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Foreign Language Learning Software for Arabic?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the spending-time-with-your-Broca-and-Wernicke-areas dept.

Communications 80

Doc Squidly asks: "In the near future I will be spending a year in the Middle East and feel it would be in my best interest to learn Arabic. Unfortunately I do not have the time to enroll in a college class and have decided that a computer base earning method would suit my situation best. I've looked at products such as ArabicNow! V9 Deluxe and Rosetta Stone Arabic but have not been able to find reviews on these or any other products. English is my first language and was fluent in German and Latin but, haven't used them in many years. I believe that having the right tools can make a difference in learning Arabic. Any advise from multi-lingual Slashdot readers would be helpful. Has anyone ever used software to learn a foreign language?"

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Porno! (0, Offtopic)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9637996)

I used porno software to learn to speak dirty...

That's a good language to be fluent in.

Re:Porno! (1)

pjay_dml (710053) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638750)

I use to work in a kitchen with a guy, who knew a little german that he had tought himself. He had learnt it all from looking pr0n! NO KIDDING!!! We called him 'Pommy-John'.

Re:Porno! (2, Funny)

jrockway (229604) | more than 10 years ago | (#9671470)

It seems that most of my friends "know" Japanese from watching anime. They all talk like small girls, but oh well. It's funny to those who actually studied it (and Japanese people).

Going to Middle East, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9637997)


These guys will discuss the software options rather eagerly

Rosetta Stone is awesome (4, Informative)

mmcdouga (459816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638022)

I learned a little Danish and Japanese with Rosetta Stone. I just learned simple "the cat is jumping over the ball" stuff, so I don't know how good it is for advanced learning. But the system is a lot of fun -- essentially a game where you do pattern matching, linking sounds with pictures on the screen. It covers basic nouns at first and then builds more complex phrases and sentences. It's all very natural -- no explicit grammar or rules to memorize, you pick that up unconciously.

Of course, chatting with someone patient is the best way to do it, but Rosetta Stone will get your foot in the door.

Re:Rosetta Stone is awesome tsarkon reports (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638525)

When did Islam start?

It started when an illiterate pedophile camel trader started doing the
Middle Eastern equivalent of "speaking in tongues." Later, scribes
wrote down what somebody said that somebody else heard that the
pedophile said.

Later on, the pedophile's followers decided that they were peaceful
and tolerant, and to prove that, they oppressed their own followers,
and the started wars with everybody who didn't, or doesn't follow
their faith.

Almost all Muslim men are gay, but they amuse themselves anyway by
seeing that stone walls fall on allegedly gay men, after which they
drive Soviet-made tanks back and forth over them several times, to the
amusement of the crowd. Despite the fact that Muslim men are all gay,
they nevertheless reproduce like cockroaches.

They also love the beat the crap out of women who dare to drive
automobiles.

Islam is a beautiful religion that demands that all artistic
depictions of the human form be destroyed. Likewise, for some reason,
for black dogs, for who knows what reason.

No Islamic country in the history of the world has been democratic.
Muslims are annoyed to no end that not every country is Islamic.
They're like Mormons, or Seventh-day Adventists, except they have
AK-47's, and to my knowledge, no Mormon or Seventh-day Adventist has
ever been a suicide bomber, although David Koresh came close.

The question shouldn't be "When did Islam start?" -- it should be,
"How many months is it going to take before Islam is THE mandated
religion of the one state of all the world.

Re:Rosetta Stone is awesome tsarkon reports (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638540)

Koresh was a freedom fighter and civil rights activist when martyred by Janet Death's Head Gestapo Einsatgruppen Reno. Death to Reno, deaht to Ashcroft!

Re:Rosetta Stone is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9665679)

I must correct you here. Danish is not a language but a speaking disability.

(Sorry, that's just something I as a swede must point out.)

Another approach... (4, Insightful)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638046)

While picking up some software to learn the basic vocabulary and grammatical structure of Arabic is probably a good idea, I would suggest another approach.

Poke around on the web and find some online chat groups for Arab-Americans or (Arab-AnyEnglishSpeakingNation) and explain your interest to converse in Arabic with someone. As long as they don't suspect you of working for the CIA (which I suppose they have every reason to) they would probably be glad to see people taking an interest in their culture and would serve as a "language buddy", engaging you in simple conversations to build up your skills. In return, you could help them with their English (or, in your case, German).

Now, there is one problem, writing and reading a language is nothing like speaking it. For this, I can think of one good solution, buy a Mac, an iSight, and use the audio/video features of iChat!

Re:Another approach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638065)

He does work for the CIA you insensitive clod!

--BladeMelbourne

CIA (0)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638089)

Yeah, that would be a great approach for the CIA to use. Get a huge bullhorn and announce that they are there. There's no other way to learn Arabic and if they wanted to listen in they couldn't just lurk.

Re:Another approach... tsarkon reports (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638492)

As long as they don't suspect you of working for the CIA....

They do need to hide from teh CIA because all arab speaking people are supporting a murdering Islam and a murdering culture and they would have nothing to fear from the CIA unless they are in fact the murderers I know them to be.

Death to you, death to those who destroy us all! You want to see a Jihad, wait till I blow my top, fuckers, and Ill nail people who matter and not innocent women and children, ill kill your leaders!

Mac communist prick, proArab proIslam = proMac. death to you and your scum!

Re:Another approach... tsarkon reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9644897)

Life must be unbearable for you.
You need professional help before it's too late...

Not CIA (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638824)

I'm not CIA but, a Navy Reservist.

Thanks for the input.

Re:Not CIA (1)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638985)

And a pecker checker, by chance, going by the "Doc?"

Re:Not CIA (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641608)

Sound like you're a Marine [slashdot.org] who had his shot record shredded after pissing of the Corpsman.

Re:Not CIA (1)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648224)

Actually, no, a bubblehead squid who has always been very good to the doc but who is not afraid to poke some good natured fun :).

Re:Not CIA (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9677429)

Ahoy, moyt, just don't "sqawk diddley" (a spoonerism....)

Check with the DLI, or Defense Language Institute, in Monterey.

If worse comes to worse, you can do what the IMCO (International Morse Code Operator) students did before and after my RM "A" time at NTC/SSC/NTCC (Naval Training Center/Service School Command/Naval Telecommunications Center, (I forget now) did:

-Get a tape recorder/player
-Insert checked-out tape
-Play, all night long in ears, "di-dah-dah, di-di-di) (or, if using tones at the proper Hz, deeu-deeu-deeu-doo-doo-doo-doo"

It was funny as hell, making my roving rounds at bldg 575 or the ones across from the old BOOST (Broadened Opportunities for Officer Selection and Training) BEQ/barracks. I don't think I woke any of them up by laughing.

So, "fahh-lalala-shah-lahh" will be meaningless in writing here, (just inserted as a filler for sound effects, not as in insinuation or disparagement of a language of which I know nothing and might be incapable of assimilating...).

Honestly, now that it's been long since March 1986, I can say I convincingly flunked IMCO pre-screening. But, I wizzed thru RM "A" school with all "A"s and was in the top 10% allowed to select our follow-on command. However, my physical aptitude got me assigned to Savin Teletype repair schools, (liquid and dry toner), as well as Teletype Repair Hi and Lo Level (Mech and Electronic) and those pieces of shit TTY machines cost me a lot of sleep after my ship lost 2 or 3 qualified TTY techs, leaving my butt awake so much I once slept thru the GQ klaxon, was ordered to lay to the Bridge and "politely" interrogated by the XO. I politely told him, "XO, I know GQ was scheduled. I just got relived, had chow (breakfast) and laid in my rack with the curtain closed, but my legs out in the aisle... Every body jumping down from their racks and checking the compartment probably didnt' rouse me and drag me.

I never thought I'd ever sleep thru a GQ klaxon, but I sure heard "RM2 Syes, LAY TO THE BRIDGE!"

But, try some tapes for the foreign languages. DLI can get you up to speed if you can get the orders cut to Monterey, California. If you're a reservist SEAL or some critical billet, it might do well to have your detailer trump up those P/S NECs (Primary/Secondary Naval Enlisted Classification codes) for you. Make sure your activity's NC/career advisor is actually working. Mine skylarked enough that instead of getting my orders to RM "A" for Dec 85 or Jan 86, I was delayed till March 86.

Anyway, "Turn to! Commence ship's work!"

David Syes

Rosetta Stone is good (3, Informative)

polveroj (786638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638055)

I'm teaching myself Hebrew with Rosetta Stone's software, and it's a lot better than any of the books I've tried before. I haven't tried any other software to compare it to, but on a scale from 1 to awesome it's definitely somewhere past "good enough". (YMMV with Arabic, of course.)

