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This has been a very interesting project!
I started back in September, with three months to intensively learn the language while in Brazil, and then spent January and February travelling through Egypt (ultimately not doing more than a couple of hours intentional work on my Arabic level, although getting lots of practice), and if you check out the above completely unedited, and unscripted conversation, you can hear what my Arabic sounds like!
Unlike in my other videos, where I was focusing much more on an interesting message that the native speaker could share with the world, this time I did most of the talking, but had a very special guest interview me – the first person I ever spoke Arabic with! It’s got an almost poetic conclusion to the mission that I should finally meet her just before I leave! I found Amera on italki in September, and she is one of the teachers I stuck consistently with all the way through to December.
After leaving Cairo, the first stop on my Egyptian travels was Aswan, the furthest south in the country where you can find a major settled area, and where the Egyptian part of the Nile begins after Lake “Nasser” and the High Dam.
By far, the most interesting part of my time there was discovering things about the ethnic group known as the Nubians, which at one point in history were able to overpower the Pharaohs of Egypt, but have had an unfortunate history of displacement and migration, especially in the last century.
To share that story, I let Gasser M. Anwar, a Nubian working in the tourist industry, take the microphone to share his perspective on it all with us. With subtitles in English and Arabic as always!
Probably one of the most frequent comments I’ve received on my videos over the last months, usually from people in Arabic speaking countries that are not Egypt, or from elitist academics, all of whom ignored my travel-in-Egypt focus, has been “You should be learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)! It’s much better than dialect!”
Now that I’m actually using what I spent months preparing for, in the country itself, I can confirm that learning a dialect is far superior to learning MSA if you plan to speak the language.