Welcome to Arabic Seeds’ blog!
This is the first blog-post so I introduce myself a little and explain the objectives of this blog: I am Emilie, cofounder of Arabic Seeds. Through this blog, I want to share my experience in raising a child in Arabic as a non-native Arabic speaker, to share activities and approaches to teach Arabic to young children and to encourage parents wanting to pass Arabic on their children (native or non native speakers).
So here is my testimony “how mostly raising my child in Arabic boosted my own learning”:
Do you want to learn Arabic even as a non-native speaker? Do you want your children to learn Arabic too??
I know how tricky it can be to learn Arabic. I know the “demotivation” periods. I know the difficulty to enhance your learning while living in a non-Arabic-speaking country. I know the additional stress when you want to support your own children in learning this language…
But with my own modest testimony, I want to tell you:
” it is possible! Yes ! YOU can learn Arabic and, above all, use it in your daily life ! “
1) My first steps in learning Arabic :
I learnt how to read Arabic myself and with the support of my Arabic-speaking husband. I remember myself, at the beginning, reading only one page in around half an hour!
Perseverance, efforts and practice are the keys!
After learning how to read, I started to learn Arabic with the book 1 of Al-Madina method. I think this method is great to get the essential basics of the Arabic grammar and to improve our reading and writing skills.
But I noticed something: since I was not practicing in my daily life what I was learning,
I was forgetting it little by little…
2) Raising my child in Arabic boosted my learning :
Then, I discovered a great method: “al arabiyyatu bayna yadayk” (“Arabic at your hands”). This method, accompanied by audios and focusing on daily life topics as well as Listening and Speaking skills, really improved my learning. It was exactly what I needed after the book 1 of Al-Madina!
Edit June 2016: “Arabic at your hands” is from Arabic for All a non-profit program based in KSA. They sell the method on their website but the shipping price can be high depending where you live. They have resellers around the world (I bought mine from an online store when I was in France). ** NOTE: The links to other websites are provided as resources and do not signify endorsement of the website.
At the same time, my daughter borne and I started to directly practice with her what I was learning : speaking Arabic with her as much as possible, reading aloud Arabic children books to her every day, doing activities and games in Arabic, listening to Arabic through audios-books, e-books and cartoons.
I was learning new words and expressions with my studying book. Then, I was finding them in my child’s books. Then, I was listening to them in a cartoon. And finally, I was using them when speaking to my child in our daily life.
In my brain, it was like a “puzzle” that was being completed. It made me really understand the importance of practicing the 4 skills of the language to effectively acquire it : reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Don’t forget to use Arabic in your every day life or regularly, to speak it!
Don’t let it just in your notebook after your Arabic lesson/class!
3) It is just the beginning of a journey :
Now, my daughter is 4 years old and she is a French-Arabic bilingual (with Arabic as her major language), experiencing a third language acquisition since we moved to an English-speaking country. We speak two languages (French and Arabic) at home and it became natural. She is a blessed girl that make happy and enthusiastic the native Arabic-speakers she meets!
She only speaks Arabic to my husband (who only speaks Arabic to her) and her Arabic-speaking entourage and she only speaks French to her French entourage. She is able to differentiate the two languages. Since I mix French and Arabic when I speak with her, she also talks with me in both languages, sometimes in the same sentence! But this is not a problem: here are answers to some concerns that are commonly expressed by parents and child care professionals about bilingual acquisition in early childhood.
I can mostly speak Arabic in my daily life with my daughter. I am able to understand simple texts and children books without the vowels (“harakats”) if I already know the vocabulary.
It’s bigger than I expected when I started my Arabic learning several years ago!
But, that’s just the beginning of a journey! I still have some periods in which I don’t really learn new Arabic but, at least, I have my daughter that always makes me use Arabic daily and improve what I previously learnt.
I have to pursue my efforts since my daughter is growing up, wanting to discover more and more (like all children of her age!) and since she is developing her language skills (we introduced writing and reading activities).
Now it’s your turn!
Don’t wait until you reach the Arabic Fluency, you will get it by practicing from now!
Don’t wait until your kids reach the school age to make them practice Arabic!
Start to introduce Arabic little by little in your daily life with your children and tell us about your progress in the comments below.
Don’t know where to start ? Discover the 1st Arabic resources we designed especially for you!
Read my blog-posts about useful Daily Tips and Resources to practice Arabic with your kids!