I believe a lot of native teachers don’t appreciate dialects because this is what we were taught. Arabs are taught that the dialects are a cheap way to make ‘real’ Arabic less important, and that dialects are merely made-up languages whose origin is Classical Arabic. Whether this claim is true or not, we all tend to believe so. Another reason is perhaps because we are never taught our dialects. We acquire them from our parents, so we are usually not aware of their grammatical rules.

The Hifz (Memorization) and its retention and safeguarding in the chests is one of the prominent Sunnahs found in the lives of The Sahaaba and our Righteous Predecessors. This preservation and passing on of the recitation was done in the strictest of manners without letting any deviations or differences to creep in. The Rules of Recitation, i.e. Tajweed is a result of these efforts.


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Yes yes yes, I went through the same journey with MSA although as you say, after a year I did totally get the shape and grammatical structure of the language – just could barely speak a word! I then focused on Lebanese Arabic at a great language school in Beirut called Saifi – and now I can speak to an advanced level. I WISH more Arabic teachers would just give up on the MSA – whenever I speak about this issue to people it's always Arabic people who disagree and say NO you must learn MSA even when they themselves probably forgot all the grammar years ago!

Your article is spot on! I'm the son of an Arabic native speaker, but grew up in an English-speaking house. As a result, I grew up HEARING Palestinian Arabic and READING Qur'anic Arabic. Total disconnect. I went to college and took three semesters of Modern Standard Arabic. More disconnect! I did not move forward in TWENTY years toward fluency because I had low proficiency in THREE Arabics! I finally moved over to Palestinian Arabic to learn that there are THREE Palestinian Arabics: Mádani (urban, esp. in Jaffa and Jerusalem), Fellá7 (rural), and Bádawi (nomadic). All three are mutually intelligible, but one is pigeon-holed by other Palestinians depending on which Palestinian Arabic said person uses! I stuck with Mádani Palestinian Arabic and my proficiency skyrocketed. A couple of my own suggestions beyond your article: (1) get Arabic writing capability on your computer so you get away from transliteration sooner than later, (2) learn how to write in Arabic by writing English words using Arabic letters (by reading back English words with Arabic phonics rules, you'll develop an Arabic accent much faster that way), (3) think in triliteral roots (same as in Hebrew) and you'll remember words better, (4) learn early on how to use an Arabic dictionary by using the triliteral roots, (5) learn proverbs — that always impresses Arabs! I am most amused that that the Palestinian Israeli singer Mira Awad is teaching her fellow Israeli singer Noa Palestinian Arabic though Noa is the daughter of Yemeni Jews. DRAMATICALLY different Arabics!! 🙂
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