The 4 Cs of Growing The Love for Arabic Language in Your Child

As a father and an Arabic language teacher, I have come across the many challenges of teaching Arabic language to children. It is more than just imparting knowledge to the young mind of the child. There has to be a plan and strategy behind it; the delivery and execution has to be deliberate. Over the years, I have come to realize that there are a few crucial factors we need to take care of to help the child develop interest in Arabic and foster learning. I have determined these factors and summarised them into what I call the ‘4 Cs’.

 

14352036_1047690515284634_5345100692853114374_o

Children learning Arabic phonics at As-Souq Language Centre

 

Content: seek knowledge

The home is the child’s first school, and the parents their first teachers. Therefore, as parents, we need to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and skill to be able to aid the child at home as they learn the language. Ideally, we learn and then teach what we learn. It helps for us to understand Arabic so we can better appreciate the Surahs and prayers we recite along with the little ones.

However, if we cannot afford the time and do not have the ability to learn and teach, does that mean our children should also be denied of learning Arabic too? Of course not! We have seen how a 4-year old, Bella Devyatkina, from Russia, is able to speak 7 languages when her mum only knows one. She achieved this by having different teachers for each language. So, if we cannot teach them ourselves, the least we can do is to seek teachers for them.

 

Commitment: have specific goals

We must always begin any endeavour with the right intention. Set short and long term targets. Let me share some of our daughter, Nayla’s journey in learning Arabic. We started with songs and dance to expose her to Arabic literacy and by 18 months she could recite them all. Concurrently, we had basic conversations on a daily basis and by 24 months, she could already reply in Arabic. We also did vocabulary-building through the use of flashcards and puzzles, and by 36 months, her word bank has become extensive. Mashaa-Allah.

This experience is consistent with studies that say a child’s brain comes pre-wired to pick up languages. Thus, early exposure to a language will help them to master the language faster even if they were to properly learn it much later in their life, Insha Allah.

12002775_855477547839266_2913807859398536722_n

Children love learning when it is fun and interactive

Creavity: entice, engage, enrich.

I cannot stress enough the importance of playing for children and how playing can further stimulate and facilitate the learning of a new language, especially for one as ‘difficult’ as Arabic. Previously, I have shown examples of the activities Nayla did at home and in class at As-Souq. We used different learning tools, such as simple games, speech and drama, and also competitions between Nayla and me. We utilised play cards, magnets, sandpaper art, hijaaiyyah tiles. All this helped to spur her interest to learn the language and gave her motivation. When learning becomes fun, I assure you, the child will never want it to stop.

 

Consistency: have a routine, big or small.

The last, but of course, most important ‘C’ would be consistency. It is not effective to binge learn a language and plan different activities if the effort is not consistent. Start small. If you have seen our Surah recitation sessions before every night before bedtime. You will see how Nayla herself became excited and even wanted to pick the next Surah to read. It started with simple daily Duas before we eat, and before we sleep, and then we moved on to short Surahs.

Teach your child a new word or sentence every day or week. You decide, as parents, what is within your means to do. The important thing is to do it. Start somewhere. Start small. Be consistent. Insha Allah, the seed you sow today, will grow into a beautiful tree tomorrow.

 

 

There you have the 4 Cs to support the learning and grow the love of Arabic. May it be of benefit to you and your children. That said, if you are all motivated and geared up to embark on this wonderful journey to learn Arabic but still feel a bit unsure or are unable to begin it yourself, let As-Souq assist you.

5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Arabic

 

There are numerous reasons why learning the Arabic language is good for you. If you are already learning it, then great! If not, but you have considered doing so, then don’t hesitate. However, if you still need more motivation to spur you into taking that step to learn this beautiful language, then keep reading this article. Listed below are five reasons why you should learn Arabic.

 

shutterstock_120308626

The fifth most spoken language in the world

With over 400 million speakers worldwide, Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries with roughly 375 million of them being native speakers. These speakers are largely concentrated in the Middle East, but there are minority groups of native speakers throughout the world. When you study this language, you will get to step into the mind of the native-speakers, understand their culture and communicate with them in their own tongue. It is also an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.

