root: ف-ش-ل / noun / definition: failure
If you’ve studied Al-Kitaab, you’ll have learnt the word (well, one of the words) for failure: فَشَل.
But if we take a look in some dictionaries for فشل, above “to fail”, we find the primary definitions of “to lose courage” and “to despair”.
This got me thinking about the concept of failure , particularly when it comes to language learning.
Arabic, when you start out, can seem quite intimidating. I think a lot of that is down to the new writing system—it’s not a hurdle that English-speakers encounter when we learn Italian or Turkish, for example.
And the rhetoric of Arabic being a “difficult” language to learn doesn’t help either in making learners feel less overwhelmed.
But from the word فشل, we learn that failure doesn’t mean having to re-memorise words that you thought you’d memorised years ago, nor is it struggling with الإضافة despite countless explanations, nor is it having to look up 50 new words on a single page of text.
The essence of failure is failing to try. It’s when we lose courage in the face of the challenge, and despair in making progress.
Amazing what a dictionary entry can do for your mindset.
And there’s no need to feel overwhelmed when you have so many resources at hand: check out my grammar explanations or step-by-step translations to boost your confidence, or peruse my other linguistic observations to spark your own reflections.
I’ll see you on my next post!
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