Nothing melts my heart so thoroughly as receiving a kind letter from a favorite author.
Recently, I suggested, kind readers, that you visit a link to a valuable resource. To a book that inspired me to learn Arabic well — Sugar comes from Arabic by Barbara Whitesides. It is as sweet as Arabic coffee. I encourage you to obtain a copy as early as humanely possible.
Select a tea or Arabic coffee and get ready to savor marvelous things. Fetch a writing instrument and some lined paper, or the back of an envelope. The book is comfortable to the eagerly flipping hand. Very often overlooked by lesser binders — it has a freely moving ring-binder format. Lay it open, lay it to one page. It doesn’t fall to the floor. It doesn’t require paper weights — a very important feature in a language book!
Discover a world where mere writing takes on the freedom and skill of the gymnast. A language a world away from the 26 offerings of the English you are reading now. Latin letters of Roman device (Latin Alphabet A-Z).
Did you know that a proper Latin alphabet possesses not the merest of minuscules? Have you observed that curved lines are quite literally ANATHEMA to the words of Latin? Writing with ALL CAPS connotes shouting in the language Troll.
Somehow I feel it likely that you are reading this while attached to the internet.
Might you have read this far, I admire your patience. Perhaps you’ve only now viewed this olde bloge o’ mine. I thank you for reading, and I’ll thank you again at the end of this post.
Roman numerals are now seen at the opening frames of older films, e.g. MCMIX (quite a number of famous Hollywood releases in 1939 (to have already given away conversion of MCMIX). The only other use is to promote a bowl of befouled fowl body parts in the cold cave of early February.
Proceed you now to several pages:
Mnemonics aids learning, it’s one way to hold onto fragile new knowledge while it attempts to land safely and securely in long-term memory.
Here I am quoting myself in a letter to Barbara —
Your kind letter has made my year 🙂 Thank you so much for reading my article. You never know just how far your words can travel.
I am writing a series on my discoveries in Arabic and I want to share how much Sugar Comes from Arabic helped me overcome the daunting challenge that mastering its script represented. Now I find myself enthralled by each encounter — from the unexpected thrill of gently pulling the pen along the paper rather than plowing into the paper, then immediately covering it up in the “normal” way that my left-handedness dictates in left-to-right English.
I taught German for many years and know how limited and mundane many methodologies simply are. Bringing language alive doesn’t just happen. My introduction to Arabic began with one of my Palestinian students. I still have the slip of paper that became my introduction. Finding your book was the next discovery that piqued my interest and resolve to keep at it.
Well it seems that I am already writing the next in that series of Arabic discoveries by composing this reply. So I return to the SaFaRi into the desert that is the blank page — a SaHaRa 🙂
Let’s check out another page:
Here’s a rhetorical question: Why do so many books on Arabic use small and grainy fonts?
Arabic script is a joy. Barbara Whitesides’ book is both beautiful and inspiring.
Thanks for reading.