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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

He is Letting Go of Arabic

It finally hit me, and it is a strange feeling. My baby brother is losing his mother tongue. He was 4 years old when we moved to the US. Since then, his Arabic vocabulary has dwindled alarmingly until it reached rock bottom. I have noticed recently that he does not use a single word of Arabic when he converses. I am happy that he got to learn a new language and become proficient in it, but it feels like he lost something in return.
All of us, his siblings, speak Arabic fluently except for him. He does not know how to read or write it, and I am afraid that it will set a barrier between us.
Forgive us, brother, for not trying harder to teach you. I don't know if you will ever need to speak Arabic if you live here all your life, but I'd like to think that someday you will. I know that I am being selfish for asking you to master two language under such difficult circumstances... hey, I don't even speak English as good as you do, but I am afraid that one day you will confront us and ask "Why?".

I wonder, is it too late?


kinzi said...

Oh NO!!!! He needs that language!!! He won't really be able to delve into the beauty of being Arab if he doesn't speak it. Not to put pressure on you guys; and no, it's not too late, but he really needs to focus on it while he is still at home in the environment. Can't he come to visit Teta in Jordan? ;)

Jasim said...

Instead of wondering what will happen, you start teaching him Arabic, a bit at a time. I mean it's never too late. :)

Lilleez said...

The secret is that my family is the same way and we live in DUBAI!! ya3nee we have no excuse either... but my friends daughter is the same way and her mom told her in arabic:

khalas low mate7ki 3arabi, mabatroo7i tel3abi bel7adeega

she replied:
Ok finish mama i will only speak arabic..

Ya3nee how ironic, she could have answered in arabic but she replied in English!

Maioush said...

i know exactly what you mean, my brother is like that too, he understands Arabic really good, but he can't speak it, he can respond only in english, when we force him he ends up speaking Arabic, we made sure that he understands it, in case someday he went back home he won't feel different

7aki Fadi said...

It's not easy. Good luck you guys, we are having hte same issue with my daughter who was born here in Canada. I am trying my best to teach her, I bribe her with money in the piggy bank.. LOL

Lulu said...

Kinizi: I know. I am hoping we will remedy this.

Jasim: We tried before. We bought him books and started teaching him. He thought of it as a way of doing a double dose of homework.

lilleez: lol...

Maioush: My brother understands it too, but he does not speak it or read it.

7aki Fadi: Bribing huh?..sounds like a good idea ..lol


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