I got some Arabic language-learning CD's for Christmas.
"Who would give someone something like that?" you may ask. You may wrinkle your nose. I'll tell you who--my brother and sister-in-law (who are, by the way, going to have a baby girl in June!). This is because it's what I asked for.
"Why would you ask for something like that?" you may ask. With the same quizzical and wrinkle-inducing facial expression.
Um . . . to give me something to do in the car on the way to work at 4.30 in the morning? I don't know. I guess I feel I have totally underused second-language abilities, and I'm testing them out. Also, I think that, while Spanish may be the most practical second language to learn in this country, people the world over might be a step ahead of the game if they picked up some Arabic, too. I think Christian colleges should include Arabic in their foreign language programmes. But I digress . . .
Anyway, here are some things I have noticed, after going through just two lessons:
1) When you're learning a language which has very little overlap with your own, you start to hear words from your own language in some of the sounds. Sometimes it sounds like "bad words," actually. This can be funny . . . and a little distracting.
2) Speaking Arabic with a cold is a challenging endeavour. The first time I tried it, I found myself helplessly choking on all the glottal stops. And all the different aspirated sounds are tricky. I feel like I'm practicing tongue twisters, except that my tongue is scarcely involved at all, and the part that's twisting is the back of my throat.