No announcement yet.

Learning Algerian Arabic

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    'NOT WORTH PUTTNG INTO PRINT', it is thought.

    There is no mystery.

    Spoken Algerian is a mixture of all sorts of influences, which makes it almost impossible to isolate and put into written form (=codify). That's why it is so rare to find traces of it in print.

    In English speaking countries, the gap between spoken and written English isn't very big. In Arab speaking countries, it is gigantic (for various reasons). The two forms are almost distinct from each other. (Read about Arabic Diglossia if you're interested). They are like non-identical twins. Spoken Arabic is the 'ugly sister'.

    Formal written Arabic, on the other hand, is highly regarded and regulated by very strict rules of grammar. It is closer to the language of the Quoran, and because of that it isn't allowed to change much. It is the form used by all Arabs in schools and in print in general.

    In contrast, spoken Arabic and other spoken dialects are not officially regulated. So, they evolve naturally and are free to change and absorb bits of other languages. In Algeria, French influence is huge. It could not be helped. This produced hybrid words and a mixture of Arabic and French, often spoken in the same sentence ( a fascinating phenomenon!). It is similar to Spanglish used by Mexican Americans.

    So, how do you learn Algerian 'Arabic' ?

    From the horse's mouth! You just pick it up from around you if you mix with Algerians. At best, for practical purposes, you will only find phrase books, and even those are rare.

    The best thing you can do is to compile your own collection of useful words and phrases. Write them in English and ask people in this forum to translate them for you. It'll be fun.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by BACK2MYROOTS; 23 September 2009, 20:38.


    • #17
      Hi to all,

      I can agree with what was said from before is best to learn the langeuage in the country or learn it like a child by listening and repeating what you hear from your surrounding.

      We are married for more than 8yrs now and we are a couple since 1997. I don't speak derdja (algerian) perfectly but I understand a lot and can express myself (like a 4 yr. old child ).

      It is a great advantage if you can talk to the family of your husband - otherwise u feel a little bit like an alien if you are with the family and don't understand. Algerians have a great sense of humor and are laughing a lot - I am curious and always want to know what is about - impossible without language knowledge.

      So keep on trying - it is worth it!



      • #18
        Got to persevere!

        Originally posted by Hala View Post

        It is a great advantage if you can talk to the family of your husband - otherwise u feel a little bit like an alien if you are with the family and don't understand. Algerians have a great sense of humor and are laughing a lot - I am curious and always want to know what is about - impossible without language knowledge.

        So keep on trying - it is worth it!

        I couldn't agree with you more HALA.

        Quite often, what makes things impossible is our attitude and prejudices or preconceptions. True, some languages are easier for some people than others, but ALL languages are 'learnable'.

        The benefits of learning another language, especially when the motives and motivation are there, are enormous. Language doesn't just convey the meaning of the words used in a conversation. It projects social, psychological and cultural meanings too. It can signal warmth, acceptance and respect of the other culture, and even your identity, level of education, manners and much more.

        If you speak to your mother-in-law in French, beside the fact that she may not understand you, you are missing the opportunity to say ' I have made the effort to learn to talk to you in your own language as your equal' , and I want to embrace your way of life and culture (without denying own).

        Only a few sentences will do the trick.

        And, if you make mistakes, don't worry; you'll sound CUTE.


        • #19
          Yes you are so right.

          Your family will love you even more ....only for the try.


          • #20
            learn french...


            • #21
              And what's wrong with learning to speak Algerian Arabic, or Berber? What I would say is that French would also be useful, but not instead of Algerian lingo !! For Goodness sake why are we so ashamed of our language (s)? Why is French so damn better?! It isn't. Period.




              • #22
                Learning Arabic by an English-Speaker

                This is my first post - I wanted to add things from the point of view of a native English-speaker who speaks Arabic.

                I studied Arabic at university for years (ans sweated blood and tears with standard Arabic grammar). Learning Arabic opens unimaginable doors - it's worth wrestling with weak verbs and the hamza rules just to see a face light up when you come out with something in Arabic. Hardly anyone bothers... so the fact that someone is interested enough to make the effort is refreshing to say the least.

                Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), as "formal Arabic" known in English, is difficult. It's amazingly beautiful, but as a language that's not spoken on a day to day basis, I find it a bit cumbersome for communication. A joke in MSA just doesn't have the same oomph, and buying a bread at the baker's in MSA would be kind of wierd. No one would bat and eyelid, but it kind of feels heavy.

