Assalamu 3alaikum


I’m trying to learn Arabic, mainly MSA but I’m very curious about Darija. I’ve been to Morocco and although only briefly, as that’s where my interest in Arabic began, it feels natural to try and learn that variety of the language (or some other Maghrebi dialect) since MSA is, as far as I understand, in some sense quite artificial (not the everyday language of communation.)

Anyway, found the forum and it seems quite a useful place for learning! :ok:

Wa 3alaykom ssalam, mr7ba bik ukahe :). At last someone who cared to apply my guidelines in the translation section :hap:.

You’re right, MSA is not used to communicate in real life. But MSA is the source, and I believe that you learn MSA, gates open for you to explore other Arabic dialects, although the vocabulary can be astonishingly different.

I hope that you’ll like it with us. And see you around.

Thanks for your kind welcome - and good I happened to get the rules right :^^:

I hope I’ll learn a lot here, Arabic in general and Moroccan in particular :cool:

mr7ba bik ukahe !


SM. I totally agree with you about learning MSA first and THEN taking on dialect(s). One of my profs, who was an American and fluent in MSA and Egyptian, was always having students complain about the order in which the “Arabics” were taught. Most of them thought that they should begin with dialects and move on to formal, on the argument that that is how Arabs learn the language(s) and that MSA is not very useful for casual conversations. He insisted that formal must proceed informal; otherwise, once you know how to communicate in a comfortable and effective way, it is much harder to make oneself sit down and memorize all of the ‘awzan’ and the rules which govern ‘al mu3atel alakhir’ and ‘al mamnu3a min as sarf’, particularly as they are grammatical constructs which are not necessarily well understood by the native speakers. I learned MSA first and then, as my non-English speaking relatives came to live with me wave upon wave, I naturally picked up Moroccan dialect. I know many women who were not as fortunate as I was (I was able to major in Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies, and comparative religion, all because I happened to be young enough to still be at University when I embraced Islam AND the University which I attended happened to have an Arabic program)… Back to my point; I know many American Muslim women who have been married for literally decades, yet they cannot construct a single sentence properly in MSA or dialect. Why? Because they were not able to study it, and the differences between English and Arabic (Indo-European and Semitic) are so extensive that there are very very few cognates between the two mediums of communication. The grammars are startlingly different, and, with little to no passive or active knowledge of Arabic, it is almost impossible to pick up the language from exposure, even if the exposure is massive. You simply have to have some idea of how to break the code in order to make sense of the pieces. …The first two years of learning Arabic were, for me, excruciatingly painful forays into unknown territory which left me feeling very stupid. …But, with perseverance comes the prize, and I didn’t give up…and I am still learning, twenty years later.

:hap: ??? ??? ???

ummaryam99, I think the ‘conflict’ between dialect and MSA is unnecessary. If I were to live in Morocco (or some other place where Arabic is widely spoken) I wouldn’t hesitate to learn that specific variety of Arabic, trying to learn MSA on the side to the extent I’d feel up to it. All depends what your needs and wishes are. If you want to be able to speak Arabic with all Arabic speakers, then MSA, yes. But, there are many other things as well that may determine your choice. As I don’t have any ambitions to become an Arabic scholar, and only try to learn Arabic because I find it fascinating, I’ll just do what feels most meaningful to me.

Welcome Ukahe, Mer7ba bik!

I did not mean to give the impression that I am picking a fight. The information I posted was meant to be helpful; I apologize if it rubbed any of you the wrong way.

I wish you well in your journey of learning.

MarocRulz, thank you :slight_smile:
ummaryam, no worries. I’ve just come across the view that MSA is somehow superior many times and am in general quite weary of claims that standard(ised) languages would prove better. Each to her own, I guess :slight_smile: And shukran for your kind wish!

Ukahe, have you always had a knack for languages? How many do you speak? Have you traveled extensively? Do you pick languages up with great facility?

I think of languages as codes and linguists as code breakers. I have had to work hard to learn what I do know; I suppose I am not such a natural, but more of a logician.

It seems that my take on MSA and the dialects exasperates more than a few of you. Everyone learns differently, and none of us gets to experience the walk of any of the others other than indirectly, through verbal exchange.

I am curious, though; do most of you think that the ‘non-standardized’ forms of Arabic are more, how should I say it, authentic? And, has anyone other than I taken an interest in Maltese as a welding together of very different linguistic traditions in to something which is neither one of them nor the other? I find Maltese to be absolutely fascinating.

Have a good day, all.

your welcome Ukahe! btw what does ur name mean?

Ummaryam, at least I could say I’ve always been fascinated with languages, and have studied a number of them (about nine, though really I’m only fluent in a couple of them, in addition of course to my native language). So at any rate, yes, I do have some experience in learning langauges. :slight_smile:

True, learning depends on the learner, and on the language. Every language has its own quirks, and people learn differently. I would say, categorically, that exposure is the key to learning one; that’s how we learn to speak as kids. But sure, there are many ways to expose oneself to a language!

I wouldn’t say dialects are more “authentic”, but I do think that a language consists of what people speak (this is generally complicit with writing though :p). There’s nothing wrong with MSA or Classical Arabic, in my view, just as there is nothing wrong with Latin or Esperanto. Learning them might be useful - it all depends on what one’s after. What I do find sad are claims that Classical Arabic would be somehow more eloquent.

MarocRulz, my username doesn’t mean anything, it’s just initials and parts of names. I’m thinking about changing it :roll:

Ukahe, thanks for the response. I haven’t any time right now, but I wanted to express my appreciation.

You didn’t comment on Maltese. Please, guys; go and look up so info on Maltese. It will certainly prove very eye opening.

Hi again,

ah you’re right, I forgot about Maltese! Yes, I do find it fascinating as well. It’s very interesting with an Arabic variant standardised apart. I don’t understand enough Arabic to start with, though, so I don’t understand more Maltese than a few words here and there. But the resemblance is obvious even to an untrained eye. And I imagine it to be curious seeing English, Italiand and French words receiving Arabic prefixes, suffixes or being conjugated according to the structure of Arabic. (I guess this is true of Maghreb Arabic as well though?)

welcome, jonquix xD

Thank you Tukha! Pleased to meet you :smiley:

you tooo :hap:
have a good time round here, i’m sure you will!