How good is this chap's Arabic?
Thread poster: XXXphxxx
XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jun 6, 2012

I do apologise but I don't speak any Arabic at all, I'm hoping it's okay to post this in English.

I just watched this show the other day; it was broadcast on TV a while ago and I was wondering if any of you based in the UK might have seen it: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/hidden-talent/4od#3328756 I'm afraid that for licensing reasons the programme probably cannot be viewed outside the country.

It basically charts the story of a young man plucked from a hostel for the homeless and run through a 19 week (if my memory serves me correctly) crash course in Arabic. The results are apparently extraordinary. I'm just curious if it's media hype or if he is genuinely impressive.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
Quite impressive.. but... Jun 6, 2012

I watched it as well, and was quite impressed by what he achieved. He talked very well in the final interview. However, there are two things to bear in mind.

One, that for the purpose of the programme he was given the chance of total immersion in the language and culture and has probably received far more intensive hours of instruction than a regular Arabic student would have under ordinary circumstances. So how much of his achievement is down to a special "talent" is hard to tell.

And Two, I suspect the whole thing was geared towards making the final interview a success, for the purpose of making the programme looked good. So although he spoke really well for a person who didn't know a word of Arabic a few months earlier, I imagine that a great part of his instruction focused on preparing him for that sort of interview. Although they said he learned Arabic to an "advanced" level, I am pretty sure that there is so much that students who have studied Arabic over four years have to do, which he would have no idea of (esp. grammar, breadth of vocabulary, writing skills etc).

Still, pretty impressive stuff


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nesrin Jun 6, 2012

Okay, I remain impressed then

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How good is this chap's Arabic?

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