Re:Rosetta Stone is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638083)

~~~

?tnerrot. a toG

US Troop? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638123)

A year in the Middle East huh? Would that be a year killing innocent children and torturing innocent Iraqi's.

Re:US Troop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638467)

things that US troops never do that Saddam used to do.

Good job fucker, the only murderes in Iraq are Ismamist murderers now who are murdering civillians on scale which rivals Saddams former murderous regime and trying to undermine the new Iraqi government.

I want to cut your leg off an eat it in front of you and then shit your leg down your throat and then drop you off in Lahore pakistan where the villagers will finish you off.

Here are a few reviews (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638230)

For the rossetta stone software
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 05APYM/qid=1089252261/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/103-80593 58-4919026?v=glance&s=software&n=507846
IMO, Amazon is always a great first place to look, if only for the reviews(even if you don't end up buying anything off them)
Search for arabic software/books and see what other people have said.
You always have to take the reviews with a grain of salt, some people provide very insightful reviews, some one sentence, some have an axe to grind, and some haven't even used the product, but feel they need to chime in on it anyway.
Kinda like /. in that regards though!
Happy hunting!

Re:Here are a few reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638244)

d'oh, forgot to format that:
here [amazon.com]

Pimsleur (2, Interesting)

max born (739948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638290)

If you're going to be living in the Middle East and are more interested in conversation than writing, try Pimsleur.

I've used the "Living Language", "Berlitz", and a few others but always found the Pimsluer method to be more effective. Evan for a guy like me who considers himself hopeless at learning languages. I used Pimsleur for German, French, Russian, Spanish, Herbrew, and "Eypptian Arabic" and was quite surprised at how much I'd learned when conversing with native speakers.

The Pimsleur method is based on immediate feedback. Within a about a minute of the first lesson you're asked questions to which you have a few seconds in which to respond. The other methods I found boring, almost like leaning by rote.

You can find plenty of Pimsleur MP3s on the gnutella network. Get the gnutella software here [gnutelliums.com] .

Re:Pimsleur (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638494)

Or...you could PAY for the program like you are supposed to. Just because you can copy something doesn't mean you should. I like the Pimsleur program and am proud to have paid for it. If it's worth listening to it is worth supporting.
P.S. Please don't include any of that "Pirating isn't stealing" bs.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

max born (739948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639198)

You may be right. If the copyright laws were abolished, would there still be Pimsleur?

I like to think yes, there would. But if there would not, then I would agree with you
and say that people should encourage talent and creativity (as Pimsleur obviously is)
and do the right thing and go out and buy Pimsluer and support the source that provides it.

But if the copyright laws were recinded, do you think there would be no Pimsleur? Is that your argument?

Would somebody fill the void? What would Pimsleur have done if he had not been able to make the high return afforded him on the investment of his idea?

I believe, and I may be wrong, he would have promoted his langauge method anyway and accepted less money.

Shakespeare, Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Charlie Parker, The Beatles, Feynmann, (and evidendtly Michael Moore) did not and do not do it for the money.

Would you perhaps agree that the GNP is more significant when goods and services exclude entertaintment as a standard of living factor.

Then again, I could be completely wrong.

Re:Pimsleur (2, Interesting)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641700)

Um. Shakespeare and Mozart in fact did do it for the money, but in general they created works for hire.

The Beatles definately did it for money, as I didnt notice them giving away all of their profits and living in poverty. (Not that they didn't enjoy it, but if you go ask paul, I bet he would say Piracy is wrong...)

Michael Moore lives in a huge Manhattan apartment, worth several million dollars. He did it for the money (and because he hates his targets)

Einstein did it because he was a geek, and patriotic, and thought it was the right thing, but he wasn't making music was he.

Newton did it because he was a geek. To the point where people had to force feed him because he would pull all nighters for several days straight without eating. But again, he wasn't really a musician...

Re:Pimsleur (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653006)

Um. Shakespeare and Mozart in fact did do it for the money, but in general they created works for hire. [...] The Beatles definately did it for money, as I didnt notice them giving away all of their profits and living in poverty.

This is pretty sloppy logic. I know a number of musicians; some of them get paid for it and some don't. But pretty much all of them make music because they want to make music; getting paid is a nice bonus, and much of that money goes right back into the costs of making music.

The better techies I know are the same way. I didn't stay up 'til all hours hacking away on my dad's Apple ][+ because I looked forward to a lucrative career; I did it because I had to. I feel fantastically lucky that I can build cool things and make a living at it. But if the bottom dropped out of the market tomorrow, I'd just have to go out and get a day job to support my coding habit.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653485)

My logic is not sloppy at all, you named musicians, and I noted that two of them got directly paid for their work, as work for hire, and the others got quite rich off of their music. There are other musicians that do their work for free (most likely because they cannot get paid for it) and are doing it for the joy.

