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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Raising Maryam - Language lessons

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Haji 2003

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So we'd been trundling along with Arabic and French. Private (Iraqi origin) tutor for the former and school lessons for the latter. 

I had felt for a long time that based on my personal experience of the value of an intensive French course (a teenage summer spent in the University of Aix), the standard pedagogy of an hour a week is no good. There have to be at least bursts, in my opinion, of more intensive sessions.

Anyway,  the Iraqi teacher had become more irregular because it was no longer convenient for her and the French could have done with a bit of upping the ante.

And that's when I discovered italki.com

You can get language tutors from around the world, try them out and have lessons over skype etc. To get Maryam into this I suggested we give 3 Arabic teachers a go. You can choose standard Arabic rather than a dialect. As it happened all 3 live in Cairo. We had a trial lesson with each and Maryam chose one. Now the Iraqi lady had been charging us about $40 per hour. These people were charging something like US$20-25. Having settled on one Maryam now has regular lessons with her and during holidays it can be 2-3 per week.

Italki lessons can synch with whatever calendar you have on your machine, so that when a lesson is booked it appears on your machine on your local time and an email reminder comes as well. It's pretty well thought through.

Anyway, with these savings and the realisation that the system would be forcing Maryam into a more structured learning system, we repeated the process for French and settled on a native speaker living in that country.

The next language she has at school presented a problem.

They do Spanish and German for a year and then choose which one they carry on with in addition to the French leading up to the national exams at the age of 16.

So German or Spanish? Since the haji game plan is that south America may be a good destination if Muslims get kicked out of UK/Europe, and more people speak Spanish around the world and it may be easier for someone who already does French, we settled for her having extra lessons for Spanish. But I am in two minds. There was an argument that German may be better if, for example, someone wants to go into engineering.

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So she speaks Arabic, English and French already? She must have a high IQ.

I can't afford italki, however I do have one comprehensive Arabic textbook here.

http://www.ziyaraat.net/findbook.asp?Escritor=All&srchwhat=All&orderby=titulo&idioma=All&submit=Display+Books&Tema=Arabic Language

The arabic tutor set has four volumes, so whatever level she is at you lick, and there are also some other resources there too.

!!!أنه جدا سهل 

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I have always felt that every Muslim must have a good working knowledge of Arabic. But in in non-Arab countries such as the sub-continent, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, etc. Arabic is meant mostly for those going into religious studies. The rest know almost nothing of Arabic.

Compare that with the Jewish community - I am not talking about Israel but Jews around the world.

A far greater proportion of Jews know Hebrew than Muslims know Arabic.

That is sad ! Isn't it?

 

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7 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Thanks for this Bro. 'Speaks' is a bit ambitious for where she is but inshallah we are getting there, certainly Arabic grammar does not scare her, so that's good. Thanks for the link, that selection looks very useful.

Is she lerarning Fusah arabic?

Check out the link in my signature, the sources on there are phenomenol for arabic.

She will thank you when she is older.

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6 hours ago, baqar said:

A far greater proportion of Jews know Hebrew than Muslims know Arabic.

That is sad ! Isn't it?

The impression I get is that modern standard Arabic is closer to Quranic Arabic than is the case with modern Hebrew when compared to the Hebrew of the Old Testament.

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5 hours ago, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

Is she lerarning Fusah arabic?

Check out the link in my signature, the sources on there are phenomenol for arabic.

She will thank you when she is older.

The choice she had was between Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic and we went for Modern Standard. Between the ages of one and four she was somewhat backward when it came to speaking. I still use some of her baby vocabulary with her, potato crisps were 'pratik' and yogurt was 'shotik', dunno where the words came from.

Then she started learning to read the Quran just by saying the words (as most people do) and there was a marked improvement in her English and Urdu. May have simply been a function of growing older, who knows?

