Euskara (berriro)

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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:48 pm

I don't know Classical Arabic, really. I pick up words and phrases that have entered Moroccan Arabic, but I have never formally studied it, and I could not tell you what they are saying on TV.

It's true that you could live here without knowing CA, but in some ways it is limiting. The Arabisation programme that the North African countries followed post-independance means that most citizens undergo or have undergone some scolarisation in classical Arabic. Most children learn CA in school and a lot of subjects are (nominally at least) taught in CA, for example the religion classes. Much vocabulary has entered into the colloquial dialects, and competant speakers of both varieties know how to switch or modulate their speech to match more closely one or the other, depending on context and speaker. I don't believe that it is wise to speak only the colloquial variety of Arabic, as the majority of Arabic speakers themselves are never limited to that one variety, even if it is the one they use the most. Even Arabic speakers who are terrible at CA, at least aim at it and fail. Not trying or not having any knowledge of CA at all is the domain of very, very small children or completely illiterate people.

A lot of linguists have even talked of up to five kinds of Arabic spoken in Morocco, ranging from absolute Classical Arabic (as seen in prayers) down to the most basilectal Moroccan Arabic that has no pretensions of being 'sophisticated'.

And on top of that, CA is a must know if you want to connect with classical literature. This fact was reinforced over the weekend when I finished reading an excellent book about party-crashing and social parasites in medieval Iraq. Reading this tour de force by an academic made me realise that I'm not content to be on the sidelines. I want to have a taste of Islamic literature beyond that provided for me by translations. I know there are things I don't know and don't even suspect exists, and I'll only ever know if I learn the language.

Today I visited my friend's house. Her mother is a teacher of CA and runs a school above their house. This was in a distant suburb of the city, far away from the tourists. I am quite certain that I am the only foreigner, let alone Asian, to have passed through there in many months, if not years. By the way, one thing I have learned from my stay in Morocco is that poverty is relative. What looks poor and run down to me, may not be so in the eyes of someone who lives there. There are people who live worse. I was invited in for tea and dinner and enjoyed it with her family, her mother, grandmother, sisters. I can't deny that still it seems very foreign to me, and I don't know if I'll ever feel familiar here, but in some ways, it reminded me of my grandmother's place in Korea. She was still very traditional, making her own food, wearing her hanbok regularly which we usually pull out only for special occasions. Back then, urban Korea definitely wasn't the clean modern cities you see today. Garbage strewn, the sickly sweet smell of sewage, the noise...in fact, it still isn't the case for a lot of places. Korea reminds me of Morocco in a lot of ways: the social conservativeness, the family life style, the communitarian culture. Maybe that makes the culture shock a little less heavy than it might have been? I'm sure that my grandmother would have adapted in here far better than me. Anyway, as they fawned over me, I definitely felt like being in my grandmother's house again. I may not understand the language as well, but you know when people care for you.

I asked the mother if she could give me classes, whether individually or in a group. I didn't quite realise she was a teacher of children, so when she suggested I sit in on her class for the evening around 8 pm, I didn't realise that I would be sharing the benches with a gaggle of kids, ranging from 9 to 14. I sat there, the foreigner man of 26 years, looking distinctly ridiculous, but dutifully writing down what she wrote on the blackboard with her piece of chalk, which she explained in Moroccan Arabic (and which she kindly translated into French when I looked especially lost), in a gloomy room that the lone lightbulb high above struggled to illuminate. The kids and I had great fun, I must admit, learning the verb forms. I later learned that I had sat in on the 6th level, and that I really should be studying with the 4 year olds if I wanted to start from the very basics. That stung a little.

I will be coming back tomorrow, bright and early with my government issued textbook from the 1960s, which is no longer in print. My friend's father used to use it in school, and he added a little wistfully as he flipped through it that it was far better than what they sell now.

I have a lot of years of study to catch up on if I am to be in that 6th level class deservedly. There is no room for laziness. I feel motivated.
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Tomás
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby Tomás » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:49 am

Thanks for that post. I'll probably never study Arabic but that is very interesting to know. My family lived in Rabat for two years back in the late 1960s when I was a small child, but I only had French lessons in school there. No Arabic, unfortunately. But at least I got a little bit of French.
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:47 pm

My french is rushing ahead at breakneck speed. It comes in spits and spurts like that. Sometimes i feel motivated to put effort into one language and drop another completely.

Over the holidays i went to Andalucía, malaga, granada and Cádiz...i had no plans, no place to stay, i knew no one there. I basically ended up meeting people in the street, clubs, bars...we ate together, drank together, they invited me over to their places...i really love southern spain. The people are just...nice. I could see myself easily living there for years and that scares me a little.

i love the varieties of spanish spoken in the south! Each region speaks différently, a sevillano speaks very différently from a granadino and they speak differently in turn from a gaditano. My favourite dialect of the south to this point has to be from Cádiz. I expected more difficulties actually, given that andaluz has the reptuation of being 'hard', but not really. Although murciano does challenge me. Spanish is spanish...

My next job will take me to Uzbekistán in a couple of months, so i need to learn uzbek and russian and hopefully (if i get time) i can break out my persian, rustified, in tajik speaking places!!
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Fri May 05, 2017 1:10 am

I also tried out for a job in mallorca and got accepted surprisingly, so i have to choose between mallorca and uzbekistan. In mallorca i could continue my spanish journey and start a new one, mallorquin (the variety of catalán spoken there). In uzbekistan i could finally learn russian and uzbek and id be ideally placed for my next goal of living in iran. I donno...

