Thursday, December 20, 2012

non-native arabic speaker

"Allow me to speak my Arab tongue
before they occupy my language as well.
Allow me to speak my mother tongue
before they colonise her memory as well.
I am an Arab woman of color.
and we come in all shades of anger"
(Rafeef Ziadah, Palestinian Activist, 2011)

I learned arabic since kindergarten until secondary school.
Some people might think that by now I should have known arabic language by heart.
Plus I have my own ustazah arab at home which is my mom (proud to say she was my arabic language teacher during my form 5). And all of the siblings have knowledge in arabic (we went to the same kindergarten and primary school, so basically we all learned from the same syllabus).
Unfortunately, it is a big NO. I just keep on learning but then since I don't do much on the talking part, so I'm not fluent in the language. AT ALL.

Why did suddenly I bring on this topic.
Recently, when I accompanied my mom at the hospital, her friend from Cairo came for a visit.
They were having their conversation in arabic (fushah not 'ammi).
And I did try my best to understand the conversation. I did understand it a little (not all..but then its better than not understand it at
Suddenly, the aunt ask me (in arabic of course) : nusaibah, how's ur arabic?
I was speechless..what should I say? I can't speak arabic?your mom is an arabic teacher..and you don't speak arabic?and you've been learning arabic since what?5 years old?what a shame..that is what I thought during that time..
Fortunately, I've been saved by the doctor who want to have a look at my mom condition *sigh*. the great thing is that I don't have to answer the question.
But then, the question keep on circulating in my mind. And it is not the first time though that I told myself that I have to learn back this language. Not just learn but this time I have to love the language.

Years back, I learned it just for the sake of getting A in the exam. And I found the language is not that hard (compared to engineering subject, it is much more easier). Though it become quite hard when suddenly you have to learn the grammar and literature (I learn the communication only in previous school). Then, at the same year you first learnt those thing you have to take a big exam which is SMA. It was during my form 4 when I moved to Sekolah Agama from my previous school. And for the first time, I nearly failed for the paper during the first test. It is a history though.
A good thing is that, Allah did fulfill what I want(Alhamdulillah^^). I managed to get A for every big exam on the subject. Even got exempted during my foundation. But then it means nothing if I can't even speak properly with the language. Let alone understanding the conversation. I might know some words, but most of the words sound foreign to me.

So, let's learn arabic. I'm not sure yet how, but I think this should be put in my wishlist.
I wish that one day, I can understand the Qur'an without much help from the translation *big grin*

p/s: Before that, the husband call and ask for my mother (in arabic also..what do you expect? He is an IRK lecturer)..and I am being the ignorant one in the language replied by english..double shame..and I don't even know how to start the conversation when I went to pick them at the door of the that moment, I wish there is a hole and I can just simply hiding in it -__- and when my mom asked me to accompany them back to the ward's door I refused because I was just afraid if they tried to talk to me again in arabic and I don't know what to say for the reply *hmmph* [awkward moment]

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