Just stop now and go back to Spanish

Originally posted 2 July 2009

Last night I made a shocking and horrifying realization: Amiyya and Fusha are two separate languages. And all these years spent carefully memorizing the vocabulary and mastering the grammar of Fusha hasn’t gotten me any closer to becoming fluent in the language. Because this Fall, when I commence my study of Amiyya, I’m going to have to start all. over. again.

Before I confuse you too much, let’s get this out of the way: ‘amiyya’ is the colloquial Arabic–or so they told us in school. Actually it’s the spoken language, which they also told us in school. But what they didn’t tell us was that ‘amiyya’ is a whole new language. Like there aren’t just ‘some’ differences in grammar and ‘some’ differences in vocabulary. No, there are ‘some’ similarities.

Fusha (not foo-sha. Foos-Huh), by the way, is completely ridiculous. Fusha literally means “the most eloquent” and the rules and much of its vocabulary are derived from the Qur’an. But because back 1500 years ago there was no such thing as a ‘satellite’, because indeed there was no such concept as a spherical Earth, the guys in charge of making up new words came up with “manufactured moon.” If I may just ask, WTF? This is the language I’m learning.

The past two days in class we have been going over vocabulary words for all the furniture in the house. We’ll be like [word for couch] and he’ll be like ah, yes. Also, in Amiyya [word for couch] is [entirely different word for couch]. I have a list of 63 words and 59 of them are completely different words in amiyya. The other four may–probably do–have amiyya equivalents, but I missed them because I didn’t write fast enough.

So if any of you are considering studying Arabic, just don’t. Just stop now and go back to Spanish.  Because dang, you will never learn Arabic.

You may also like