Word for the Travel Wise (01/05/06)

Arabic is by far one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. Moroccan Arabic is the hardest. From what I’m told, their dialect is fairly problematic even for other Arabic language speakers. Knowing all this I decided I wanted to tackle, defeat, speak, shout and even sing in Moroccan Arabic. (I think I was also attempting to learn Icelandic, Hindi, Farsi, and Spanish in the process. Bad, I know.) What does the world know? With the right amount of time and dedication I would surely be speaking in two weeks time. Quite the dreamer right?

Today’s word is a Moroccan word:

wafin – How are you?

According to my online language exchange friend Sanae, the word is not standard Arabic. It is a Moroccan slang used commonly among young people. Anyone arguing this as being non-beneficial needs to speak with my pal or seek an exchange partner from the country on their own. (In fact, this could be one of the most useful words I’ve provided to date, but there are so many more to come!) My Language Exchange is an excellent site in making friends across the globe while zeroing in on the areas that give you the most trouble in your language of choice. While most services are free, contacting other members does cost a very small fee.

Other learning tools for free standard Arabic online include this Learn Arabic site which has some remarkable lessons. The audio sounds a bit off for me, but they’ve got both the Naskh script (easy to read when learning the alphabet) and the Latin spelling of the letter. Babel Arabic is another good source. Planet Edu has an online listing of Arabic schools all over including a couple in Fez, Morocco. Lastly, for puchase and a quick pocket guide there’s the Lonely Planet Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook.