Friday, November 02, 2007

Into the Second Week of Stay in Cairo

Today is the 1st of November 2007, the start of the second week of my stay in Cairo. I am now blogging away in the comfort of my temporary home watching Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets on satellite TV. My nice landlady, Mrs Nadia, helped applied the ADSL connection for me and it comes along with a wireless router providing a 512kps download speed. From now on, I will not need to take the long march to my office everyday to video call my wife. Hoo haa!

This morning, I took my sixth lesson in Arabic and I am half way through the level 1 text. The going is tough and learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA) concurrently can really be quite confusing. While both are Arabic, the description and pronunciation of many things are different in MSA vis-a-vis ECA. My strategy now is basically to focus on reading and writing for MSA and speaking for ECA. It's very much like learning Chinese for reading and writing and Hokkien for speaking.

So far, my progress has been quite good according to my tutors and Mr Raafat, the Managing Director of Kalimat. The plan now is for me to sit for the Intermediate Level test in early Feb 08 at the end of my language programme. For MSA (also known as Fursa), I am now able to recognise the alphabet in words quite accurately and I am working on the voweling, which can be quite complicated. I need lots of practice in writing and reading as well as building up my vocabulary quickly to enable me to move on to more meaningful Arabic reading.

Of the two, ECA (or Amaya) lessons are relatively more lively and fun with many exercises and conversations. To date, I've learnt basic greetings, some vocab, days of the week, months of the year, time, money, directions, prepositionsl, numbers and sequence, just to name the key ones. Yesterday, I managed to apply the 'taxi language' I learnt at class by directing a taxi from office to home. Tomorrow, I will do the same when I make my way to the Metro station nearby enroute to the Carrefour in Maadi. I will also try to call the laundry shop and get the man to come over to my place to collect clothes for laundry. I blog about my experiences along the way to share with everyone. Check out my Facebook photo album of Cairo for new photos.

PS: Please note that my transliterations are not the conventional ones commonly used.

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