Dear First-Time Arabic Students Applying for NSLI-Y,
(aka those with no prior knowledge of the language that would be spending their time a lot better by starting to learn the alphabet and such instead of just stressing out, but don't even know where to start)
We're all going crazy with anxiety. I totally understand, But, instead of just letting the stress strangle you, start studying Arabic (if that's what you applied for, and if you're a beginner. If you're not a beginner, go hit the textbook you already have!). But seriously, this is fun stuff!
Go through the alphabet, copying the words and pronouncing them. This was the very first exposure to the alphabet that I had, and I made myself an "Arabic Learning Notebook" right away. I made a page for each letter, copying the words and translations on that page for each letter, and then a page as a master sheet for the letters to refer to later on. Make sure to pronounce them yourself after the audio clips!
Sing along to this, and learn the alphabet! It's rather catchy, I still sing it when I'm going through the alphabet in my head. Then and again, I still sing the English alphabet in my head, so maybe that's just me...
Here's some Jordanian ammiya. This is pretty much applicable in Jordan (and maybe surrounding countries a little). So if you're going to Jordan, study up! But if you're going to Morocco, I recommend iTunes. They've got some great Moroccan Arabic podcasts.
Here's a website from the BBC that has simple standard Arabic (MSA) phrases. This is a good starter for before you know if you've been accepted, because they're simple phrases that will be recognized whether you go to Morocco or Jordan. This is also the kind of Arabic that is used in formal situations and the media, so it'll definitely be there.
So, just learn the alphabet, and then start trying to learn simple phrases! And one tip - DON'T TRANSLITERATE IT INTO ENGLISH LETTERS! While it might seem like it's making it easier for yourself, you're just using the Arabic alphabet less. Every time you transliterate, you're cheating yourself of an opportunity to get better at the Arabic alphabet! SO JUST USE THE ARABIC ALPHABET! It's more fun anyways :)
All right then! I guess we're all in the waiting boat again. I can't wait for April to find out whether I get to go again! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
Salaam, 7ob, al-3rabia
(oops, I guess I just broke my transliteration rule...)
سلام، حب، العربية
Peace, Love, Arabic
PS. If you have any questions about learning Arabic, just comment and I'll try to help, and if I don't know I'll message my Arabic teacher and get her to help!