Day OneSeptember 1, 2009
Learning Arabic

Arabic Launch

I go straight from Russian to Arabic lessons.

As I mentioned previously, I am in our nation’s capital teaching two days of writing and grammar classes for a client here. Today also happens to be Day 1 of Arabic, and it began auspiciously, with a fabulous 3-mile…

September 2, 2009 | Arabic

Written Arabic: Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No.

Arabic looks nearly impossible, but it's not.

One thing I did not know about Arabic before starting this project, that I feel I should have known, is that vowels are not written. Oh my god! Instead, you have long strings of consonants. If vowels are indicated, which…

September 4, 2009 | Arabic

So Many Books, So Little Time

I visit Dahesh Heritage bookstore near the Time Warner Center.

Today I googled “Arabic bookstore nyc” and discovered the Dahesh Heritage bookstore, on 57th and Broadway, just three-fourths of a mile from me. (I love this city.) I promptly made my way there. The store is on the fifth floor…

September 4, 2009 | Arabic

Language Phobias and Cultural Hostility

Interest in Arabic may have grown, but some people still wouldn't consider studying it.

Today I decided to give running with Dr. Pimsleur one more try. It went surprisingly well—way better than before. In fact, I did Pimsleur without pause for the whole six-mile loop of Central Park. (Since Dr. Pimsleur is now…

September 5, 2009 | Arabic

Arabic Writing Challenges

On learning to write in Arabic.

This morning I was happily working my way through the Nicholas Awde alphabet book, with Arabic TV on in the background, when I found my educational goals thwarted. The Arabic programming had just been replaced with an infomercial, tragically in…

September 6, 2009 | Arabic

Russian Nostalgia

I grieve my fading Russian while puzzling over Arabic.

I did two Pimsleur Arabic lessons on my run this morning. In addition, Brandt set me up in the office with a headset extension cord, so I can now take Pimsleur into every corner of the office, including the bathroom,…

September 7, 2009 | Arabic

Labor Day Language Laments

I labor on Labor Day, and not all goes smoothly.

Labor Day! And I did indeed labor today. And some degree of irritation was involved, I’m afraid. I woke up and got right to work on that Alif Baa book, which I have to say I am not feeling…

September 8, 2009 | Arabic

Bay Ridge Field Trip

I take quizzes and a field trip.

I had so much fun today. It was back-to-school day (i.e., the day after Labor Day). I took that literally and did a lot of studying, plus other useful stuff. The words for “husband” and “wife” are very interesting.…

September 9, 2009 | Arabic

Miscellaneous Musings: Dialect, Memory, and Swingers

I take trips to the bookstore, Central Park, and the garbage chute.

All day today I thought it was Thursday. I was so happy when I realized it wasn’t. Discovering that it was only Wednesday was kind of like finding a big pile of money on the ground. I am having…

September 10, 2009 | Arabic

A Day with Alif Baa

I study my alphabet book. And like it.

I woke up at 6:40 this morning with Brandt’s alarm; he is teaching in New Jersey today. I never went back to sleep, just lay there thinking about Arabic and various Arabic phrases, until I finally got up at 8:00. I…