Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In her army shirt and a long brown skirt, with matching gloves, socks, shoes and a hijab, my teacher Emany is ready with a pencil touching her pursed lips prepared to jot down our mistakes, all the meanwhile swiveling back and forth in her chair. Wednesday means quiz day in Amiyya class, the class where we practice our street Arabic. Grabbing our heads and trying to literally pull words out of the deep recesses of our brains, we attempt to answer the oral topic she presents us with and deliver it correctly in front of the class. I went first. A little more nervous than usual I just did it. Attacked! I ended up doing pretty well but made a few little mistakes. Throughout all the presentations, squeeks and screetches randomly reached our ears from the busy street outside or window but we continued on, pausing only momentarily to listen to make sure there wasn't a crash. Our teacher came in today with a huge bruise over her eye explained she had been in an accident the day before. (For more information on the drivers in Egypt, refer to my blogs from last Fall)
Amiyya classes cover the different dialects of Arabic in each different region. Egyptian Arabic is famous because most of the movies in the Arab world come from Egypt, as well as many singers. But the Egyptian Arabic is also kind of at the bottom of the totem pole because it carries such a distinct accent. For example, we pronounce our j's as g's.

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