Welcome to Shami Couch!

Hi all! Welcome to Shami Couch!

Motasem and I decided to start this blog because many Arabic learners express frustration at the lack of resources available for learning spoken Levantine Arabic. I think the way that we teach and learn both Modern Standard and Colloquial Arabic can be vastly improved and I’m hoping that this blog can prove a step in the right direction for Arabic education. Here’s a quick outline of what kinds of posts you’ll find here:

Colloquial grammar—Many people will tell you that there is no grammar in spoken Arabic, but this is only half true: of course, when compared with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the grammar is a cinch, but there are still some basic rules that the spoken language generally adheres to.

Vocabulary and idioms—This type of knowledge is essential to communicating like a native!

Cultural notes— Of course, customs vary widely across the Arab world, but these general notes can help you interact in a culturally-appropriate way with native speakers.

All of the above will be supported by clips from Arabic media, songs, pictures, etc, so that readers will have a context for new knowledge and a better handle on pronunciation rules. Since Motasem is Palestinian and I’ve spent most of my time learning Arabic in Jordan and the West Bank, the dialects covered here will be applicable mainly to those regions. However, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian Arabic are usually grouped under the category of Eastern/Levantine Arabic , and this blog will certainly be helpful if you’re interested in learning any of those dialects.

And another note: This blog uses the Arabic alphabet, as I feel it is an extremely important part of learning the language. It’s only 27 letters! Some great resources to learn the alphabet online include:

http://www.funwitharabic.com/write.html

http://www.shariahprogram.ca/Arabic-alphabet3.shtml

http://www.naturalarabic.com/free_article.php?artid=10150

http://www.youtube.com/user/LearnArabicQasid?feature=watch (This site has video tutorials which seem a bit more interactive than the other content!)

I hope you enjoy! Please feel free to comment with requests regarding content, and wait patiently for our first posts!