After learning five languages during my lifetime, at some point I thought that, that should be enough.
As I am spending more and more time in Saudi Arabia though, which is the place where I live now, I have realized that staying here for a year without knowing a single word of Arabic would be not only a stupid thing to do but also kind of inpolite towards all the Arabic speaking people that I meet in school or in the stores or bazars in town.
So today, after an exhausting week in school with tons and I really mean TONS of work to do, I sat down and did some research on basic Arabic learning.
I am really interested in just being able to say the most common things I would need in everyday life and hopefully understand some of the responses of the person I am talking to. I call this kind of learning “survival” Arabic.
I did the same thing back when I lived in Kosovo. I took Albanian classes for about two months first, until I eventually realized that this language was just a size too big for me. What I ended up with in the end, and what I actually really needed in everyday life were phrases like: Good morning/good night. How are you? Thank you. How much does that cost? (knowing the numbers in Albanian already)
This is pretty much what I am aiming at when it comes to Arabic. When I try and compare Arabic to Albanian, I realize that Arabic seems so difficult, I could just as well be already fluent in Albanian.
I do really enjoy experiencing new cultures though. So hopefully that will keep me motivated enough to get down the basics that I need through self-tutoring. Even if it’s just to impress my Arab friends at school or express my appreciation for this culture in general.
I met a Saudi who taught himself Russian and I must say it is a pleasure listening to him speak (that from a native Russian speaker perspective).
Hence I should be able to learn some Arabic as well, right?