Frequently-asked questions or Arabic courses:
- Why should I learn Arabic?
- Are there different versions of Arabic language?
- So which Arabic version are you teaching? And why?
- For the “Introduction to Arabic,” I will be taught to read and write in Arabic. Is this really important?
- Sounds great! So where do I sign up?
Questions related to typing Arabic on computers:
- How do I get used to typing in Arabic?
- How do I make my PC type in Arabic?
- Are using stickers the easiest, compared to other options?
FAQ on al-Markaz’s Arabic Course
Why should I learn Arabic?
To connect: Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 300 million native speakers of the language. These speakers are largely concentrated in the Middle East, but there are minority groups of native speakers throughout the world. It is also an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.
To understand: Roughly 1.5 billion Muslims apply Arabic through the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, and through various rituals in their daily lives. As Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam, understanding the language is key to understanding Islam.
To trade: Initiatives to integrate the Arab world into the global economy are opening up numerous potential new business opportunities. The Arab region with its rapidly growing population provides a huge export market for goods and services. With a GDP of over SGD 2 trillion dollars annually, the region also has much to offer the world market. In order to do business effectively, one must understand the language and culture of the people with whom one hopes to negotiate and conduct trade.
To learn: Arabic-speaking peoples have made significant contributions to world civilization. While Europe was experiencing the relative intellectual stagnation of the Middle Ages, the Arab-Islamic civilization was at its zenith. Arabs contributed a great deal to the advancement of science, medicine, and philosophy. Much learning from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine cultures was preserved for the world through the Arab libraries. Arabs have also made significant contributions in such areas as literature, mathematics, navigation, astrology, and architecture. Knowledge of Arabic enables the exploration of this vast body of knowledge in their original language.
To discover: Algebra was invented by Arab mathematicians in medieval times. Staple products such as coffee and cotton came from the Arab world, as well as jasmine, lemon, and lime. Other Arabic loanwords appearing in English denote such diverse things as henna, macrame, lute, mattress, gerbil, sorbet, safari and muslin. The influence of Arabic culture is apparent not only in the English language. Numerous Arabic contributions are also discernible in Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, and other languages.
To explore: The Arab world has its own unique art, music, literature, cuisine, and way of life. Westerners know about belly dance, perhaps have read 1001 Nights, and may have tried some popular Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus or falafel, but exposure to the Arab way of life is generally limited. In exploring the Arabic world, you will learn to appreciate its distinct cultural products and practices and you will come to understand some of the values important to the Arabic people, such as honour, dignity, and hospitality.
Are there different versions of Arabic language?
While Arabic had always traditionally been taught as a liturgical language, our Arabic classes are designed to incorporate the most essential basics of the language for everyone.
This means that whether you are learning it to understand classical religious materials (classical Arabic), or read Arabic newspapers (Modern Standard Arabic), or to chat with your Egyptian friend (colloquial Arabic), we provide you with the exact same groundwork that applies to all branches of the language.
So which Arabic version are you teaching? And why?
We choose to focus on Modern Standard Arabic, also known as MSA. It is the “textbook Arabic” that shares the core sentence structure and vocabulary as the other brances of Arabic. To put it simply, by mastering MSA, you will have the basic understanding of the language itself.
MSA helps bridge the versions of Arabic language – it may be regarded as a simplified version of Classical Arabic, and a more methodical version of Colloquial Arabic.
For the “Introduction to Arabic,” I will be taught to read and write in Arabic. Is this really important?
While it is true that a person can simply memorize transliterated phrases in English such as “sabah al-khair” (which means “good morning”), there is a limit on how far transliteration can go. Learning Arabic requires the understanding of many aspects, such conjugation of verbs and final case markings. To do so, one must omit a letter or add another.
Since Arabic has its own set of letters, and additional markings to represent short vowels, it is nearly impossible to apply these rules through English letters.
For example to spell out khairin, khairu, and khair in Arabic, it requires the same three letters (خ-ي-ر), and not more.
That’s why learning to read is especially important. And with commitment, it takes just 8 weeks!
Sounds great! So where do I sign up?
Typing in Arabic
How do I get used to typing in Arabic?
Just purchase our Arabic stickers for your keyboard, available at our premise. Having Arabic characters on your keyboard (which you look at everyday) may help to familiarize yourself with Arabic letters and get you used to typing in Arabic.
- High-quality transparent vinyl stickers
- Available in different colours to match your keyboard (red, white, green, black)
- Applying the stickers takes only a few minutes
- Only S$4.50
How do I make my PC type in Arabic?
After pasting the stickers, just hit LEFT ALT + SHIFT to type in Arabic.
But first, make sure you have Arabic scripts installed of your PC. If you’re using Windows XP, here’s the 8-step guide to installing Arabic on your PC.
Also note that you may be prompted to insert your Windows installation CD during this process.
1. Select Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options
8. Click OK twice and you’re done!
To type in Arabic:
a. Just press LEFT ALT + SHIFT. To change it back to English, press LEFT ALT + SHIFT again.
b. Otherwise, you can also change the languages by clicking on the Language Bar (located at the bottom right side of your screen) and choosing the language.
In case you are using Vista, the steps are roughly the same as above. So just navigate through the steps listed above and edit your settings accordingly.
Are using stickers the easiest, compared to other options?
Using stickers and installing Arabic scripts properly on your PC will ensure that the overall formatting and output quality are consistent.
Although you can try online Arabic keyboards, such as this one here, you may face limitation in properly editing the fonts, sizes, and sometimes the direction of your text if Arabic scripts are not recognized on your system. So is Google’s ta3reeb input, which is a novel way to type in Arabic.
So once everything is properly installed, the next time you want to print out your name in Arabic, blow up the size and choose a cool avant-garde Arabic font, you won’t be pulling your hair out.