                The advantages of learning darija (dialect) is that gramatically it's much easier. The problem is learning Maghribi dialects in an English-speaking country. Almost impossible. As someone said, there are few resources in French - the Norbert Tapiero book is a bit old school style, but with Algerian dialect there's so little choice, you can't afford to be fussy...

                Even though immersion is the best technique, I always needed some kind of resource on paper to check things --- there are SO many things that native speakers can't explain (think of how you'd explain how to use the present perfect tense in English to someone learning English ....)

                As the French sources cited earlier are pretty much all there is on Algerian darija - I'd go for a basis in Moroccan darija, which has a lot more learning resources. The two dialects are quite different, but definately fully mutually understandable. So you could start with Moroccan, then do the necessary tweaking tio convert it into Algerian once you have a base. I recommend the Moroccan Arabic series (grammar and dictionary) published by Georgetown University. If you speak Spanish, there are loads of resources in Spanish for Moroccan Arabic - let me know if you're interested.

                Lastly, if you're interested in a course, I know of really, really good Moroccan courses in Spain (Casa Árabe) and Fez (ALIF).

                Bear in mind that practicing Arabic for foreigners in Algeria is hard, people tend to respond to you in French, for a variety of reasons. You really have to insist with people to get them to respond in Arabic...

                Good luck!!


                • #23
                  A bit of experience in Portland, OR.

                  Hi all,
                  I do agree with pretty much of what Edo said, and I relate to a little experience I had with native English-speakers. In fact, I had the chance to teach Arabic in the USA, last year. Actually, I'm to be an English teacher; they recruited me because I have some experience in teaching, I speak English, I am a native speaker of Arabic and because I am Algerian.
                  I had one class of first-year students, and it was about MSA, and a second class that dealt with the Algerian dialect. It was called Spoken Algerian Arabic. As its name indicates, it was mainly conversational. My supervisor had requested that I just make them speak in Arabic with an emphasis on the Algerian dialect. So, of course, they had to have studied MSA so that I explain everything in Arabic and avoid translation.
                  Back to what Edo said, Moroccan Arabic helps quite a lot in learning the Algerian one, mainly because of the teaching/learning material and resources. Most learners, if not all, need "some kind of resource on paper" to refer to, and that's what made my task harder. The only textbook we used had an inappropriate content (read: complex texts with no choice of everyday life conversations and activities). You can find it here: Spoken Algerian Arabic.
                  Even the Internet didn't offer any simplified material that I could adjust to their needs. I had to come up with simple topics and design some basic tasks or just teach them how to formulate questions and answer them. The only website I was lucky to find, and which contained basic stuff, was: Darja Projects. It is still active, but it seems that nobody added content to it. I, personally, planned on helping improve the content but still can’t focus on that for the moment.
                  Now, I would say: Yes, native English speakers can successfully learn Algerian Arabic, but…they need some other background. This means that, the one student who talked to me with ease using the Maghrebi dialect was the one who lived in Morocco for a while! There are loads of similarities in both dialects, and because he already got emerged into the Moroccan one, he was able to understand quite a lot of what I said. Writing was used only to explain some grammatical aspects on the board. Moreover, this same student masters transliteration, and it helped him learning (in distant communications) when there was no fixed code in Arabic!
                  As for the other students, they already spoke MSA (at least). They had some difficulties (mainly with the speed), but I just had to slow down and be patient with them. They succeeded in formulating sentences and exchange ideas, but needed some MSA to support their thoughts.
                  To cut a long story short, there’s not a huge deal of grammar to learn in order to communicate in the Algerian dialect. What one needs most of is vocab’. So, collecting some phrases and expressions at first and practicing their pronunciation is what I recommend to get used to the rhythm and intonation that Algerian speakers use.
                  I hope this helps a bit. Note that this is a summary of my experience. If you have questions, feel free to ask.


                  • #24

                    well there is no something called algerian arabic there is algerian arabic accent as egyptian or syrian or iraqi and so on and in algeria everybody talk algerian arabic accent also berber in a lot of places and algerian arabic accent is e littel different from north to south or este to west but we do underestand eachothers no problem so if somebody like to learn algerian accent there is no school or center for that just by being here with people it's just a spoken language


                    • #25
                      My Husband speaks, reads and writes, French also.
                      I understand more then i can speak... (We are married since 2006)
                      But my Algerian still is not that good. I think it could be better.
                      I can read and write arabic a little... I teached myself!
                      First i started memorizing the arabic alphabet and then it just came.
                      But not fluent...
                      Well im still learning.. I must say our Children could speak alot better two if they would hear more algerian at home...


                      Unconfigured Ad Widget