I’m constantly cycling through new Levantine Arabic resources, and each month I want to update you on what’s out there.
I know that when you’re busy like you are, it can feel like there are never enough resources available for you to immerse in and enjoy.
Don’t even sweat it. I’ve done the work for you.
Here’s my daily study schedule + a curated list of the best Levantine Arabic resources for you to use this month, February 2022.
My Daily Schedule
Right now, as I settle into my new job and schedule, I’m keeping things simple, yet consistent.
- As soon as I wake up, I do Anki cards. This is annoying because I’m really trying to reduce screen time overall, and I don’t like a screen being one of the first things I see each day, but it just is what it is. If I wake up early enough, I read a bit before doing Anki and just doing that actually makes me feel so much better. I realize I just need more analog experiences in my life. Still, I’m committed to early morning Anki, because as soon as I get out of bed and start my day, Anki is the farthest from my mind and I will forget to do those daggon notecards.
- Sometimes, while eating breakfast, I watch a few minutes of a TV show. I find that if I start my morning listening to Arabic, I can keep it in my mind during the day more. I’m working from home right now, but on the days that I commute to work, I use the commuting time to listen to a show (Audio only! Y’all please don’t start watching TV in your cars and blaming me for the accidents. My insurance aint that good.) or a podcast.
- Before bed, I watch two episodes of a TV show. This TV show never has subtitles, so I have to actively listen and learn new words. Right now, I’m not even jotting down too many new words/sentences to add to Anki, I’m just enjoying having the language and story flow over me.
What I’m Watching: Arabic: الدخيل / Turkish: İçerde / English: Insider (Lebanese Dialect)
Show Synopsis: A story of two brothers torn from each other. Now on the opposite sides of the law, brothers Karam and Majd are put against each other, unaware of their fraternity.
Last month, a reader named Michael emailed me and suggested I try to watch dubbed Turkish dramas, starting with this one, الدخيل.
I took him up on the suggestion, and I’m so glad I did, because for many months, I hadn’t found a Syrian or Lebanese show that inspired me. الدخيل has so many plot twists that I am truly invested in the show now.
Beware: There are 130+ 45-minute episodes. So if you start this show, you’re in for the long haul. But from an Arabic-learning perspective, I personally love that about shows from the MENA region.
Because there are so many episodes, there are thousands of hours of opportunity to immerse in Arabic without having to find a new show to watch.
Also, the language used in dubbing is a lot more clear and straightforward than non-dubbed content, which makes it a relatively easy listening experience.
I also appreciate this easy listening because after a long day at work, I don’t always have the energy to watch something where I have to strain my ear to understand every other word.
The caveat of watching dubbed content is that you cannot read anyone’s lips.
On the flip side, you become an amazing listener.
What I’m Reading: Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles translated in Levantine Arabic (Syrian Dialect)
Book Synopsis: At Baskerville Hall on the grim moors of Devonshire, a legendary curse has apparently claimed one more victim. Sir Charles Baskerville has been found dead. There are no signs of violence, but his face is hideously distorted with terror. Years earlier, a hound-like beast with blazing eyes and dripping jaws was reported to have torn out the throat of Hugo Baskerville. Had the spectral destroyer struck again? More important, is Sir Henry Baskerville, young heir to the estate, now in danger? Enter Sherlock Holmes, summoned to protect Sir Henry from the fate that has threatened the Baskerville Family. As Holmes and Watson begin to investigate, a blood-chilling howl from the legendary hound of the Baskervilles is poised for yet another murderous attack.
I’ve been sitting on this announcement for a looooong time, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share this project.
For many months now, I’ve been working with a team of translators to have English-language books translated into Levantine Arabic, so that we can finally, once and for all and for always have… BOOKS and AUDIOBOOKS.
It has pained me how long we’ve all been forced to try and learn Levantine without having any reading resources.
Honestly, I’d predict that this lack of reading resources is the #1 reason why most people (including myself!) have faced major setbacks or plateaus acquiring Arabic.
I’m making it my mission to change that.
We started this project with Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles because it’s an absolute classic and probably the most loved of all Sherlock Holmes novels.
And to make it easy to read: Each page of the book is bilingual, so you’ll be able to read the English and the Arabic together.
And most importantly, there will be an audiobook!
I mean what else could you really want?
I’m currently reading through our final proofs before the book’s release in March.
If you want to stay in the know about this book, scroll to the bottom of the Marhabtain homepage and make sure you’re added to my email list, because the folks that are subscribed will be the first to know!
What I’m Listening to: مسيطره by Lamis Kan (I know she’s Syrian and I think this is the Syrian Dialect)
This is just a fun badass anthem about a woman dominating over her lover.
Even if you don’t know what it’s saying, the song is a bop and will get you shaking your bum bum.
For a translation of the lyrics, you can look here.
I think I’m going to memorize all the lyrics, and take myself back to early-internet, pre-Youtube days, when I had a binder full of lyrics of the latest N’Sync or Backstreet Boys song, and would spend all night memorizing the lyrics for fun.
You gotta keep spicing up your Arabic study, you know?
Staying committed is all about finding fun again and again, and never taking anything too seriously. Or else, you burn out.
My goal for the next month:
As I’m still settling into my new job and life, my goal for the next month is simply to re-establish my Arabic routine that I lost over the past few months of so much change.
The aim will be only to maintain my skills rather than grow them. The one change I’d like to implement is weekly speaking practice sessions on iTalki.
Next month, I’ll update you on how that goes.