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Shams Ali

Professor Rogers

Writing 1010

31 August 2017

Arabic Literacy

Coming from an origin that has about 25 to 30 different dialects is very complicated because

about each city has its own dialect. These dialects also have an impact on reading and writing,

every city has a different system of writing which makes me feel like a foreign even when it’s

my home country. I come from the Middle East more specifically from Iraq, Baghdad, growing

up in Iraq was very hard because Iraq itself has about five dialects and that varies from city to

city. In 2005 due to war my family and I migrated to Jordan which wasn’t a very fun experience

because I had to learn their own dialect (urduni) and writing which I thought it was very difficult.

In 2007 I began to learn how to read and write in the most common dialect in the Middle East

which is called fosha and can also be called the language of the Quran.

Around 2007 my grandmother started teaching me the main dialect Fosha which made me

frustrated because I couldn't see the main importance of this dialect. I couldn't understand the

importance because we migrated to the U.S. and I thought english was just enough for me.

However, my grandmother had a different perspective and it was in order to keep practicing our

culture and to keep my identity I had to learn to write and read Fosha Arabic. At first she started

to teach me an hour a day and I kept trying to distract myself and not learn because I couldn’t see

the point of speaking Arabic in a country where it speaks English. After couple of months I

learned the alphabet which is called Ahruf, Ahruf was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever
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learned until today. In Arabic we have 28 Ahruf and most of them have the same sounds as

English letters but in Arabic we only write cursive and it starts from right to left. After learning

the letters I began to learn how to write them which was very confusing because each letter had

three different styles based on whether you are writing it in the first, middle, or end. For

example, In P1 this letter is a J and its written 3 different times beginning, middle, and end.

Personally this is where I struggled at most because it’s the same letter but it depends on its


After mastering the Arabic alphabets I personally took a step further and I started putting

those alphabets into complete words. The first word I was taught to write was “hello” which is

Asalam Alaykum, P2 shows the complete word. Learning to put these alphabets into words was

like a miracle for me because I didn’t think that I can accomplish such a hard task. My journey of

learning Arabic took about three years and I achieved writing and reading fluently. Along

reading and writing it taught me our culture because writing tends to express culture and

perspectives of Middle Eastern people, the flow of Arabic. I learned many interesting stuff of

where I come from and what differentiates us from different cultures. After learning Fosha I

wanted to learn more about my culture and religion. I started reading the Quran which has the

same alphabets but a different style which was very difficult and challenging. I started reading

the Quran by the age of 13 and It first took me about 15 minutes to read one page because the

writing style was very difficult. On P3 it shows an actual page of the Quran. The process of

reading the Quran took me about two months to get used to the writing style.

Learning Arabic wasn’t easy but my grandmother helped me from the start to end and I was and

still currently thankful. It gave me the opportunity to learn my own language and culture which
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is very helpful. As I was learning I started realizing that Arabic and English have some

similarities and one of those similarities is the vowels. In Arabic we have the exact same sounds

but not the same alphabets. When I started learning the vowels I realized connecting the two

languages together was an awesome experience because I started understanding arabic vowels a

lot quicker. After achieving the language of Fosha I found myself wanting to speak Fosha more

but I didn't have people that I can interact with. However, my family came to the U.S. and I

started using Fosha Arabic at home and I also made Middle Eastern friends that I can interact in

Arabic With them. Through time I started realizing the importance of my own language and I

also started thinking after completing my education I want to go back into a country that’s main

language is Arabic. I want to live in a country in the Middle East because I want to explore the

real culture and how their different perspectives changes the way they live. I want to live and

interact with people from my blood. There are so many things I want to do in my country, help is

all they need but no one is reaching out for them. The greatest thing to have is the main language

the country speaks so I can interact with the community.

I’ve achieved the language of Arabic and I’ve learned the culture behind the style of fosha

which is the language of the Quran. This journey at whole took about 5 years from starting the

alphabets and finishing the Quran. I would say the most difficult part is putting those alphabets

into a word because they have different styles based on places. There are lots of good ideas that i

have learned and the importance of keeping the language, culture, and religion to define my

personality and where i truly belong. Overall it was a great journey and a very good experience

for me. In result, This helped me talk in fluent with my family in Arabic fusha at home and

interacting with Middle Eastern people with confidence.

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