The fact that those people exist has no impact on the rights of people that want to make music for pay. You have the choice to support (or leech) from whichever musicians you want. Because B does it for free does not mean you can take A's without compensation.

much of that money goes right back into the costs of making music

Oh, so there is a cost to making music. And the copyright allows the musician to get paid. And getting paid allows them to make more music? Amazing!

BTW, for the techies, you are mixing types of people. (As you did before with Newton and Einstein)

The motivations for science are often quite different than the motivations for music.

As for your specific example of you :

Yes you would code if the market dropped out. But how about if you worked for a year, and then your company just decided not to pay you? Would you just happily go out and get a day job without complaint? Thats what piracy is.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9658105)

You're not paying attention. I'm not saying piracy is good. I'm not saying that content creators shouldn't be rewarded for their work.

All I'm saying is that Mozart didn't "do it for the money". He made music, and he did get paid, but the causal connection is pretty weak.

BTW, for the techies, you are mixing types of people. (As you did before with Newton and Einstein)

Now you're really not paying attention. This may amaze you, but a number of entirely different people post on slashdot. If you have arguments with ones other than me, then you should talk to them directly.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

eliza_effect (715148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659010)

I think the causal connection is pretty strong. Let's roleplay this.

Patron: Hey, Mozart, I'll give you these fat sacks of cash money if you write me some music. Mozart: Ok!

Re:Pimsleur (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661428)

But if the bottom dropped out of the market tomorrow, I'd just have to go out and get a day job to support my coding habit.

If you're willing to relocate, I might be able to hook you up with a gig importing and supporting grey market computers for a client named Nigel.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

pphrdza (635063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638915)

OR you could check it out from your local public library...

Re:Pimsleur (2, Interesting)

Spamsonite (154239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640031)

I'm entering the Navy in a few months as a linguist, and if I get the option of which language to learn, I plan on choosing Arabic. To get a start on things early, I've been using Pimsleur's Arabic, and have been impressed.

Pimsleur's conversational approach recognizes that language is fundamentally an excercise in speech, and that orthography is merely an extension of the communication and mental processes that already exist in the spoken word. There are huge numbers of languages that never developed a writing system - but (next to?) none that are only written. Pimsleur says to learn to speak first, and learning to write what you've learned later on will be much easier.

The interactive feedback/reminder system seems to work for me in a way that no other computer-based language-learning method has. Both my Dad and I are having lots of fun with this, and I'll recomment Pimsleur to anyone who asks.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640352)

Am i missing something? I thought to be employed by the armed forces as a linguist, you have to be fluent in a foreign language already. Are you saying that you are going to be employed as a linguist and then they will teach you the language from scratch???????

Re:Pimsleur (1)

lowmagnet (646428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640476)

exactly, a foreign language. My cousin was fluent in Japanese, and they taught her Arabic in their Carmel school.

Re:Pimsleur (1)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 10 years ago | (#9680631)

I too have been trying hard to learn various languages over the years to varying degrees of success. I took Spanish through all levels of education (elem->uni), French at the uni, Japanese, Mandarin, etc. However, I decided to focus on Cantonese and realized I had to change from the book method as I was going tremendously slow. Pimsleur has worked very well for me. I am on Lesson 8 in the Cantonese CD's and my friends (from Hong Kong) are completely blown away. Sure, its just beginning for now, but they never expected me to do it on my own and its given me that ability. 30 minutes one way to work (or home) so I do each lesson twice a day (or sometimes several times over a few days if I am stuck) and its working great. Honestly, up to this point, my retention rate is probably near 100%. *However* there is one issue, so far they have explained almost no grammatical rules, so sometimes its very hard to know when to say words in one order or another. However the lessons are laid out so that you can memorize by situation, which I guess is what native speakers of any language by in large do anyway.

tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Traitor (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638361)

This is disgusting. Slashdot and its vile denizens have showhn time and time again contempt of all western culture and progress, while worshipping technology and using technology that none of the Arab overlords they worship as cuddle ever helped to created. Islam brought the death of innovation to the middle east, and now Eurabian and Kerry supporters are doing the same thing. Self deprecating in a fatal performance for people who really dont give a fuck, they will never not give a fuck and your dangerous fast and loose ways (As Moore calls the "facts" in his new film) will be the end of us all. You Murderers. You Soros loving world government murderers of technology, freedom and innovation. You want to learn arabic? Huh fuckers? Join the military or NSA or CIA and get paid to hunt down arab dogs or fucking go live in the pit of fukcing hell you worship and learn it there, fuckers! FUCK YOU TRAITORS TO THE WEST! Western white men pretty much invented everything, go look at any university, at all the dead professors, at all the patents granted, everything, 90+% of IT ALL is Western WHITE MEN. So you fucking deconstructionist scum, fuck you. Fuck Arabic. Fuck Islam and DIE traitors, die.