 

Travel and be at home in the Arab World

Arabic is the native language in more than 20 countries with more than 300 million speakers. So, unlocking this language would make your travel to all these countries a richer and more colourful experience. Yes, the locals are more likely to converse in one of the several dialects. However, they still understand and can speak in Standard Arabic so you will be able to communicate with and be understood by the people around the region. Fortunately, Arabs are culturally a warm people. They are very friendly and welcoming, even to strangers. So, finding someone to practice with is not something you need to worry about.

 

Be part of the Growing Global Economy

The Arab region has an annual GDP of over 600 billion dollars. The growing Middle-East market is incentive enough if you are looking for new business opportunities. The rapidly growing population in the Arab region provides a huge export market for goods and services. Understanding the language and culture is critical to successfully navigate through the cultural nuances and different business practices of the locals. Also, The Arab business culture revolves largely around personal relationships. Knowing Arabic allows one to do business effectively and be at an advantage in the market.

All in all, there is a great demand for bilingual Arabic speakers. There are many excellent job opportunities out there in many fields such as, trade, education, finance and banking, journalism, translation and interpretation, foreign service and many other areas.

book-1283468_1920

 

A gateway into the Islamic world

It is the language of the Quran and the liturgical language of Islam. Islamic academic texts are mostly written in Arabic too. Hence, the Arabic script has practically been learned by more than 1 billion Muslims all around the world. The language itself has been studied and became the second language of almost 100 million non-Arab Muslims. By learning this language, it will help both Muslims and non-Muslims to better understand Islam and Muslim culture. Additionally, without Arabic, one will not be able to understand and appreciate the stylistic beauty of Quran.

 

 

 

 

Good for your brain

Learning a new language also gives neurological benefits. People who speak more than one language have higher levels of cognitive brain function than their monolingual counterparts. Switching between languages exercises your brain making you better at planning, problem-solving, and multitasking. It also helps boost your memory as you are required to do more remembering. In short, it makes you smarter.

 

And many more.

If you are already convinced, then take a deep breath and embark on a fascinating journey into the world of the Arabic language. May you have a fun and beneficial experience.

 

arabian desert

The Arabic Language: Origins

The Arabic language is one of the six official languages of the UN and the 5th most spoken language in the world; more than 400 million people speak this language, with at least 300 million being native speakers. Arabic is also the liturgical language of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe.

 

Although you may find speakers of the Arabic language across the world, they predominantly live in the Middle-east and the north African region. This is quite natural as Arabic is one of the Semitic languages: a family of languages which originated in Western Asia and North Africa. Other Semitic languages which are still spoken today include Hebrew, Aramaic, and Maltese. Of these, Arabic is the most eloquent due to its flexibility and richness in vocabulary, among other things.

 

Linguists and historians have attempted to trace the origin of the Arabic language. There are a few different versions as to exactly how the language came about. However, it is generally accepted that the birthplace of Arabic was in what is today Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it came about long before the birth of Prophet Isa. There is no way of confirming how far back in time the origin of this language came from.

 

As for the Arabic script, its birth can be attributed to the Nabataeans whose kingdom was established in the 2nd century BC. The Nabataeans had a writing system that used a cursive Aramaic-derived alphabet. Their script would eventually transform into the Arabic alphabet.

 

arabic nabataean script

The inscription, dated to about AD 265, is late Nabataean and shows signs of transitioning to the Arabic script.

 

The Arabic language was originally two languages: Old Arabic and Classical Arabic. Old Arabic traces its roots back to the southern parts of the peninsula, modern day Yemen. On the other hand, Classical Arabic was the language of the people in the central and northern parts of the Arabian peninsula. Despite being Bedouin tribes living in the harsh climate and desolate landscape of the desert, the Arabs spoke an exceedingly eloquent language. In the 6th century C.E, partly due to geopolitical shifts in the region, Classical Arabic supplanted Old Arabic as the dominant language of Arabia.

 

Furthermore, the Quran was revealed in the highly-developed language of the Quraysh, a merchant tribe in Mecca who trace their ancestry to the Prophet Ismail. The dialect that the Quraysh spoke was considered to be the most developed and purest form of Arabic; it was universally understood by other Arabs.

 

Together with the Quran, pre-Islamic Arabic poetry is considered the model for lexical semantics and Arabic grammar. On top of that, as history has shown, the spread of Islam has all but ensured the rise of Classical Arabic into prominence in the region, and its perpetual relevance in the world.