Once she had finished the Quran the issue was what she should do next and I had been impressed by the point made in a Muharram majlis many years previously that Muslims should know the language of the country that they are in and also Arabic. And if I remember correctly Ayatollah Khomeini had also tried to improve the extent to which Arabic is taught in Iran. And funnily enough I had also seen how much of a disadvantage non-Arabic speakers are in Shiachat type discussions. Sure for that you need classical, but once she had mastered standard she could progress.

Between the ages of 8 and 10 when she should have been preparing for school entry exams (in English, Maths and reasoning) she'd take aged 10, she was studying Arabic. A bit of an experiment on my part, but it paid off and she got into the school I wanted, because the skills she developed in learning Arabic grammar paid off with the other subjects (IMHO). 

So she started with modern standard a few years ago, but it has been a little haphazard, hopefully it will become more focused now. 

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^Lucky. I started reading Quran at 13 :hahaha:

Though do you know of this phenomenon at all? I have videos of myself speaking fluent Farsi at age 4. Then I forgot it completely, then read some books and remembered it a few years ago. Scary. Maybe it is because I stopped using it? Who knows....

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I think once you get to a certain level with a language it's pretty easy to pick it up again.

The problem with the standard to which they take you at school if you learn until the age of 16 (definitely in the UK, not sure about elsewhere), is that it's not very useful then and after some years you've forgotten most of what you had learnt.

An hour a week of kids' time for 5 years completely wasted.

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Brother, $20-25 for a teacher in Egypt is way too much.

I spent a couple of months at this school a while ago, the teachers were really good - for some reason that makes no business sense whatsoever, they have taken the prices off their site, but I know that it is probably closer to $10/hour. You should try a sample lesson with them and see how it goes, most of the staff when i was there were very friendly.

http://www.arabeya.org/

This one charges $7,5/h

http://www.arabic-egypt.com/index_files/LearningArabiclanguageLearningQuranOnlineLearningTajweedonlinefromEgypt.htm

There are a few more online, you should look around.

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Maryam started with Spanish in September last year. So one of the languages we used to do on italki was that one. When she'd have her lessons, I'd quietly take members of the family to listen in. She'd be really happy jabbering away. The tutor was a young Spanish lady in Galicia and Maryam really took to her. Talking in Arabic and French with her tutors always seemed more laboured. 

Then a couple of months ago the Spanish tutor said that she was moving to France for a new job and would no longer be carrying on - but was happy to keep in touch.

Maryam seems to have lost all interest in Spanish. She does not say, but I think it was a bit of an emotional blow.

This may not be a complete disaster since we were always in two minds about whether it should be German or Spanish as the second foreign language at school.

German does have its advantages in terms of technical occupations. Maryam also claims that her experience with Arabic grammar rules is a help with German ones. She does also, occasionally, pick up a German grammar book of her own volition and do the exercises.

So this may be an opportunity to replace Spanish with German.

