The Arabic language: Why learn Arabic?

Journalist Yvon Jacobsen wrote De taal van het Arabisch [The Arabic language], a series of articles about the course Arabic for Beginners that she took at UvA Talen. As part of the series, she interviewed her fellow students to find out why they wanted to learn Arabic. 


Yvon personally wanted to find out more about Arabic as she is fascinated by the diversity of the language: ‘Arabic is the language you hear spoken in the street and see written in unfamiliar letters above bakeries and kebab restaurants. […] But it is also the language of science and poetry. A centuries-old language that today is spoken by more than 300 million people worldwide’.


Why learn Arabic?

During the lessons Yvon found out that people had all kinds of reasons for wanting to learn Arabic. ‘The class is a real mixture of people,’ she writes. ‘I look around and see the variation in age, background and motivations of my classmates. And I am proud of our common goal: to get to grips with this unfamiliar language.’ Among the people she interviewed for the series were her fellow students Thomas, Khalilah and Ruben.


Thomas spent a lot of time in the Middle East for his work, which is why he is keen to master the language: ‘I don't want to be a part of the culture, but I do want to understand why people think and act in a certain way. That is something that fascinates me, and the language is a vital part of that.’


Khalilah is Moroccan-Dutch: ‘My brother and my parents already speak Arabic. When we were young, my brother and I were allowed to choose what we wanted to do. He learned Arabic, while I chose to read Dutch books, I enjoyed that much more.’


Ruben has just finished a Master's degree in Crisis and Security Management and wants to learn Arabic to improve his career prospects: ‘I believe in the idea that the more languages you learn the easier it gets, because you get an increasing understanding of the underlying systems.’


You can read De taal van het Arabisch [in Dutch] on Reporters Online and Blendle.


More information about the Arabic courses offered by UvA Talen.