BBC Correspondent Learns Arabic In Damascus – And Fails!

There is an interesting article on the BBC News page detailing the experience of one of their correspondents in learning Arabic in Damascus. While I certainly applaud his efforts, I nevertheless have to remark on some inconsistencies in his article.

In the article, the author writes:

But however modest our achievements, the presence of foreign students does seem to please the Damascenes. “Tadrusus el lawra Arabiya – hunna?” they ask delightedly – “You’re studying Arabic – here?”

Now, I very much doubt that an Arabic native speaker from Damascus would have asked “Tadrusus el lawra Arabiya – hunna”. First of all, if the comment was supposed to be in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) / فسحى (fusHa), then the question should have been “(hal) tadrus(u) al-lugha al-3arabiyya hunna?”. Secondly, more probable, someone from Damascus would have asked in Damascene dialect “btedrus 3arabi hoon?”.

This faux-pas puts doubt on the author’s claim that he had “studied hard” during his stay in Damascus. Despite this, I recommend this article to those thinking about studying Arabic in Damascus. It is a beautiful city with mostly welcoming people and a far cry from the fanatical stereotypes perpetuated by the media.

The article can be found here.

One thought on “BBC Correspondent Learns Arabic In Damascus – And Fails!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn the Arabic script effortlessly, without need for rote memorization or hours of repetition.

Memory aids in the form of images make all letters stick in your brain..


Over 1400 Arabic Tattoo Designs based on 284 Arabic phrases - instant download!

This is the biggest Arabic tattoos collection around. Which design will you choose?


Free - Download "200 Arabic Words You Already Know" and increase your Arabic vocabulary painlessly.

Over 200 Arabic words that you can assimilate effortlessly.