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Arabic language exam, Goal B1 May 2019

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:11 pm
by Maiwenn
Yay! LLorg is back up! Thanks, emk!

Apparently the game plan for Arabic has found me! As I mentioned in the Middle East Team thread, I learned of the new CIMA (certificat international de maîtrise en arabe) and am considering preparing for the test next summer. This has led me to think about *how* to prepare.

As this is a new exam, there is understandably a dearth of pre-fabricated study guides and exercise books (shocker!). Not all hope is lost, however, as we have some idea of what to expect:
1) This "guide du candidat" is filled with details on the format of the exam and some guidelines on what sorts of prompts there will be for the speaking and writing sections. There are also a few examples (3 for listening, 2 for reading, 1 for writing, 1 for speaking) on pages 16-19 of the guide.
2) The CIMA was produced with assistance from CIEP which organizes the TCF (test de connaissance du français) and surprise, surprise, the formats seem quite similar. Lucky for me, I'm already familiar with the TCF and there is a wealth of exercise examples. CIMA looks like TCF but with obligatory writing and speaking sections and no grammar knowledge section.

Test Format:
Collective testing section:
Listening: 35 questions in 30-35 minutes
- Each recording is played only once
- 9 true/false questions, 26 multiple choice questions with 3 options
Reading: 35 questions in 45 minutes
- 8 true/false questions, 27 multiple choice questions with 3 responses
- vowels are unmarked
15 minute break
Writing: 4 tasks in 60 minutes

- Task 1: presenting yourself or someone else (30-100 words)
- Task 2: description, recounting, or explanation in message form (30-100 words)
- Task 3: article, letter, story, expression of an opinion (30-100 words)
- Task 4: reaction piece to a text. The candidate must show their ability to take a position on the text's theme and argue their choice. (30-100 words)
Individual testing section:
Speaking: 4 tasks in 10 minutes
- No prep time
- Task 1: presenting yourself (2 min max)
- Task 2: tell the story of a moment or event from daily life (2 min max)
- Task 3: describe a social situation from daily life or an experience (3 min max)
- Task 4: express an opinion and explain it (3 min max)

Resources I'll be using:

Since I would be aiming for B1s in the four skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking), I decided that now would be an apt time to sign up for the B1 Arabic correspondence course from CNED. So I did that. Given both the CIMA and this course were created by the Institut du monde arabe, it seems reasonable to assume that it should help me get to the B1 level expected by the exam. At the very least, it will give some level-appropriate practice, a framework for study, and hopefully some good speaking/writing feedback. I'll be using this course as the framework for my studies.

In addition to the course, I'll continue using the periodical Al Moukhtarat. Like CIMA and the CNED course, it is also produced by the Institut du monde arabe (sensing a theme?). It's got great articles taken from Arabic media with their recordings. Most of the articles are graded above B1, but that can only help, right? It should be good prep for the reading and listening sections. To help prepare for the writing and speaking sections, I will also make a point of summarising and responding to articles. It would probably be a good idea for lessons with a teacher. Beyond that, I'll be watching and reading France24, Al Jazeera, DW, BBC, and others.

Wish me luck!

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:25 am
by MamaPata
Good luck! It'll be really interesting to hear how it all goes.

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:02 am
by Ogrim
Yes, best of luck! Maybe one day in the not-so-near future I will try and sit the exam as well. I have a long long way to go before it makes any sense though.

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:31 pm
by Maiwenn
شكرا Ogrim & MamaPata!

I’ve spent the past few days doing an audit of my Arabic knowledge and how I use my time. My MSA is very unbalanced: I know words like socialism, jellyfish, and shots, but my knowledge of numbers has some major gaps (I don’t know masculine AND feminine for every number, nor do I know many of the cardinal forms). At the end of this post, I’ve included the list of grammar/vocabulary I need to refresh my memory of from the A1/2 correspondence course. In terms of time, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I need to cut out most of my English-language podcasts. I should be using that listening time on Arabic and German. Given my goals for Arabic and the timeframe I’ve given myself, it is unlikely I’ll be spending much time on German outside passive exercises.

And now my goals for the rest of this month:

Complete first assignment for the B1 correspondence course.
(Daily) Practice presenting myself and other people.
(Daily) Listen to Al Moukhtarat articles or عيب podcast.
(Weekly) Al Jazeera article + included questions.
(Weekly) Write response to article/news report/etc.
(Daily) Talk about my day with my partner and ask about his.

Review chapters 1-7 of the Chekayri Moroccan Arabic book.
Talk to in-laws in Darija.

