“A different language is a different vision of life”

“A different language is a different vision of life”

Sayyarah!

If I heard this a few months back, I would’ve fancied it to be the name of a beautiful maiden, but now I know it means ‘car’ in Arabic, well that’s Arabic for you, even the most mundane and common-place things sounding exotic!

How can one not be intrigued  by a language in which there are two words for a colour, one for male and one for a female object, (oh yaa all objects have gender!), where there are three  plural forms for every word, based on the count, where a phrase can mean 10 different things based on the context.

While teaching new words to us, did Sameh, our teacher, subtly slip in a lesson of life?

Alhamdulillah

‘Thanks be to god’.  Used in reply to an enquiry about one’s health etc., the fascinating part being, it can be used while replying in positive or otherwise, for good or bad one can always be Grateful to God.

Two days of the week, we wake up earlier than usual, talk in Arabic on the ‘Car Pool group’, try to make complex sentences, compete in translating sentences, suppress our laughter when hearing words which are strikingly similar to words in other languages (with very different meanings), using our vocal chords in ways we never have to get the pronunciations right…. Never knew learning a new language could be fun..

As the intimidating rules of syntax and grammar showed up, we got a little more serious.

And what’s the outcome? – while standing in an elevator and you realize you are able to understand at least bits and pieces of a language you had no clue about sometime back…. Well that’s a great feeling!

 

Radhika Annamraju
Swiss Singapore

2 Comments

  • Archina Posted December 4, 2017 12:30 pm

    I want to learn Arabic

  • Anzee Posted December 6, 2017 6:31 am

    Wonderful

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