Monday, July 07, 2003

So how is it that after all this time I can still look at a basic Arabic text and not make it through? A few months ago I read my first al-Jazeera article without using a dictionary. Yesterday I tried to look at their story on the Kuwaiti elections and it was just a big slog and I'm not sure I got that much out of it before giving up, though I think I was running into unfamiliar names for part of it. For my dissertation I've been dipping into the well of medieval chronicles. Last semester I read part of Akhbar as-Sin w'al-Hind without much difficulty. Recently I tried to read some of at-Tabari, and while it seemed easy, when I looked at the translation I got only 70% of it accurately, mostly (I think) due to rusty grammar. Last night I went a bit further, and got stuck on what seemed like basic vocabulty. There's this word azdad that looks like it should be so easy to find, and isn't, and then another one, ashwathu, that was almost as frustrating. One day I'll have all this figured out, I hope. Meanwhile, I know my spoken Arabic has decline beyond recognition due to lack of practice, so let's not even go there...


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