Read another 80 pages of Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse.
Der Report der Magd audiobook for listening practice.

What I've been listening to/watching:

Interview with the principal Moroccan actress in Much Loved. The host speaks in MSA and she responds in Darija.

I've begun listening to the Jordanian podcast, عيب, which means shame. Truthfully, I don't understand that much (yet), but the sound mixing is really well done and I find it pleasing to listen to anyway. Here's their description from soundcloud:

Eib is a podcast that examines how the lives of ordinary people have been affected by society’s definitions of, and rules pertaining to gender. Ban Barkawi, the program’s host, explores the stories of people and their encounters with divorce, reproductive healthcare services, and sexual orientation, topics rarely discussed in Jordanian society and tainted by the word shame or eib.

بودكاست (عيب) يعطي الصوت لأشخاص تأثرت حياتهم من قواعد فرضها المجتمع عليهم بناء على الجندر.

استمعوا الى أجرأ القصص الواقعية من أصحاب التجارب نفسهم عن الطلاق والصحة الجنسية والميول الجنسي وقضايا أخرى من قلب الواقع .

يهدف هذا البودكاست إلى تغيير عقليه العيب التي تسبب عبئ على أفراد المجتمع.


Areas needing improvement in MSA:
Dual and plural forms of the demonstrative (تانك\هاتان؛ ذانك\هذان؛ أولائك؛ هؤلاء).
Numbers, months, days, telling time.
Complétives (أن، أنّ، إنّ).
Passive (المبني للمجهول).
Distinguishing (ه) and (ح).

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:48 am
by Maiwenn
Inspired by the Untranslated thread, I went down a rabbit hole of blogs and sites focussed on Arabic literature. The outcome of which is that I ordered a YA book about a Syrian girl whose life is overturned by the turmoil in her country, ستشرق الشمس (One Day the Sun Will Shine -- link). I've also got a few books written by contemporary Arab women authors bookmarked for the future. I probably should've started with those as they're available digitally for reallyyyy low prices (typically <$5).

In preparation for this book, I'm going to shift some of my Arabic reading time from news articles to Harry Potter. The method I've been using for reading news has been working quite well. It's a similar method Here it is:
1) Do an initial read highlighting every unknown word.
2) Look up the unknown words.
3) Reread the article.
4) Write a summary using the unknown words.
5) Read other articles on the same topic.

This week has been all about السترات الصفراء. This link has all of the France24 articles with that tag.

Inspired by the news that spotify has now become available in MENA, I decided to test it out. I've now got a free account playing an "Arab Indie" channel and am discovering so much great Arabic-language music. Among the many new titles, is Manakir by Haya Zaatri:

Taken from the Youtube description wrote:منفيق الصبح بكير
منحط بودرا ومناكير
مندوّر عن معنى

قوانين بدها تكسير
منقول الله كبير
منشكي ما حدا بسمعنا

حاسّه حالي
بتحرّك لحالي
بزحمة سير، عم تخنق خيالي
اقنعة بتنطبع وبتمشي بالشارع
اسهم بتأشّر بس طريقي
بالجهه التانية

يا بنت، حكيِك خطير
خلّي سرّك بالبير
بلاش حدا يسمعنا

بتعرفيش شو ممكن يصير
بطّل واضح كتير
مين ضدنا ومين معنا

حاسّه حالي
بتحرّك لحالي
بزحمة سير، عم تخنق خيالي
اقنعة بتنطبع وبتمشي بالشارع
اسهم بتأشّر بس طريقي
بالجهه التانية

حاسّه حالي بتحرك لحالي
اقنعة بتنطبع وبتمشي بالشارع
اسهم بتأشر بس انا طريقي
بالجهة التانية

Manakir – Nail Polish
We wake up early in the morning
We put on blush and nail polish
Searching for a meaning
Rules that need to be broken
And we say that God is mighty (Allah kbeer)
We complain, but no one listens
I feel like I am…
Moving on my own
In a traffic jam, that’s suffocating my imagination
Fake masks walking in the streets
Arrows pointing the direction, but my way
Is in the other side
Oh girl, your words are dangerous
Keep your secret hidden (in a well)
Don’t let anyone hear us
You don’t know what could happen
It is no longer clear
Whose with us and whose against us
I feel like I am…
Moving on my own
In a traffic jam, that’s suffocating my imagination
Fake masks walking in the streets
Arrows pointing the direction, but my way
Is in the other side

Lastly, I went to see a terribly sad Tunisian movie called Mon cher enfant/Weldi/ولدي. It was beautiful and important to watch, but utterly heartbreaking.

