Over the past few weeks I’ve been working through the first unit of Media Arabic which deals with “meetings and conferences”. By concentrating on and drilling down into one theme of news reporting per unit, the textbook aims to introduce vocab and unpack writing styles related to the more common genres of reporting. The first ten pages have presented a series of progressively longer news stories which I’ve been translating with the aid of a table of key terms and then answering questions designed to elicit the key points.
The texts have been quite repetitive — Arab League leaders met and pledged democratic/social reforms, and progress on the issues of Palestine, Syria and Libya — but I guess this repetition serves the purpose of reinforcing my learning at that same time as being a realistic representation of those meetings and the reporting of them.
The other day, Mohanned set me a homework task: translate this real news article about the most recent Arab League meeting into English.
And sure enough, there is a beautiful predictability to the content and the vocab of the article which I’m surprised I’m surprised about given the similar paint-by-numbers nature of such reporting in English. The trickiest part is my ongoing battle with Arabic grammar and sentence structure, like being 15 or 20 words into a sentence and still waiting to encounter the subject, or the baffling lack of comma methodology and infuriating lack of full stops in some Arabic writing. But even so, it’s a really nice feeling finding myself having to flick over to Google Translate less and less, and being able to actually *read* Arabic ever so slightly less haltingly.