Duolingo: Teaching Arabic speakers English…and Arabic!
First of all, I can’t thank all Duolingo course contributors enough for their wonderful efforts, especially the contributors to this course. As we all know, it is a lot different from the other courses given its distinctive nature and format. I also am very sorry that I did not discover Duolingo earlier.
I am a fellow Duolingo student and an Arabic speaker who spent almost all her life in Cairo, Egypt. I moved to the US only one year ago. I discovered Duolingo last week when my best friend told me about it. I started learning Spanish and progressed through it very quickly. I was looking around the website and was amazed to see that there is an English for Arabic speakers course. It interested me very much and I thought I definitely had to check it out. I have to admit I was so fascinated! I mean it really is amazing, regardless of the errors that are present; which I think is perfectly normal at this stage. Anyways, I took the placement test and started getting through the different stages, with a bit of skipping sometimes ;). After a couple of days, I noticed that my Arabic was actually improving! My English, too, was probably improving, but I would argue that the improvement I witnessed in Arabic was much more significant. I am not really a native Modern Standard or Fusha Arabic speaker; I am just native in the specific Arabic dialect I was raised speaking. What I mean is, when writing in English, I usually don’t stop and think how I am going to write this or that. On the contrary, I have to stop and think when writing in Fusha Arabic most of the time; how do I pluralize this word? How do I write this number? What would be the correct form of this sentence? It is easy for English speakers to write in English because, well, it is their everyday language. But that is not the case with Arabic as we do not speak Fusha Arabic and barely use it – if we actually do - when interacting with each other. Today, I would call very few people "true” native Arabic speakers. This course is not only giving us the chance to learn a new language, but also, improve our own native language at the same time. Even if you feel that your English is good and your Arabic is strong, think of it as a way of refreshing your memory! I would also recommend this course to anyone whose English is strong and knows Arabic but wishes to strengthen it.
Ever since I have started this course, I learned a bunch of new words and my Arabic grammar and translation skills have definitely improved! So, what about you? Share with us what you have learned. :)
Have a blessed Eid y’all!
PS. Awaiting your comments and corrections :D