Originally posted by shetline
I haven't had too much trouble with non-English sounds in other European languages. But the sounds of Arabic? Yikes! If there were one sound in Arabic like the "ch" in the German "ich", I could happily cope with that. But you start with two variants of that sound, each represented by a separate letter, one raspier than the other, and then each of those variants has a variant where you're supposed to be doing something constrictive with your throat or rounding your lips or whatever, which doesn't sound a whole hell of a lot different to me, but which results in two more letters in the alphabet.
Are you talking about the difference between Hah ( ح ) and Khah ( خ )?
Because there are two variants of those: the Khah ( خ ) is closer to the Spanish jota (as in jugar juntos) than to the German ch; while the Hah ( ح ) is pronounced from the throat.
Then there's the alotgether different category of the Ayin ( ع ) which is any vowel pronounced from the throat and has no similar sound in any European language, and of the Ghayin ( غ ) which sounds somewhat like the way the French pronounce their r and the Spaniards pronounce the second g in griego.
Back in the early days of the internets, when Arabic support was spotty on the Windows side of things, Roman script was used for e-mail and chat in transliterated Arabic, and digits were used to indicate those variations like 7 for Hah ( ح ) and 3 for Ayin ( ع ).
I'm not sure I'll be able to cope with having to clearly pronounce, and clearly hear as distinct, four different throat clearing noises. With my luck, I'll try out some phrase, trying to be friendly, and the lost-on-me distinction between one consonant and another will convert my amiable intentions into an insult to someone's entire family unto the tenth generation.
When I was around ten years old I didn't know how I'd cope with a language with so many ws and whs, and all those intangibe rs and when one had to adress both an individual person and a group of people as you. My parents who spoke five languages fluently and another dozen proficiently told me to be patient, listen, exercise, and improvise.
And since we had just moved to a country populated by hopelessly monolingual Anglophones I didn't have much of a choice.
And that was easy compared to French.
As for reading this stuff... When I look at Arabic script, I can't understand anything apart from perhaps how dylexics must feel. It's just a f*cking jumble of squiggles, damn it! I can look at the alphabet chart, look at whole words, look back at the chart, look back at the words -- and feel firmly convinced that the two things have nothing to do with each other and that the entire Arab world is just playing a joke on the infidels trying to learn this stuff.
Only consonnants are spelled out, vowels are only implied, and sometimes emphasised by adding an Alif ( ا ) for an aa sound or a Waw ( و ) for an oo sound. Moreover, each letter has three to four forms according to its position in a word: initial, medial, final, and isolate (for one-letter-words), and then of course there's the fact that several letters use basically the same glyph with different dots: ظ ط ت ب خ ح ج
Yes, it does get confusing, but no less that than b, d, q, p, n, u, etc.
It requires a certain effort but after a while one familiarises oneself with the basics and it gets easier.
Of course, since you are likely to learn Modern Standard Arabic you should be aeare that it is not an acutal spoken language, as Arabic-speakers are afflicted with diglossia: one uses a local vernacular for conversation and Modern Standard Arabic (back then it was called literary Arabic) for books, newspapers, school, and television.Mabrouk
for your studies.
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Hebrew (albeit non-fluently and retardedly taught) was a mainstain of my religious education, of course I grew up in an environment where Hanukah is really Chanukah,
Actually it should be prounounced Hanouca, with a Heth ( ח ) pronouced from the throat just like the Arabic Hah ( ح ). But many native Hebrew speakers misprounouce that as well.
Calligraphy is gone too.
[And my keyboard skills are so-so]