Re:tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Trai (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638395)

I have to agree with you here. While your rant is disgusting, and irellavent to this story, I do find people dont know why they are they way they are. Islamists respect how they came to pass, and they are doing battle with those who hate themselves, and this is a horrible weakness for westerners and it opens the doors for an even deadlier world than ever before.

Re:tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Trai (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638408)

I have to post anon. because ppl on /. will assuredly mark you -99. In a perfect world I would post logged in to show that while vile and profane, you do bring up a point about Islamists and the rampage they are on and the open arms of traitors in the west.

Re:tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Trai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638421)

tsarkon, shut the fuck up and go away. We dont want to hear any more unenlightened crap!

Re:tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Trai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638447)

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to distort the facts,
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From what I understand, some of us have an opportunity to come in contact with presumptuous hucksters on a regular basis at work or in school. We, therefore, may be able to gain some insight into the way they think, into their values; we may be able to understand why they want to lead us into an age of shoddiness -- shoddy goods, shoddy services, shoddy morals, and shoddy people. I do not propose a supernatural solution to the problems we're having with Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons. Instead, I propose a practical, realistic, down-to-earth approach that requires only that I change the world for the better. I need your help if I'm ever to stand as a witness in the divine court of the eternal judge and proclaim that his reinterpretations of historic events, like opium, hashish, or alcohol, keep the canaille in a trance and oblivious of reality. "But I'm only one person," you might protest. "What difference can I make?" The answer is: a lot more than you think. You see, Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons is absolutely determined to believe that his mistakes are always someone else's fault, and he's not about to let facts or reason get in his way.

Sure, we could just sit back and let him harvest what others have sown, but that prospect really grates on people who have any kind of common sense. When was the last time you heard Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons mention that he maintains a cozy relationship with boisterous complacent-types? Probably never. That's why he is out of touch with reality. Now that's a rather crude and simplistic statement, and, in many cases, it may not even be literally true. But there is a sense in which it is generally true, a sense in which it indeed expresses how he likes activities that impugn the patriotism of his opponents. Could there be a conflict of interest there? If you were to ask me, I'd say that if we don't soon tell him to stop what he's doing, he will proceed with his backwards dissertations, considerably emboldened by our lack of resistance. We will have tacitly given him our permission to do so.

Although this has been overlooked or ignored by the established scientific community, Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons' henchmen operate secretly so as not to excite suspicion. And that's why I'm writing this letter; this is my manifesto, if you will, on how to provide an antidote to contemporary manifestations of sophomoric masochism. There's no way I can do that alone, and there's no way I can do it without first stating that I see how important his frightful outbursts are to his spokesmen and I laugh. I laugh because some people say that that isn't sufficient evidence to prove that he is secretly scheming to use psychological tools to trick us into doing whatever hypocritical pikers require of us. And I must agree; one needs much more evidence than that. But the evidence is there, for anyone who isn't afraid to look at it. Just look at the way that he is doing everything in his power to make me die in oppression, chaos, and despair. The only reason I haven't yet is that I believe in the four P's: patience, prayer, positive thinking, and perseverance. Almost every day, Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons outreaches himself in setting new records for arrogance, deceit, and greed. It's indubitably breathtaking to watch him. I find his anecdotes rather untrustworthy, don't you? When I was a child, my clergyman told me, "Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons can make no claim to a distinguishing talent of any kind." If you think about it, you'll see his point.

Just think: He justifies his short-sighted nature by denying that I am morally and ethically opposed to his treatises. Now, I could go off on that point alone, but whenever there's an argument about his devotion to principles and to freedom, all one has to do is point out that he is a lifelong member of the Church of Inhumane Misoneism. That should settle the argument pretty quickly. I've heard of loud things like blackguardism and pauperism. But I've also heard of things like nonviolence, higher moralities, and treating all beings as ends in and of themselves -- ideas which Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons' ignorant, unthinking, disrespectful brain is too small to understand. All of these things are related: credentialism, Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons' grievances, and the general breakdown of our society. I'll even tell you how they're related. It's really very simple. In essence, I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people. I can therefore assure you that if Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons truly believes that courtesy and manners don't count for anything, then maybe he should enroll in Introduction to Reality 101.