Audio Practice for the Audiobook/Podcast-less Language

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:43 am
by Maiwenn
Audio Practice for the Audiobook/Podcast-less Language
Moroccan Arabic does not have any audiobooks or podcasts (at least, not that I've found yet). So what's a modern language learner to do? Do without? Pshaw. I thought I would share the strategy I've been using for gaining audio-only sources of language practice:
Find a video, rip its audio to make an mp3, enjoy! (If you want to skip even those steps and just keep things on youtube, you can follow the advice in this article: ... ackground/)
My greatest successes from this method have been with a certain tv show distributed by its channel on youtube. I first watched an episode on my own, then watched it with my partner who gave explanations/translations for much of what I missed. After that, I listened to it repeatedly on my own. Each pass-through, indecipherable clusters of phonemes would suddenly click and reorganize themselves into something comprehensible. Each time, I understood something new and I helped my ear adjust to the speed and accents of different characters. I listen to these while running or out walking. I'm not too bothered if my attention comes and goes. In fact, I find it even more thrilling when I understand something as I was thinking about other things.
Beyond that tv show, I've used the audio from news reports, cooking shows, whatever strikes my fancy. I do pre-screen these videos to make sure that there is indeed plenty of speaking and (more importantly!) no unexpectedly loud sound effects (I tend to avoid the overly produced youtube stars for this reason). Moroccan Arabic may not have audiobooks, but it definitely has a wealth of free and legal video content.

Obviously, this can also be done with languages that already have plenty of audio content prepared and ready to go.

Never Forget Customs
I got a text today that the book I'd ordered from Jordan had shipped (yay!) and that I could pre-pay the customs (ohhh nooo). The amount I'll have spent on the book has now more than doubled. :o Strong motivation to actually read it. It's probably the most expensive fiction book I've ever bought. (And I've bought a few Pléiades....)

Might Have to do the Super Challenge....

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:12 pm
by Maiwenn
The aforementioned book arrived today. I was very surprised when it came in a huge box. Even more surprised when it weighed 12kg. And MOST surprised when it was accompanied by 57 52 other books, 2 dvds, and 3 cds.

So yeah... I think I'm going to have to do the Super Challenge. This is basically el mektoub (destiny) pushing me toward it.

(I'm so excited!! Also very confused.)

Suddenly I'm not so upset about how much customs charged me....

EDIT: In my excitement, I counted everything as books. 53 books is still pretty amazing.

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:24 pm
by nooj
You hit the treasure trove! مبارك مسعد الكتب!

Re: Maiwenn auf Deutsch |2018| مايوين بالعربية

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:37 am
by Maiwenn
nooj wrote:You hit the treasure trove! مبارك مسعد الكتب!

I know!!! I could hardly sleep last night, I was still so shocked and happy.

I just signed up for the Super Challenge, so here's my first SC update including series/movies watched this month. I did not include podcasts or anything from before November 2018.

- 29 episodes of Black Crows (each episode is ~29 minutes, I'll be counting them as 25 minutes to exclude intro/credits time) = 725 minutes
- Barakah meets Barakah = 88 minutes
- Weldi =104 minutes
TOTAL = 917 minutes

- ما المانع؟ Q(70 pages of a children's book --> 14 pages SC)
- السيدة جواهر Q(25 pages of a children's book -->5 pages SC)
TOTAL = 19 pages

Re: Maiwenn's SC in Arabic + occasional Deutsch

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:48 pm
by SGP
[First, from the log's beginning]
Maiwenn wrote:I’ve titled this « as-sinjaba katnsaa » the squirrel forgets, because sinjaba is my Moroccan Arabic nickname and I often feel like a squirrel who keeps planting words and forgetting about them.
There is something else about squirrels, too. From a PDF about Finnish: Squirrels are able to read it (FI) without any delay. There was a photo of a sentence written using nuts. And the squirrel simply collected them.

Maiwenn wrote:I am an American who has been living in Francophone Europe the past six years. I apologize in advance for my excessive use of parentheses.
Parentheses: because of Francophone influence? And if so, why? I, personally, wrote too many parenthese-esque sentences because of Latin influence (and other reasons) in the past.

Maiwenn wrote:Read:
- ما المانع؟ Q(70 pages of a children's book --> 14 pages SC)
- السيدة جواهر Q(25 pages of a children's book -->5 pages SC)
TOTAL = 19 pages
Do you currently read books with or without Tashkil/Harakat?