Posts from January 2016

Eight months to be a good expert

January 5, 2016

tumblr_ns8w23h5cE1ron07wo1_1280Before starting this new semester of arabic I took a few tutoring sessions. On the second to last session I asked my teacher how much a student should study daily. He said: It depends, if you want to be an expert, 6 hours a day, if you want to be good, 2 hours a day and if you just want to get by, half an hour per day.

I know that when it comes to arabic grammar I’d like to be an expert, and I’d like to become an expert within the eight month span that I’m in my Arabic intensive program. Despite my laziness and inconsistencies, I love arabic grammar. Every difficulty is extremely worth it once you reach some level of understand and can put it in to practice. One of my main goals in studying Arabic is to have a first hand interaction with the Quran. Knowing even the small level of Arabic that I’ve learned has opened little windows of understanding that I’ve never had before, depths of meaning that I can only hope to explore and know I never can without the key of grammar.

When it comes to speaking I know I’d like to be good, but expert level doesn’t seem necessary and the time constraints aren’t as severe -there are plenty of ways to advance one’s speaking, just hang out with some Arabs, listen to lectures, listen to conversations, etc. but it’s not as easy to find grammar courses on or off-line that go beyond the basics. I know I want my reading to be good, but that is also easy with practice, one only needs to pick up a book and read.

So following his formula I should dedicate 6 hours to grammar and 2 hours to reading/speaking/comprehension (simply knows as ‘skills’ in the institute I attend). Classes start at 8am, I have to leave at 7am, lest I don’t catch a cab. And I’ve quickly realized the idea of studying or doing homework before class is a pipe dream -at least until I awaken Imam Nawawi’s spirit in my life. 8-11am, class + 8hrs studying (6 grammar, 2 skills), 8am -7pm *but* I usually have tassawuf classes (self- improvement) after Magrib prayer which in the winter falls between 5- 6pm which then extends my studies by one hour, 8am- 8pm, classes + studying. So I then have 2 hours left for? Well I didn’t account for travel time, that takes away 1 hour and I didn’t account for eating, another hour.

I just have to face it, this is my life for the next 8 months, if I want to leave Jordan with an expert level of arabic grammar and an good level of skills it has to be this way. But where does that leave Ethos? And writing? Aww sweet Ethos, my adoring burden, I will have to simply pay minimal attention to it. Outsource whatever work I can, accept essays and schedule in advance, writing -besides occasional blog posts, will have to take a major back seat (though I am releasing a poetry book soon but it’s already complete just in need of editing and a cover design, which I will outsource). Of course my money can only go so far so I can only outsource but so much, some things will simply have to go.

Eight months, let’s go ♥

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