A mini Palestinian Arabic lesson

Scroll down for a short lesson by Nihaya!

But first…

We need volunteer learners for the Arabic teachers that are training right now. If you are interesting in joining us and have a small taster, do get in touch by writing to Hala (see below):

And now, here’s Nihaya’s Palestinian Arabic taster:

We have used a few words of Arabic in our posts before. You’ll have come across Marhaba (Hello) or Ma’salama (Bye). These are words that are very common in Modern Standard Arabic and that people also use in Gaza all the time.

However, we now want to teach you some common expressions that you may hear when you talk to someone speaking Palestinian Arabic. Some of these colloquial expressions are used in other Arab countries, but they are not considered Standard Arabic. They are words from the variety of Arabic that is spoken in Palestine and in Gaza.

Yalla (يلا) means ‘hurry up , come on, lets go’

Ba’rafesh (بعرفش) means ‘I don’t know’

Mesh moshkela: (مش مشكلة) means ‘No problem’

Jad!  (!جد) means ‘ Really!’

Lahza (لحظة) means ‘one second’. This word is often used to ask someone to wait for you. If you hear this you know that, despite its literal meaning, you will wait for more than ‘lahza’ 😊

Teglagesh (تقلقش) / teglageesh (تقلقيش)  means ‘Don’t worry’ (when talking to a male/female). But beware: do not be too optimistic! Most of the time this means that what you have agreed on won’t actually happen! 😉

These and many, many more things you can learn when taking the Online Arabic from Palestine course! Check out what one of our volunteer learners had to say after a few lessons with one of the Arabic Center‘s capable teachers:

We hope to hear from you soon!

Gaza: the full picture

When doing a Google search for images of the Gaza Strip, Palestine, you may really struggle to find images that are not of rubble, explosions, smoke, young people (usually men) with their face covered, looking threatening. Below is a screenshot showing the first few images that came up when searching the word ‘Gaza’ on Google Images today.

Google’s Gaza

Since Google tailors its results according to previous searches, you may get images that are a bit different. However, whether they come from supportive websites or websites that are hostile, the images are almost invariably along the lines of the ones above. We know, because, when we were putting together the Online Arabic from Palestine language course, we had to scroll through huge amounts of these images to find some that were not of war, misery and destruction.

When our Palestinian colleagues in Gaza send us pictures for this blog’s gallery, the screenshot of the drive where the images were stored could not be more different from the one above. Compare the two!

‘Our’ Gaza

Life in the Gaza Strip is indeed hard: we do not wish to minimise this. But there are people in Gaza who are keen to show that hardship and pain are not all there is in Gaza, that people there are living their everyday lives in the best way they can under the circumstances. That Palestinians in Gaza are managing to hold on to their dignity, hopes and great determination to lead lives as normal as possible, even in the ‘abnormal’ circumstances of the situation they are in.

Kholoud Nassar is a young Palestinian woman who lives in the Gaza Strip. She uses her Instagram account to show ‘the full picture’ of life in Gaza, one which acknowledges that there is war and destruction, but that this is not all. You can watch how she portrays Gaza in the BBC documentary ‘The Instagrammer who wants to show a different side of Gaza‘.

The Khaldi Twins have also been making videos about the Gaza Strip and life in Gaza for a few years now. They too do not deny that life in Gaza is harsh, but they wish to show also all the good things that happen in Gaza. If you have access to Facebook, you may want to check out their page.

This Gaza of both suffering and strenght is the Gaza that our Online Arabic from Palestine shows too. Designed for total beginners, this course is taught by qualified, trained teachers based in Gaza. It will show you the many bright facets of life in the Gaza Strip. You can register through the ‘contact‘ button or by writing directly the Arabic Center at the Islamic University of Gaza.

Happy Arabic Language Day!

Below is a short post by our newest team member. Welcome Nihaya! 

…but first a video of people practising their Arabic  (with a Skype welcome from the wonderful Gaza team! 😊 )

On December the 18th 1973 Arabic became an official language in the United Nations and so every year, on this date, we celebrate “UN Arabic Language Day”.

Arabic is considered one of the most important languages in the world. It’s the language of the Qur’an. Muslims from different countries read Arabic even if it’s not their first language. Arabic has a variety of different dialects, and it’s spoken in 22 countries. Despite the fact all these countries speak Arabic, it’s sometimes hard for Arab-speakers from one country to understand what Arab-speakers from a different country are saying as dialects can be quite different.

Did you know that some English words were borrowed from Arabic? Words such as alcohol and coffee, which are major words for daily life for a lot of people. Also, words such as lemon, algebra, and cotton are originally Arabic words.  Some might think that Arabic is a difficult language, yet nothing is hard with good teachers and practice.

By enrolling in our online course, you will discover a very rich language (and one easier to learn than you thought!)