Diplomatic Language Services blog post written byArabic language instructor

Arabic Language Instructor Blog

Language Wisdom and Hands-On Training

Written by DLS Arabic instructor, Reem Nourallah


Mastering a new language goes far beyond learning letters, words, syntax, and grammar. The beauty of any language relies on opening a vast door to a whole new world. A world of culture, customs, traditions, and above all else, a new perspective of wisdom. Arabic has a huge array of old sayings and folk proverbs that we can learn and apply. Despite the intense animation and apparent emotions of Arabs when happy, angry, or sad, Arabic sayings contain great wisdom.

To demonstrate, we do not need to reach out very far. We can recall some of the folk sayings of our parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives. Such proverbs pass on to us from one generation to the next. They were so simple! And yet, they have captured the essence of man and/or his behavior in the moral and physical sense.

When family members visited, and we complained about the lack of room, we heard: “a tight place holds 1000 friends.” After a fight with a brother or sister, we defended ourselves to our parents with the proverb: “he hit me yet he cried and beat me to complaint!” If we asked our friends few favors, we would hear: “if your friend happens to be honey, do not eat it all.” If one of us lied and it was discovered, we were told: “the rope of lies is short.” If one of us made our parents proud, then we were told: “the duckling is a floater.”

If one of us splurged a little, we were told: “stretch your quilt per the length of your leg.” If we tried to improve something and failed miserably, we were told: “he made an eye blind while beautifying it.” If one of us got upset by someone or something, we were encouraged to feel that: “the past is dead.” When we wanted to avoid the company of others and have some alone time, we were reminded that even: “paradise is unworthy to be in it without people.”

Needless to say, there are thousands upon thousands of old sayings and folk proverbs among Arabs. As language instructors, it is imperative to pass along such wisdom to students. It is a vital sneak peek to the new theatrical world and the new language students are about to master. It is the most important thing where hands-on training becomes joyous, fun, and the best way to succeed for all!

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