Friday, January 16, 2009

What is this site? And what does it mean?

This blog is intended to help anyone who wants to learn Arabic, at any level. I'm particulary interested in saving resources for intermediate and advanced students, because so many materials on the web are only for beginners, and there's a real lack of structured resources to push students further with their study of the language. See this post for an explanation of my system for labelling posts. I hope the materials saved here will also be of use to teachers of Arabic.

The name of the site is an Arabic idiom, bukra fi al-mishmish, which I actually misunderstood when I picked it as the title of my blog. It means "tomorrow there'll be apricots". I confess that I thought it had the sense of "seize the day, before it's too late" (because apricots don't last long before going off). I picked the phrase as I thought it captured the optimistic attitude that it's time to put off the thing you've been meaning to do but never got round to it. Loads of people tell me they'd love to study Arabic one day. Well, this site is to help them just get on and do it. Don't put it off until the apricots are rotten...
In fact, I've since realised that it is actually used sarcastically, to suggest “I’ll believe it when I see it”, “don’t hold your breath” or "pigs might fly" - ie. you seriously doubt something is going to happen. So the title of the blog probably sounds more like, "don't bother learning Arabic, you'll never get anywhere..." Woops! But even if I messed that one up, I'm going to keep it as the title anyway, as it's a great example of exactly why I'm keeping this blog: to delve deeper into the language, to share resources and to start a discussion.

The site is created by me, Ruth. I'm a freelance translator and teacher of Arabic in the UK. I’m not a native speaker of Arabic, so I am sure that I will make mistakes, as above, and for that I’m sorry. Just like toddlers, we learn language through experimenting and making mistakes ;) Please tell me when you think I’m wrong: I welcome any constructive comments, especially corrections or explanations about language and culture.

Thanks for stopping by!