Making sentences

picture flashcards spread on ornamental rug

After 9 days of studying Arabic, we learned formulaic sentences today. I discovered I was capable of following a pattern… and making mistakes.

I plodded through the Arabic script, plugging in my information at the end of each sentence: “My last name is…”, “My country is…” The sentences ticked by, miraculously without authoritative interruption to correct my pronunciation. I gathered speed. “My city is…” And like a sentence-making machine, I burst out: “My wife is…” and then paused. I really didn’t know who my wife was. Hmm.

I wasn’t the only one making mistakes. My classmate smilingly informed us that she was a “teacher” of Arabic instead of a “student.”

We giggled at ourselves. But the fact we were making mistakes meant that we were producing the language (or at least some form thereof).

Language learning is tedious. I confess I think it unfair for an adult to struggle for speech and still be patronized by teachers. There must be a better way. But meanwhile, I’ll keep working.

The Arabic school director told me, “This will give you more sympathy for your English students.”

He’s right. I didn’t even laugh when a 15-year-old boy stood up and told the class that he was a “housewife.”

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