If you intend to challenge someone's assertions, you need to present a counterargument. He provides none. Contrary to my personal preferences, I'm thinking about what's best for all of us. My conclusion is that what's best for all of us is for me to punish those who lie or connive at half-truths. Either Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons has no real conception of the sweep of history, or he is merely intent on winning some debating pin by trying to pierce a hole in my logic with "facts" that are taken out of context.

My next point of order is that he thinks that he does the things he does "for the children". However, his hariolations would be thoroughly risible if they weren't so self-serving. I have absolutely no idea why Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons makes such a big fuss over interdenominationalism. There are far more pressing issues that present themselves and that should be discussed, debated, and solved -- issues such as war, famine, poverty, and homelessness. There is also the lesser issue that if Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons isn't heinous, I don't know who is. I won't pull any punches here: I, hardheaded cynic that I am, don't want to build castles in the air. I don't want to plan things that I can't yet implement. But I do want to appeal for comity between us and Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons, because doing so clearly demonstrates how he does not tolerate any view that differs from his own. Rather, Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons discredits and discards those people who contradict him along with the ideas that they represent. Given the amount of misinformation that he is circulating, I must point out that if we take his shell games to their logical conclusion, we see that in the blink of an eye, he will encumber the religious idea with too many things of a purely earthly nature and thus bring religion into a totally unnecessary conflict with science. Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons doesn't want us to know about his plans to make conditions far worse than could ever have been the case without his mingy efforts. Otherwise, we might do something about that. Our goal must now be to reveal the constant tension between centripetal and centrifugal forces of dialogized heteroglossia resulting from Lame Slashdot Sheeple Who Are All Mobthinking Civil Rights Destryoing Morons' analects. If you believe that that's a worthwhile goal, then I can surely use your help. Let me hear from you.

Re:tsarkon reports Slashdot Pro Arab Eurabian Trai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638507)

mod parent up, the satanic verses were removed because mohammed was satan's minion, mohammed didnt know god from satan!

Some sites I found (3, Informative)

casuist99 (263701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638602)

I don't know about software, but I was dabbling in learning the Arabic alphabet and language this Summer. In the course of my searching, I found one site called Fun With Arabic [funwitharabic.com] that does a pretty good job teaching some things. You can learn the alphabet, some common words, and eventually learn to write Arabic script. A second site which I haven't even checked out yet is Babel Arabic [i-cias.com] .

I hope these prove useful. I learned a bit just playing around with the sites last week. Good luck - Arabic is a step harder to learn than German or French because you have to learn the alphabet first.

If you're just looking for conversational Arabic, I don't think the sites address that as much. I found a few that do, but if you're planning on being in the Middle East for any period of time, I'd assume you'd like to learn to read and write, as well.

special savings on Arabic software (3, Funny)

Anonynus Covvard (792499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638722)

"I will be spending a year in the Middle East."

We have a great package deal:
-- Arabic-language-learning software
-- one-way airfare
-- software for writing your own Last Will & Testament
-- titanium and carbon-fibre high-collar turtle-neck vest
-- discount coupon for a burial-plot & coffin, sized for your current height from your heels to your collar-bone

Re:special savings on Arabic software (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638893)

Thanks, you are absolutely no help.

Re:special savings on Arabic software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638906)

oh shut the fuck up you pompous asshole. you posted your fucking idiotic question on slashdot. what did you expect? sort out the joke replies and fucking get over yourself you worthless fuck.

enjoy your stay in the middle east you fucking jerk. i hope you don't make it back.

apology (1)

Anonynus Covvard (792499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639378)

Doc Squidly, I'm sorry if I was in any way responsible for the melt-down from that anonymous poster.
It was totally inappropriate.

As for my original post, I plead temporary inability to resist the temptation of scoring some karma points from an all-too-obvious opportunity for a joke.

apology (1)

Anonynus Covvard (792499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639396)

. . . near here.
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=113781& cid=963 9378

Re:special savings on Arabic software (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9677706)

Is there a "huked on fonix" ware for this? Then, someone could proudly report:

"Huked on fonix wurked fore mee".

Immersion learning will be the best way. Probably DLA Monterey/Carmel has a Arab specialy team who'll make everyday a non-english day...

David Syes

I know! (1)

cookiepus (154655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638890)

Your Uncle will teach you [slashdot.org]

Re:I know! (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638909)

That's good because I'm one of Uncle Sam's children.

Re:I know! (1)

kunudo (773239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645739)

That's good because I'm one of Uncle Sam's children.

He can't be both your dad and your uncle, can he now? Unless, of course, he married your aunt after fathering you with your mother? Nah, uncle Sammy wouldn't do that...

Re:I know! (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9647528)

Uncle Sam is your Uncle.

For those in the military he can be considered parent.

You WILL NOT learn Arabic from computer software (4, Insightful)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638944)

