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  • Writer's pictureLayali Eshqaidef

Authentic Materials for Learning Arabic

Learning Arabic? Let us help you with a starting point on finding authentic materials about the Arab culture. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), "Authentic materials provide real-life examples of language used in everyday situations." Rather than listening to a lecture about the Arab culture, or reading endless texts about it, simple activities such as viewing and interpreting pictures, videos, newspaper clippings, infographics, etc. from a country that speaks the target language can provide a considerable amount of linguistic and informational input for the L2 learner.

Dabke and more: the description of this video says that it was at a neighborhood celebration of "Tawjihi" passing. Tawjihi in Jordan is the last year of high school; the tests at the end of this year determine what a person can and cannot study in college and which university/college they can attend based on their percentile. It is a BIG deal when any family has a child doing "Tawjihi" as this person becomes the center of the family throughout that school year in that everyone tries to help her/him study hard to pass.

For the majority of families whose boys are the first generation to go to college, passing usually results in street celebrations like this one. They rent tents, lights, speakers, etc. from special event rental companies and most of the neighborhood men and boys are expected to show up to congratulate the person who passed and his family. It is not as big of a deal when it's a girl, although smaller, indoor celebrations are planned and observed in some families.

The highlight of the "Tawjihi season" is when the percentile results are posted (they used to be published publicly in national newspapers, but lately they started posting them online for each family to check privately with a password), you will know that your neighbors' kid passed if you hear gun shots in the air the moment the family finds out. News also travels quickly by word of mouth, usually via kids playing outside in the streets, but now also via cell phone texts, social media, etc. and most people are super curious to know the result of each Tawjihi person in their extended family and neighborhood.

The YouTube channel that posted this video "Aamiya Arabiya" has a lot of authentic videos and raw footage showing the Arab culture unfiltered, unedited, unscripted, and just purely natural as you would experience it for yourself as a visitor. You may want to view a video more than once. The first time may be overruled by your tendency to understand the differences and context. The second time, you may start to notice similarities (the 5Cs) and familiar language, products, and practices. Challenge yourself to recognize at least one word or phrase in the target language and find out its meaning and usage.

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