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Secretary Spellings' Interest in Arabic

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I believe some people in this country might have more empathy for English-language learners if they had studied a second language. In my case, at least, while trying to get a handle on the subjunctive mode and other difficult aspects of Spanish, I may have gained some insight into some of the challenges that English-learners face. Even after many years of study, I shudder to think of all the mistakes I make when speaking Spanish.

So I thought it was noteworthy when I learned this week that the U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently tried her hand at studying Arabic. Someone passed this news along to me while I was writing about a report released this week to the U.S. Congress by the National Research Council about the U.S. Department of Education's programs for the teaching of foreign languages and cultures (For information on how to buy it, click here). The report doesn't have anything to do with English-learners, but I do wonder what might happen to the climate in U.S. schools for such students if native speakers of English had to spend more time in serious study of foreign languages and cultures.

Casey Ruberg, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said Ms. Spellings--who isn't fluent in any languages other than English--became interested in learning Arabic when she met with education ministers from around the world in Jordan in 2005. She started to take Arabic lessons before attending a second meeting of education ministers in Egypt last year. She met several times a month with a tutor. "Due to time constraints on her schedule, she is no longer meeting with a tutor, but maintains an interest in learning the language," Ms. Ruberg said.

1 Comment

Hello I am Sha!
I really like & love the arabic as a "Language".
The impression I got immediately after I
completed MA English was that I should have
studied "Arabic".
I have grown a strong passion and attachment
for Arabic and the Arabs. How much it can last?
This is what i don't know nor am much sure about
but if your gals and guys out there help me, my
love might become fruitful for me.
Why do i like and love arabic and the Arabs?
This is sort of expansive questions.
I only know that Arabic is soft, smooth
and melodius.
The Arabs are loving, sincere and sobre.
Well, what I don't know is if they are
lovers of their language too or not.
I aspire to someday talk fluently in arabic.
Talk to my friends. But can i attract Arabic
-speakers to my self by speaking their lang-
uage is yet another thing to be experienced
Arabic is the language of the Muslims but i do
believe ALLAH will hear and help me even when
i speak my mother tongue to ask him. I am
sensitive to the degree that if i like something
just for the sake of some good and great point
in it and I am not answered positively.... I
really begin to hate that thing. Well i don't
know why should i do it but still here i am to
do it. I like to chat, sing, speak, think, write
and argue in Arabic. I have no intention to
visit an Arabic speaking country as yet but
can it be helpful enough in learning a language to
personally visit the country where it is spoken?
Because we have been in this country of ours for
since our birth but still we haven't got command
and control over the national language spoken
here. Does it go to say that it doesn't matter
a lot to visit a country for the solitary purpose
of learning a language spoken there? I like the
h sound of Arabic and also I like it for not
having the clattering sounds of t,d etc. I
want to have good really good arabic language
friends. I can teach you English "only and only
if you think you need it". I should thank you
in advance if you think my love for Arabic and
the Arab is something valuable.
With best regards it is farhad (underscore)
alishah (at) yahoo (dot) com
my cell number is zerozeroninetwothreeonetwo
Wassalam-o-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah!
( I shall be really anxiously waiting for
the language friend of my dreams.
How can i say in Arabic
"The lover and Admirer of Arabic as a Language"
Bubye thanks

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