I read an interesting article. Its very hard to not fall into sentimentalism or romanticism, but the author is a linguist and she treats the subject with the appropriate amount of scientific rigour and personal sensitivity.

http://m.nautil.us/issue/30/identity/th ... -languages

Its reminiscient of my own expérience with korean, the only language i spoke until 5 and now is restricted to talking with my family. Unless i marry another korean or move back there, i doubt i will pass my korean on to my children (if i ever have any). They will be cut off from my entire korean side of the family. They may not even be able to communicate with their grandmother. My mother speaks little english.
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druckfehler
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby druckfehler » Wed May 24, 2017 10:36 pm

nooj wrote:Korea reminds me of Morocco in a lot of ways: the social conservativeness, the family life style, the communitarian culture.


Interesting log! What a great opportunity to work in many different countries!

It's especially interesting for me to read about your comparison between Korea and Morocco. And that you're very keen on living in Iran because you get along well with Persians.

I studied Korean for several years (just for fun) and tried to immerse in the culture as well as I could. After Korean, I started studying Persian and from my German perspective I see so many cultural similarities! Among those the things you also mention about Morocco, but also small things like what constitutes good/bad manners. It's a fascinating topic. Is this the big East vs West cultural difference? How many of those differences are consequences of being pronouncedly patriarchal cultures? Do the cultural similarities stem from ancient trade connections through the Silk Road (I admit I have no clue about this stuff)?
Anyway, sorry for derailing your log like that! I'm curious to read where you'll be going next and which languages you'll subsequently focus on.
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Sat May 27, 2017 8:36 am

Is this the big East vs West cultural difference?


I think traditional Western cultures, at least around the Mediterranean, are similar in this respect to Morocco.

In Korea there was a time when putting elderly people into nursing homes would have been unthinkable...we often lived with our parents (or even grandparents) and we had a duty to look after them, care for them and this was true in the West and East in traditional societies. People still living with their parents is not an uncommon thing in Spain, Italy, Greece...

Confucianism had a massive influence on Korea and you know this meant that we were extremely family oriented, with the father at the head of the family. But that's no different from any other traditional patriarchal society.

3washrek mbruka and have a blessed Ramadan everyone!

As for my next language, I heard someone speak a language with ejectives and implosives a few days ago and asked them what it was. They told me it was Hausa. It sounds so nice! There are quite a few Hausa speakers here in Morocco because of immigrants from Niger and other countries. But I'm still working my butt off on Tashelhit, so I can't switch languages yet. In fact it's one of the reasons why I chose (for sure??) Mallorca, because there's quite a lot of Moroccan immigrants in Catalunya. I can keep on practicing my Arabic and Tashelhit or maybe even learn another Berber language like Tarifit...man, if only I could dedicate myself to languages full time. :|
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:25 am

A Spanish friend of mine tipped me off to a discovery that has revolutionised my life.

It turns out that dubbings of cartoons in Spain's other national languages are infinitely better than the Spanish dubbing, especially if it is in Galician.

Thus, I've been watching Shin Chan in Galician, which I don't fully understand...but is quite great, because I'd never seen it in English either! It's quite funny.

Now, if only someone would do this for Steven Universe...
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:49 am

Okay, I've fallen madly in love with Basque.

My housemate was Basque and she taught me a few words and expressions like aita (father), eskerrik asko (thanks), egun on (good morning), gabon (good night). At the time I wasn't too interested, I'm ashamed to say, because I was more focused on Spanish.

But now that I'm back in Australia, I've been consumed with a ravenous desire to learn other Spanish languages. The last month I've been studying intensely Catalan from the ground up. I found a Casal Català (a cultural association) here in Sydney. I got to attend a Castanyada and even take part as part of the pinya, the base, in the casterell, the tower building that they do. It's awesome. I also ate panellets for the first time, which were very tasty. I never knew so many Catalans lived in Sydney. I was surprised and happy that I could mostly understand them when they talked to me, although my spoken Catalan clearly needs more work, because sometimes I resorted to Spanish when I didn't know what to say. If only I went to Mallorca like I wanted to! It gives me a lot of motivation to keep on going.

To help with listening, I am currently watching Merli and Com si fos ahir on TV3. TV3 has subtitles so that helps. There's also a lot of great Catalan folk music. I even found, thanks to a Catalan friend who is really into metal, a death metal band, Vidres a la Sang. For reading, I am reading a Catalan translation of Anne Frank's diary. For writing, I'm doing a language interchange chat with a Catalan person I met online.

The last week, I've been reading Basque grammars. My GOD this is a fantastic language!
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:52 am

Image

I am there in the bottom left...somewhere. It's worse than a mosh pit at a concert!

The kids are fearless. My goodness.

There is also a Basque cultural house, a txoko (a gastronomical society) in Sydney, called Gure Txoko (our txoko) Basque Club Sydney. I've signed up for lunch and I'm going to try out the little Basque that I've learned this week!
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garyb
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby garyb » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:27 am

I was lucky enough to catch the Castellers in front of the Sagrada Familia when I was in Barcelona a few months ago. Impressive show!

Image
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