I am learning Arabic at 40, and I am proud of it

I had the opportunity to do many things and learn new activities. So, I thought of giving the language a try and joined a summer camp to learn Arabic.



By Lamiya Siraj

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 9:57 PM

Being here in the UAE for 14 years, I have always wanted to learn the local language, Arabic. Being a Muslim, I wanted to learn it because Arabic is the language of the holy Quran. Moreover, I think it is important and helpful to know the language of the land you reside in.
But I couldn't learn it fluently. A major reason for this was the dominance of English and how things are easily done in English. After settling down in the UAE, I always had this question in mind: How many people here are expatriates? And how many of these have put in an effort to learn the local language? Learning Arabic could be the first step in accepting the UAE wholeheartedly. It can also be beneficial in many ways.
I had the opportunity to do many things and learn new activities. So, I thought of giving the language a try and joined a summer camp to learn Arabic.
I was nearing 40 when I went for my first class, and to my complete surprise there were only six students in the classroom. There were two women my age, a young boy who was seven, and two other, both years older. I didn't know that Arabic was one of the top 10 most widely spoken languages in the world.
We started with basic greetings like 'marhaba' meaning hello; 'kaifa haluk' which means 'how are you' and more. We poured over the origins of the Arabic language and its history on the first day. And then we started understanding grammer - verbs, nouns and plurals. Two more people joined us and we were now a class of eight. With lots fun and learning, our Arabic camp came to an end. We did receive a certificate, which made me feel extremely proud of my achievement. I was happy that I thought out of the box and did something that inspired my daughter, my community, and me. It made me want to continue what I started, no matter the time it demands. I am sure this small step would take me to a long way. I have personally decided I will continue learning Arabic. It will help me master a new language and add to my skill set. I request people living in the country to learn the language and give it some thought. It will be our way of paying respect to the UAE.
Lamiya Siraj is a freelance writer based in Abu Dhabi
 
 


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