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The Lernen to Talk Show | Season 4, Episode 1: We are in Jordan!

April 25, 2017

I had fun making the Lernen to Talk Show in Germany. So I’m doing it again, this time in Jordan. I hope you like it. Here’s Episode 1.

Note: This time around, subtitles are displayed via YouTube, so click “CC” for the subtitles. Click the little gear icon to switch between English or Arabic subtitles.

0:11 – This was filmed about 30 minutes after I landed in Jordan.

0:31 – “alhamdulillah” – you’re gonna hear this word a whole heck of a lot this season. It means “praise be to God”, but it’s used in all sorts of situations. Here it pretty much means the same thing as “I’m doing well”, but I like keeping the direct translation there because I think it says a lot about the culture here.

0:35 – I’m shocked that he understood what I was trying to say here.

0:45 – What little Arabic I go on to display in this video is the remnants of what I had learned in the summer of 2008, when I spent 6 weeks in Amman taking an Arabic class and an Islamic history class at Princess Sumaya University for Technology. Sadly I didn’t make any Lernen to Talk Show videos back then… I hadn’t had the idea yet! The only YouTube record of my time then was this video of me badly interpreting a Badly Drawn Boy song… which, incidentally, also features the voice of Mohammed, my guest in this episode, at the very end!

1:01 – By now I’ve displayed pretty much all the Arabic I knew coming into this.

1:09 – Mohammed literally just said nahnu”, and I repat “nahna” back to him. I’d like to think this is more on account of the fact that I just got finished with a 16 hour journey from Chicago.

1:25 – Here I’m trying to distinguish between using the article “al” before words… “Jordan” has a “the” in front of it in Arabic, but Amman doesn’t…

1:31 – …and when said after certain prepositions, like “fee”, a contraction is made. Which is why Mohammed says what sounds like “fill”, which, when separated, would be “fee” + “al”.

1:44 – As the old talk show host saying goes, “ask what you know!” Right?

1:51 – Qusai nailed it. I was trying to say “I’m happy”.

2:19 – Just like in Spanish, you gotta add a plural ending to adjectives you’re using to describe more than one person at once. In Arabic, that ending sounds like “-oon” (at least in this case).

2:35 – I gotta agree with them here.

2:52 – Qusai is trying to keep things in “formal” Arabic here, by correcting my use of the word bukra to instead use ghedden to say “tomorrow”. What he doesn’t realize is that in my head bukra meant “after”… but of course I was wrong. Bukra means “tomorrow” in Jordanian Arabic.

2:57 – To my American ear, the letter غ in Arabic sounds kind of like the rolled “R”… In fact it’s supposed to be pronounced totally differently, coming more from the back of the roof of your mouth, not from a fluttering of the tongue. Mohammed was hearing my mistake, even though I wasn’t. That’s what’s going on here.

3:05 – Annnnd we’re already using the future tense.

4:20 – Masalaama, is how it should be pronounced… I’m embarrassed about how long I went on saying this way.


I hope you like watching this new season as much as I like making it!

Keep lernen,

-Mickey

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