Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kids and Arabic

My husband is driving me crazy with this. Every few weeks he will explode about this. My son does not speak Arabic…ya weelli…no more English TV, no more English books, no more English games. I want everything in Arabic.

I bought lots of Arabic books from Jordan, but you can read them so many times before we both get sick of them. The library does not carry Arabic kids books. I have bought sindibad, ifta7 ya simsim, bakar dvds, but you can watch them so many time. Sindibad is too violent and they talk in fosha(classic Arabic) Arabic, ifta7 ya simsim only hold their attention for few minutes and again it is in fosha , and Bakar is in Egyptian, the hard to understand accent. Even if we did have a satellite dish, there are hardly any kids shows on, and not a lot of things I would want a 5yo and a 2.5yo to watch.

And Arabic games on the computer?? Hahaha… there are none. I only found one thing that teaches kids Arabic, it cost $70, and my son was into it for a couple of weeks before he learned all the animal names, and the fruits and now he does not want it anymore. A lot of American and Canadian TV channels websites have kids games, like PBS kids, tree house, etc. But none of the Arabic channels websites have anything for kids. I wonder why! So it is not like I have all those Arabic resources and I’m keeping my kids away from them. But even if they did, it is all in fosha Arabic. I bought them few Arabic sounding toys, and they are all by the voice of a very sleepy old man. Not very catchy!

When I first came to Canada, all the kids my age would not speak to me in Arabic. We do not know how to speak Arabic they said. Well now so many years later all of them speak perfect Arabic. Their parents talked to them in Arabic most of the time, and eventually they got comfortable enough to speak it, as they got older. They always understood Arabic and could speak it if they tried even back then.

So now I have to watch every word that comes out of my mouth, no English, only Arabic. It is very hard, since it is easier to express myself in English. I cannot teach my 2.5yo the ABC because it is English. I do not know the alph ba’a ta’a and I could careless if my kids know it now. And when you have a son who has a speech delay due to the two-language thing, you want him to talk anything, English, Arabic I could careless!

My husband is always saying we have to go back to Jordan. It is the weekly whine. The kids will have to speak Arabic when we go there. So chill out my dear husband. Although everyone in Amman talked to our kids in English when we were there this past summer. Everyone wants to show off their English, so they all speak to kids in English. Which drove my husband off the wall. Even my mother in law; she only knows about five English words was talking to the boys in English sometimes. It was hard for them to comprehend the fact that although zozo would answer them in English, he understands everything in Arabic.


Palforce said...


When I was in the states, I bought them grandizer and adnan wa lena, and sent them to Islamic school.

It was forbidden for anyone to speak in English at home. Because They pick up English easily from T and other kids.

And they spoke Arabic. Then I moved back to Jordan, now they are 5 & 3.

From experience I noticed this trick works until they go to school then they speak English and forget Arabic no matter how hard you try.

The most important thing I guess is for the parents to speak Arabic, if they don't it wont work.

Good Luck,


Sam said...

khaled, the best way for the kids to speak arabic is to live in arabic country..we speak to our kids in arabic..but english is so much easier and so much so not looking forward to the day when i have to teach him arabic grammer and writting...

No_Angel said...

Ok this is funny, am just judging from my nieces and nephews here.
The ones in the US speak better arabic than the ones in Saudi Arabia hehe
thats really funny to me that ur dealing with the same thing
Actually hmm my nephew goes to to play some games that would help tho it aint not PBS website.
In general as long as they speak arabic at home or hear it constantly they will pick it up.
but rigidly restricting it to english only or arabic only will make them despise the language b/c it makes them different.

Sam said...

no_angel my son does speak more arabic than his cousin living in saudi arabia....she speaks a mix of english and philepene...:)
thanks for the website...:)

Omar said...

I know what you mean. The best way I think is to get arabic satellite stations. They have the odd childern program that's not in fos7a arabic.

At home, I don't respond to my 7 yr old brother if he speaks to me in English. He now knows to only speak in Arabic to me.

I think a month long visit to Amman will fix the problem of speaking arabic. I have relatives here who were since they were practically born, and when they went back to Syria they picked up the langauge in no time...

العاب said...

I found this site very informative...... Through this site i wanna tell u about my site which is about games..
plz check it out u ll have fun...
Thanks u.

Mostafa said...

I can`t travel to my country because of my work , and i can`t let my child travel alone, but i wanted him to talk Arabic at home, surfing in the internet,i found this website

i send a mail to the tutor, and he seems a good one, my child told me i will try the first lesson because it is free, then he will decide..