First steps #خطوات in Arabic #العربية

contemporary designed staircase
“Contemporary staircase in a metro station in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.”

This weekend has been an intensive study session just before my Starter Arabic exam on Sunday. I have taken it upon myself to learn by heart the basic vocabulary we are expected to know to pass the Eton Institute-administered certification, with the long view to build my skills up through the internationally recognised CEFR levels A, B and ultimately C.

With increasing government regulations and requirements to boost Arabic and Emirati input across the board, my decision to study a fifth language – not including “Yorkshire” as the husband puts it – is hardly premature. The initiative launched by the Dubai Department of Economic Development came as an opportunity to learn the language of the city I have called home and lived for the past four years. Ahem

Learning Arabic has opened my eyes to another side of Dubai, something I already knew from learning other languages but you can pick up some finer details in a culture. Apart from walking around shopping malls slowly reading signs and sounding slightly “Special” in the process, there are some nuances to phrases unbeknown to most of us who can’t speak a language which surrounds our daily lives here in the United Arab Emirates.

There are plenty of collateral benefits that come with studying Arabic, one of them being getting excited each time I recognize a word. My favourite thing to date has been the thrill of stalking my colleagues and forcing them to watch me write their name, then holding up the piece of paper as if I am meeting them at the airport and showing it off as if I am six years old.

Regardless, I have been studiously attending my two-hour classes twice a week for the past two months. Deadlines are a curious thing; here I am just two days before the test with seemingly completely empty mind. MinyHubby has limitless faith in me to pass with flying colours but I want to give it everything I have got, which includes making sure I can read and write the vocabulary set in Arabic, even though this particular test does not require it. I am learning for the future.

Update: this post was written on Friday, July 29th. Since then I passed my class with a perfect score. I am currently looking forward to building my Arabic skills by taking them to the next level.

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