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  1. Bilingualism And Arabic

  2. Introduction • Concerned about how many Arab parents do not speak to their children in Arabic.  • Arabic in particular is of concern, since Arabic is the language of the Quran. • Arab parents are fortunate to be bilingual, yet many Arab parents are depriving their children from this gift of bilingualism.  • It is not enough that a child understands spoken Arabic, they need to speak it, read it, and write it.

  3. Bilingualism Benefits • Being a fluent bilingual speaker has many benefits. • Children who are fluent in Arabic do well in Quran and Islamic studies. • Children who do well in Quran and Islamic studies are more likely to be Muslim leaders in the community.

  4. Bilingualism Language development • The development of communication skills begins in infancy, before the emergence of the first word • The earlier a child learns a language, the stronger the language becomes a part of that child.

  5. Bilingualism • The optimal period is between the ages of 0-3. • Critical period for native-like language skills ends gradually at around six or seven years of age.

  6. Arabic and Islam • Arabic is very important to Muslims.  It is the language of the Quran. • Arabic has to be a foundation for Islamic education. Knowledge is obtained by first learning the tools of knowledge; language, reasoning and the ability to articulate.

  7. Arabic and Islam • At a minimum Muslims should learn to read Arabic, even if they don't understand it (at first). • The next step after Arabic and Qur'an is the study of Hadith, followed by fiqh. 

  8. Arabic and Islam • Arabic is widely used throughout the Muslim world. • Most of the world's Muslims do not speak Arabic as their native language but can read the scripts and recite the words of religious texts.

  9. Arabic and Islam • If the goal at Islamic schools is to produce future Muslim leaders and scholars, then they need to get really serious about teaching Arabic, and do everything they can to ensure that the children learn and love the Arabic language. • Muslim Schools need to make Arabic a primary subject and move it to the center of their curriculum.

  10. Arabic and Islam • Schools should have more contests in Arabic besides spelling Bee, such as Calligraphy, Essays, • Make Arabic a more prominent language at the school, for example teachers to practice speaking Arabic (Fus-ha) with each other. • Have Arabic stories, books, movies, plays, etc. in school. • Expose children more to Arabic through Islamic exhibits, Islamic Art, Islamic calligraphy, etc.

  11. Arabic and Islam • Parents need to do their part at home to teach children Arabic. • The school alone can not teach children Arabic.

  12. Arabic and Islam • Arabs are blessed with the Quran in their language. They have a responsibility to preserve and teach the Arabic language to others. • Arab parents should also help non-Arab parents in school, with the Arabic language.

  13. Importance of Arabic • Parents need to be educated on the importance of teaching their children Arabic in particular. • It is not enough that children can read Arabic, they also need to understand what they're reading. 

  14. Importance of Arabic • Explain to your child the importance of learning Arabic to Muslims.   • Teach your child to be proud of the Arabic language, and tell him/her about the origin of Arabic.

  15. Importance of Arabic • Tell your child stats on how many people in the world speak Arabic. • Arabic ranks sixth in the world's league table of languages, with an estimated 180 million native speakers.

  16. Importance of Arabic

  17. Importance of Arabic • Give examples of words in English which originate from Arabic, due to the expansion of Arabs/Muslims/Christians in the world. • Children may think they don't speak Arabic but there are more words of Arabic origin in English than one might expect

  18. Is Arabic difficult? • YES - and no. Learning another language certainly takes time and practice, but there are not many irregularities in the Arabic grammar. • Arabic is much less complicated than Latin, and probably simpler than German, too.

  19. Is It Too Late? • No, Never! • Only speak Arabic to your child. • Repeat what child says, in Arabic. • Require your child to speak Arabic, at least for basic conversation. • Do not turn learning Arabic into something inflexible or onerous. • Praise endlessly!

  20. Summary • You will be doing your child a great favor by teaching him/her Arabic. • Being fluent in another language is a valuable asset in our multicultural society • Each parent should stick to his or her native language. • Give your child a bilingual environment. • Don’t ever give up! Be persistent and Stick with it. No exceptions.

  21. Arabic Resources • See Slide Notes