really need to fix the pronunciation.

July 13, 2019, 9:15 AM


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