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      Original post: https://www.iqraonline.net/dialogue-with-believers/
      An epidemic harming our communities is the general inability, hesitance & fear of engaging in dialogue with one another. In fact, in recent years, it appears there has been a significant increase in our communities engaging and initiating inter-faith dialogue, yet we do not see this phenomenon within our own communities. This is while we need such initiatives perhaps even much more so than inter-faith. We lack the ethics and etiquette of engaging in dialogue with other believers and this naturally weakens, distances and breaks up our communities on various fronts. This is of utmost concern particularly for the diaspora that is already in a vulnerable position – and things do not seem to be getting any better. Dialogue is not simply “speaking” – speaking is not the issue, in fact, many of us speak and have a lot to say, and our pulpits are occupied all year long with trained scholars, untrained lecturers and academics speaking.
      A dialogue will generally have these three elements:
      1) Two or more people
      2) A subject of dispute or a subject that needs clarification
      3) An expectation that the result of dialogue will either be in favour of you and/or the other party, or not (depending on the conclusion).
      When dialogue does not take place, the results we observe are usually the belittlement of others, insults, accusations and rumours, swearing, and in fact, a lack of dialogue can even lead to physical confrontations, wars and bloodshed. These are of course all horrible consequences, particularly when the victims are no other than our selves. These consequences show that the subject of dispute was not resolved or there was no capacity to engage in a dialogue to begin with.
      Why do we not engage in dialogue amongst ourselves? Are those who we disagree with amongst the believers so off the mark that we need to maintain a position against them like we should do with those who are genuine enemies of our belief? This is most often not the case at all and only in extremely exceptional circumstances do we have to encounter such groups of people – at which point it would be difficult to even classify them as believers. In the Treatise of Rights, Imam Sajjad (a) says that people of your creed enjoy the following rights over you:
      The right of the people of your creed is harbouring safety for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward their wrong-doer, treating them with friendliness, seeking their well-being, thanking their good-doer, and keeping harm away from them. You should love for them what you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. Their old men stand in the place of your father, their youths in the place of your brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their young ones in the place of your children.
      Neglecting dialogue over matters of contention, more often than not, results in the trampling of some or all of these rights. So what prevents us from engaging in dialogue? Perhaps one or more of the following preliminaries required for dialogue do not exist:
      1. The need to recognize other believers as noble creations of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Verse [17:70] says Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the children of Adam nobility and honour. In some of our communities, we see believers giving a lot of respect to Sayyids and this is not for any reason except for the fact that they are connected to the Prophet (p) through a chain of many generations. However, it behooves us to realize that we (and creation as a whole) are connected to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) directly (or as per certain schools of philosophy, we are the very connection itself). Looking at another believer through the lens of dishonour and painting them as ignoble will not lead us anywhere and signifies a much greater spiritual problem.
      2. Acknowledging that humans are different from certain aspects – gender, ethnicities, tribes, physical and spiritual capacities, affinities, tastes etc. We have two types of Sunnah (pl. Sunan) – the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Sunnah of Allah. The Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are divided into two: there are some Sunan that only become applicable when humans bring them upon themselves through their free-will; for example, the increased bestowal of guidance once we have wilfully chosen to come into Islam -
      [47:17] As for those who are [rightly] guided, He enhances their guidance.
      [19:76] Allah enhances in guidance those who are [rightly] guided.
      There are some Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that are absolute, not conditioned to the free-will of man. One of these Sunan is His creating us different. These differences are one of the necessary conditions for trial and tribulation to have any meaning in this world.
      [5:48] …and had Allah wished He would have made you one community, but [His purposes required] that He should test you in respect to what He has given you…
      [6:165] It is He who has made you successors on the Earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.
      As such, it is normal that even within the same worldview, there will be times people reach different conclusions and do things differently. Acknowledging this opens the door to considering certain points of contention worthy of engagement. On the contrary, allowing these contentions to break us apart may very well be a sign that the believers are failing in their trials.
      3. The lack of desire to engage in Ṣulḥ - to reach a conciliation and compromise. Ṣulḥ is often discussed in the context of resolving personal disputes and ironing out details of settlements, or as a treaty for halting warfare. But the general principles of Ṣulḥ can also be used to resolve larger community disputes – as was common in the Muslim world in the past and continues to be the case in many rural places. However, this generic understanding of Ṣulḥ only works if parties involved have a desire to discuss their disputes in a sincere manner (the details and mechanisms of Ṣulḥ have been discussed in detail in their appropriate places). One should not see the mere existence of differences as necessarily going against the command of holding on to the rope of Allah [3:103] - these two are reconcilable on many occasions as the scholars have mentioned. The absence of Ṣulḥ breaks and fragments the communities of the believers.
      4. Reality is too vast and not all of it is in our hands. At any given point we have only understood certain aspects of it and that as well to a certain degree, not absolute reality –
      [17:85] and you have not been given of the knowledge except a little.
      We need to acknowledge that there are other perspectives and there is genuine room for these perspectives to be justified within an Islamic framework. The vastness of reality should alone be enough to humble and soften us to engage in dialogue with another party amongst the believers. The delusion of having uncovered all of the truth regarding a certain matter and behaving as if no one else could possibly say anything that would add anything to our knowledge is a deterrent and barrier for dialogue.
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