You are not going to learn Arabic from software. In the U.S. foreign service's ranking system, they rank lanugages from easiest to learn by a native English speaker -- 1 -- to hardest -- 5. Arabic is one of the few languages that is a five. Not only does it use an entirely different character set (duh...Arabic), but it is a very highly inflicted language. Your subtle body motions and intonations can completely change what you mean. If you want to learn Arabic, take a class. A computer program will not help you in any way other than maybe memorizing a few phrases and possibly learning the letters.

...and beware of different dialects. (2, Interesting)

DrCode (95839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9644016)

Some time ago, I tried to learn a bit of Arabic from some "Saudi Arabic" tapes. One thing I learned is that the written language is the same all over the Middle East, but the pronunciation varies tremendously through the region.

Re:...and beware of different dialects. (1)

An Elephant (209405) | more than 10 years ago | (#9651702)

Actually, the spoken language is different in every country, and they're all different from the written language. The written language _is_ used orally in formal contexts; these include the media.

As an example, in the written language, "I learn" translates to something like "Ana a'limu" (where the ' stands for the "ayin" consonant which does not exist in any Western language I'm aware of); in Egyptian and Palestinian spoken Arabic, this becomes "Ana Bat'alam", a totally different inflection. This is not a pronunciation issue: It's an entirely different form.

Besides, there are issues of pronunciation w.r.t to the written language. E.g., Arabic has a letter pronounced like "J" in most places, but "G" (as in "go") in Egypt.

Re:You WILL NOT learn Arabic from computer softwar (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660448)

I sgree to that: I'm learning Japanese. I have used computer software, and it had absolutely no help at all. The best way to learn is to actually talk to an Arabic person. Actually getting feedback on what you're saying is different to comparing strings. Especially in a language where a lot of stuff can mean the same things. The answer to the question "o namae wa nan desu ka" can be "rokuran desu", "boku no namae wa rokuran desu", or "watashi no namae wa rokuran desu". Translation: What's your name, Lachlan, My name is Lachlan (Male), My name is Lachlan (Female). Add to the fact that subtle differences in language can make a huge difference in meaning, especially since in Japan, politeness is everything (for example, when comeone gives you a business card, you NEVER put it in you back pocket). You need to understand culture, there is more to a language than words.

find someone who speaks arabic (2, Interesting)

theradixhunter (446861) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639477)

I took two semesters of Arabic in college and I found I didn't actually get much out of the class itself. I learned the most when I sat down with my friend and just tried to have a conversation with her in Arabic. By practicing how to speak and listen to it the writing and reading bit came much more easily (since, after all, writing is supposed to be a graphical representation of a spoken language).

If you don't know anyone who speaks Arabic then I'm sure you could find a college student or something that needs a little money. Pay them to sit down with you for an hour each day and just speak with you. Don't use them as a tutor for the reading and writing except for the odd question or two! You should be able to figure most of it yourself from a textbook or something if you take it seriously.

FSI and some other suggestions (1)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639833)

Not entirely certain on software, but as far as books go The Arabic Alphabet [barnesandnoble.com] by Awde and Samano got me reading and writing in a jiff! An excellent resource is Audio Forum [audioforum.com] who sell the kits that the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) uses to train its diplomats. I believe Saudi Arabic is one of the few courses that the FSI has released the material on CD-Rom. Other dialects, such as Iraqi and Palestinian (to name a couple) are also available. But Saudi, far as I know is almost the lingua franca of the middle-east. Could be off base on that point though. But the FSI courses (whether on prehisoric blech *tape* or CDs) have proven extremely useful. Pricey, in some cases. But thorough and useful. Some folks have spoken highly of Transparent Language [learn-arab...ftware.com] , at the very least you might find some web links there. The Center for Applied Linguistics [cal.org] might also be of help to you. The The Pimsleur Method [simonsays.com] is pretty [simonsays.com] smokin' [simonsays.com] IMO. Flash cards [worldlanguage.com] are EXTREMELY useful to have/make yourse'f - well nigh indespensible in learning the written form of the language IMO. And finally, there are some I've known who've praised the "Talk Now!" [worldlanguage.com] approach.

the one word you'll ever need to know (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9639943)

JIHAD!!!!!

you can blow yourself up for extra emphises .

Only you... (2, Insightful)

bw5353 (775333) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640382)

One of the most common traps when it comes to learning languages is that there is a "better" method and a "worse" method. In the end, what matters is how much work you invest yourself. No software and no other method will learn the language for you. You have to spend a lot of time and energy regardless of method.

In my experience you have to try methods out yourself. Do you like learning things from a computer screen? Do so. Do you like reading grammar books? Do so. Do you like learning long lists of words from phrase books? Do so. Do you have a beautiful girl/boyfriend, who is a native speaker? Use him/her a lot (chatting, reading and writing - romantic staring can be pleasant as well, but that alone will not teach you the language). But whatever combination of activities you choose, do it a lot.

Re:Only you... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9677760)

"Do you have a beautiful girl/boyfriend, who is a native speaker? Use him/her a lot"

No, this means one is likely to learn the "International Language" instead of the stated language, heheh".

