Monday, November 22, 2010

Blood-Burning Moon

I have a new Arabic teacher. And he speaks no English, which is fantastic for me. That means all of our communication is in Arabic. When we talk on the phone to schedule classes, we must do it in Arabic. Still progressing slowly but I really like this new wrinkle. It pushes me.

Plus, he is a really literary guy. He brought in an anthology of Arabic translations of 20th Century American short stories to show me. It is fun to read the names in the table of contents, because they are all phonetic spellings so I can figure them out without being limited by my vocabulary. Always interesting for me to learn who and what is translated: Hemingway, Faulkner, Nabokov, Jen, Oates, Barthelme, Porter, Cheever, Munro. There was one African-American writer represented—Jean Toomer with “Blood-Burning Moon.” It would not have been my first guess, but pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Losing French?

I met some other parents at the playground earlier today; they were speaking French to their 18-month-old son. I am excited for any opportunity to speak French but found myself out of practice and dropping in occasional Arabic words. It could be taken as a sign that my Arabic is really taking off, but more likely it is a sign that my French is slipping.