Monday, March 08, 2021

Do you want to learn how to speak Libyan Arabic?

After living in Libya for twenty-six years you would think my Arabic would be perfect, but it is far, far, far from that. I do get my point across and understand most things. Learning to speak Arabic was difficult, partly because in Libya rarely anyone will correct your mistakes - they will laugh at you though!! And to top that off people would speak to me in baby talk or they'd throw in Italian words like bambino (baby) and mangiare (eat). Of course, I would copy what I heard so I was throwing in the Italian and baby talk. 

When I spoke with my husband we would always speak to each other in English. One day he heard me having a conversation with his sister. He asked her "Why are you speaking to her that way?? She isn't a baby!" My sister-in-law said she thought it sounded cute. Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with his sister, but thankfully he had discovered this before it got way out of hand. I spent most of my time in the company of women so I had problems with masculine and feminine. I was used to speaking with women in the feminine, so I would address everyone in the feminine. This didn't always go over very well with men. I would struggle to correct myself.  

I realized my Arabic was improving when I was finally able to understand jokes and to tell jokes. And I could understand my father-in-law's subtle sarcastic sense of humor. Once my mother-in-law asked him "Hajj, can you buy two bags of flour?" and he took a sip of his tea and a long drag on his cigarette and replied "Do I look like I'm wearing my coat?" He always made me laugh. 

Libyans learn Egyptian Arabic from watching old Egyptian movies and programs on TV. They address Egyptians using their dialect, so Egyptians in Libya don't bother learning Libyan Arabic. Unfortunately,  I  never managed to understand Egyptian Arabic. Once an Egyptian tailor opened up a shop in our neighborhood. I decided I wanted to have something sewn with some fabric that I had stashed away. I went in the shop, but I couldn't understand his Egyptian Arabic and he couldn't understand my broken Libyan Arabic. In the end, I had to go home and bring my sister-in-law to help. I told her (in broken Libyan Arabic) what I wanted and she told the man using Egyptian Arabic. Back and forth until we were able to come to an understanding of what I wanted him to do. 

Recently a  friend sent me some online lessons for learning Libyan Arabic. It's really nice to see this as most  Arabic courses are either Egyptian or Levantine dialects. The first thirteen lessons are free, but then you have to pay to do the rest - there are over 150 lessons.  The rest of the course is a bargain. For only $25 (update: the price is $10 now) you get access to all the videos and audio files and there is a PDF of each lesson. 

If you are interested in learning Libyan Arabic, you can find the sample files and information for the course here: Free Libyan Arabic by Adel Sample Lessons. 

UPDATE: After posting this article I received a comment from Adel:
Thank you sooo much Khadija! We love your blog and have lowered the price for the whole course of 160+ videos and PDF's to Only $10 :) Whatever your reason to learn Arabic is, this simplified approach will assist you. Just a few minutes of study a day, and you will surprise yourself. Try these free lessons today to find out!
You will have access to download all the course videos, PDF's, audio files, and can view them just online as well. Thank you for your support!
Adel

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