Distance and Perspective

بُعْد root: ب-ع-د / noun / plural: أَبْعاد / definition: distance, dimension So I’m back from my one-week solo trip to Istanbul which was perfect on all fronts. To feel so immersed in history, culture, spirituality… and to be there with my thoughts alone… was simply unbeatable. With every step I took through the palaces,Continue reading “Distance and Perspective”

Master’s, Completed

التَّسليم root: س-ل-م / verbal noun of form II / definition: submitting, submission Yesterday I submitted my dissertation and, with it, completed my master’s degree in Advanced Arabic! The dissertation deadline was actually today, so I wasn’t scrambling to finish like I thought I might be. I realised I was thankfully cruising through to submissionContinue reading “Master’s, Completed”

A Dissertation, More Poetry, and Moving Forward

نِهاية root: ن-ه-ي / noun / definition: end, finish This year has felt long in many ways, but as I approach my dissertation’s September deadline, I feel as though I’m being outpaced by time. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit too laid-back about my dissertation until now (as panic starts to tap urgently on myContinue reading “A Dissertation, More Poetry, and Moving Forward”

Leaving Amman

مُغادَرة root: غ-د-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: leaving The sun, the great balcony view, the sleepy Ramadan atmosphere… all of that is behind me now, as I type this post from my home in London, where it has been grey and cloudy (or maybe just metaphorically?) since my return.

Immersed in Amman

اِنْغِماس root: غ-م-س / verbal noun of form VII / definition: immersion There must be something in the air in Amman that is infusing me with wakefulness—after walking around downtown Amman late last night, having an almost-all-nighter in our apartment, and sitting through intense classes from 9am-3:30pm today, I really should be more tired atContinue reading “Immersed in Amman”

To Amman!

سَفَر root: س-ف-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: travel Apologies in advance for a very tired post (forgive any typos!) but I’ve spent the first half of the day travelling by train and tube for over three hours (with a packed-to-the-weight-limit suitcase and two bags) and the rest shopping for home decorContinue reading “To Amman!”

Affinity to Quadriliterals

اِنْجِذاب root: ج-ذ-ب / verbal noun of form VII / definition: affinity, attraction I have such an affinity to Arabic quadriliterals (four-letter roots). Are there really that many in the dictionary that they can’t be ignored, or are my eyes just drawn to them whenever they’re present on the page? Either way, I usually taskContinue reading “Affinity to Quadriliterals”

One Term Down… And a Few New Languages

اِمْتِحان root: م-ح-ن / verbal noun of form VIII / plural: اِمتِحانات / definition: exam As of earlier today, I’ve officially finished all of my Arabic exams for the first term! Woo hoo! I have to say, the energy I’ve managed to build up since that gruelling four-hour drive to get to university in SeptemberContinue reading “One Term Down… And a Few New Languages”

Academic Pursuits

مَسْعى root: س-ع-ي / noun / plural: مَساعٍ / definition: pursuit, endeavour It’s been over a year since my last update about my language learning journey, where I wrote about all the uncertainties surrounding my return to the formal study of Arabic. And the reason I haven’t given any updates until now is that myContinue reading “Academic Pursuits”

Is Motivation Enough?

دافِع root: د-ف-ع / active participle of form I / plural: دَوافِع / definition: incentive, motive I think it’s now been over eight months since my last Arabic lesson at university, which feels very odd to think about. It’s almost felt like I’ve just been on a long summer break this whole time, with thatContinue reading “Is Motivation Enough?”

The Dialect Dilemma

مُعْضِلة root: ع-ض-ل / noun / plural: مُعضلات or مَعاضِل / definition: dilemma Imagine studying a language for years in a classroom. You can give presentations and write essays in that language (with moderate reliance on the dictionary), and you can read newspaper articles and understand the news (with, realistically, slightly more reliance on saidContinue reading “The Dialect Dilemma”

The Hardest Advice to Give… And Take

نَصيحة root: ن-ص-ح / noun / plural: نَصائِح / definition: (piece of) advice The hardest advice to give is probably the one that you have to give yourself—which is why I have (…reluctantly) forced myself to write this out and confront the truth eyes-to-screen.

How Should I Begin?

بِداية root: ب-د-ء / noun / plural: بدايات / definition: beginning, start Starting is always the most difficult part, really: whether writing a blog or learning a language. Thankfully, the days of using flashcards to learn the Arabic alphabet (and practising pronouncing ع and ح until my throat ached) are tucked away around five-years-deep inContinue reading “How Should I Begin?”