The Arabic Exam


I haven’t really found anything interesting to write about. All I did the past week was take exams. The only thing worth narrating is my hilariously horrible answers in the Arabic exam. The Arabic exam was (obviously) in Arabic. And I don’t know Arabic. I am learning it gradually though, but still, it is a pretty difficult language. I can, of course, do things like grammar and single-paragraph comprehension passages (in which I just locate the sentence which contains words similar to those used in the question and write it down), but things like antediluvian literature and poetry are beyond my capabilities.

Anyway, earlier I used to take a sort of special exam in which a translator helped me. Basically, all I had to do was tell the translator what I wanted to write in English, and she translated it for me. The grammar I took was pretty easy too. This time, however, I was forced to take more-or-less the same exam the rest of the class was taking. This included evaluating the weird poetry of some guy called “بشار بن برد”and writing a full-length essay. The topic of the essay was mercifully easy. Although, I was told later that I was really supposed to write about something like the advantages of respecting teachers; in the exam, all I understood was the single word “معلمة”, which I know means “teacher”. Hence, I wrote an essay on teachers in general.

The biggest problem I faced was the fact that I didn’t know a thing about Arabic sentence structure. So, I had to create weird anglicized Arabic sentences, substituting an English word where my lack of proficiency in Arabic became apparent. For example, here’s my answer to the first question directly after that بشار guy’s poem which, I think, asked for the main theme of the poem or something. Reading it is a somewhat herculean task. I suppose it should be read from right to left starting from the end, temporarily switching to left-to-right when reading English phrases. Although this seems utterly ridiculous, it was better than returning a blank answer sheet. I was desperate.

.chasing useless dreams وقت its ضياع doesn’t أنت. دماغ than شاطر  is comparatively more دماغ  that قلب  to قال  شاعر

The essay went comparatively better than poetry evaluation. Although I used devastating grammar and infuriatingly irrelevant verb forms, I think it was more-or-less intelligible  When the Arabic teacher (who was in another room, our class is split up into different rooms during the exams) briefly toured our room to respond to queries and allegations of the questions not being related to the syllabus, she glanced at my sheet. For some reason she burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter while reading my essay. Perhaps what I wrote didn’t exactly mean what I thought it meant?

Anyway, I’ll probably fail the damn thing. These are dark times, lad. Dark times.



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