The tones are likely flat, the body inflictions pleasing to the touch, and guttural sounds understood, but maybe overstated...

David Syes

software == ok, fluent speaker == much better (1)

glarvat (753298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642803)

A couple years ago I spent several weeks traveling throughout Jordan. Jordan is very westernized and a good deal of the store fronts and street signs are in both English and Arabic (a great way to pick up additional Arabic). A substantial portion of the population speaks English as well.

In preparation, I used the ArabicNow series. It helped, a little. I found it much easier to learn from my traveling companion who was fluent--living in Saudi until you're 12 will do that, I suppose. She and I worked on my basic Arabic pretty consistently for a couple months. I found that when I was there, I had a pretty good passive understanding of the language. I picked up as much (if not more) in the few weeks there than I did in the several months of prep.

Key phrases to know in Arabic: (2, Funny)

Chagatai (524580) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643814)

"Good morning, kind sir."
"Could you please direct me to Ramallah?"
"Into the van? If you insist."
"I triple guarantee you, I am not a member of the CIA."
"No, thanks. I've grown rather attached to my head."

Use Meetup to find people (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645681)

I don't know much about meetup.com, but I know the Arabic group I've been to uses it to organize, as do many other arabic groups. They're evangelists for Arabic (not Islam, usually) and you can find them at http://arabic.meetup.com

US army has a game (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645851)

maybe you could find a copy of this click here [msn.com]
June 14 issue - Army Special Operations soldiers may soon get a high-tech computer game to teach them Arabic. Now being designed at the University of Southern California, the Tactical Language Training System helps students learn "situational Arabic" by

While we're on the topic... (1)

Lazyhound (542184) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648881)

...does anyone have any links to Tagalog-language material?

Re:While we're on the topic... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9649171)

Bahala Na, friend.

Use an iPod (2, Interesting)

bw5353 (775333) | more than 10 years ago | (#9650292)

A handy way to carry around a language course is an iPod. What you need is:

1) The dialog CDs as mp3-files.

2) The dialog texts as text files.

Upload the mp3-files to the iPod and upload the texts as Notes. Then you can sit and read the texts at the same time as you listen to the voices. In an airplane, in a waiting room, at the dentist's, in the underground. In the car, you should not read the screen obviously, but you can still listen to the mp3-files, and then read the texts once you arrive at your hotel, the boring party you have to be at or wherever.

This may actually not work with Arabic. I'm not sure how good the iPod is at displaying Arabic characters. But I know you can make it work with most European languages, Japanese and Chinese.

Have fun!

Re:Use an iPod (1)

treerex (743007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9650871)

This may actually not work with Arabic. I'm not sure how good the iPod is at displaying Arabic characters. But I know you can make it work with most European languages, Japanese and Chinese.

The iPod does not display Arabic or Hebrew. Latin-script based languages, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese, and Korean all work fine.

Re:Use an iPod (1)

bw5353 (775333) | more than 10 years ago | (#9652731)

"The iPod does not display Arabic or Hebrew."

Pity. Still, not all is lost, if you anyhow happen to have an iPod, and if you can get the written text transliterated to latin characters. It's much less useful than seeing the "real" Arab letters, at least when you're past the stage of being a complete novice, but it might be better than nothing.

Good luck, anyhow!

Do-it-yourself (3, Informative)

3rdShift (596889) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653556)

My native is Russian and when I had decided to learn English well, I looked around for Linux apps and couldn't find what I wanted. So I wrote a coupe of applications myself.

granule [sourceforge.net] is my indexcard program. It's UTF-8, so you can use and keyboard bindings you want.

gwavmerger [sourceforge.net] is a memory-training program targeted for learing foreign languages. All you need is a microphone and a sound card to make your own lessons for your own level. I tried to explain the process in its manual.

I have been using both programs on a daily basis for several years now and they helped me to make a giant leap towards my goals.

For an on-line dictionary I highly recommend StarDict.

The skeleton of studying any foreign language is, of course, its grammar. Don't overlook it.

Don't believe all the BS teachers say about submerging into the environment and making friends with native-speakers. It is all baloney. Grammar, and daily practice of memorizing words and text senteces will do the trick.

Hope this helps,

--3rdShift

WE'RE AMERICANS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654400)

Cut to next scene where you are bound, hanging from your feet, and a grizzly man brandishing a sword is about to cut off your head.

I'll also vouch for the Rosetta Stone (1)

biafra (4283) | more than 10 years ago | (#9658636)

I'm in the middle learning Spanish and it's been working out quite well for the wife and I. I guess that airport kiosk at Regan International has paid off :>

Re:I'll also vouch for the Rosetta Stone (1)

CoolMoDee (683437) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659464)

what you forgot to mention is that you get more fluent with the more margaritas you drink :-)

Latin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9663188)

Fluent in Latin?

Arabic in one place isn't Arabic in another (1)

pdp1144 (599396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9666416)

Another issue you will find is Arabic isn't the same in all countries ... or even in the same country. From what I've seen Arabic is just a reference to a character set, not the language. It would be like calling all languages that use the Roman / Latin alphabet (German, French, Spanish, Italian, English, &c.) Latin.
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