How to learn a language online

How to learn a language online

wayne parry

Learn Japanese online - for free

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

The Japanese language is obviously spoken in Japan by over 125 million people as well as in several communities around the world that have received a considerable number of Japanese immigrants, such as in the south-east of Brazil, the US state of Hawaii and several parts of Latin America from Peru to the Dominican Republic. However, in all of those parts of the world outside Japan, the Japanese diaspora is now into its fourth generation and as a result, only local languages tend to be spoken.

This is still an important business language, despite the rise of neighbouring China and South Korea. Japanese is an immensely popular language to learn due to its cultural attraction through animated movies and magazines, fashion and contemporary art as well as its world renowned cuisine and innovative technology. The rise of Japan’s economy in the 1960’s helped to introduce the language to the rest of the world through its country’s surge in tourists travelling abroad and its brand image as a nation of hard-working citizens in a high-tech society. Combined with its rich history and refined social structure, it’s no wonder this language has maintained its position as the most popular Asian language to study around the world.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

KYOTO

The ancient capital of Kyoto is home to many beautiful temples that date back several centuries and this city draws in a high volume of tourists, both domestic and international. By immersing ourselves in a typical street scene, we are able to get an insight into the daily lives of its inhabitants – an important step before taking on this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PLACE WHERE THE LANGUAGE CAN BE SEEN

SHOPPING IN OKINAWA

Browsing through the shops and stalls of Okinawa, a group of islands between Taiwan and mainland Japan, is a great way to read the signs in the language. Identifying signs is another initial step before taking on the language and when we’re able to identify the written language, it helps us to remember words more effectively.

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

Watching TV in Japanese is a very stimulating method for absorbing the language. However, it’s important to take away the subtitles in your native language otherwise this will slow down the process, contrary to the belief that it allows us to understand what is being said. TV drama is by far the most effective situation to watch on television for it shows us real life scenarios that reflect human behaviour – happiness, sadness, grief, joy, love and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE: FOOD

JAPANESE CUISINE

The delicious cuisine of Japan is one of the world’s most popular and the year-by-year growth in the number of Japanese restaurants that can be seen from France to Russia is a true reflection of how favourable the food really is. Learning what the local people eat is a real way to learn how to communicate, for it opens us up to a very important part of culture – food. Here’s a tour of some of the more well-known dishes in Japan as well as a list (below) of a typical menu.

    

 

ENTRÉE

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き (savoury pancakes from Osaka)

Yakitori 焼き鳥 (skewered grilled chicken)

Takoyaki たこ焼き (deep fried octopus dumplings)

Tempura 天ぷら (deep fried vegetables and seafood in light batter)

Onigiri おにぎり (rice balls filled with salmon roe or pickles wrapped in seaweed)

Miso soup  味噌汁 (soy bean paste soup)

Kakeh udon カケうどん (thick noodle broth)

Karaage 唐揚げ (deep fried chicken pieces)

Gyoza 餃子 (pan fried pork and garlic dumplings)

Agedofu 揚げ豆腐 (deep fried tofu)

Edamame 枝豆 (boiled and salted soybeans)

Kani korokke カニコロッケ (crab croquettes)

Maguro sashimi マグロの刺身 (tuna sashimi)

Monja yaki もんじゃ焼き (Tokyo style savoury pancakes)

 

MAIN

Katsudon カツ丼 (deep fried pork cutlet on rice)

Yakizakana 焼き魚 (flame grilled fish)

Zaru soba ざるそば (cold buckwheat noodles)

Udon curry カレーうどん (thick noodles in curry soup)

Unagi  うなぎ (grilled eel)

Souki soba ソーキそば (Okinawa style noodles with stewed pork)

Yaki udon 焼うどん (fried thick noodles from Kitakyushu)

Miso ramen 味噌ラーメン  (noodle soup with soy bean paste from Sapporo)

Katsu curry カツカレー (pork cutlet curry served with rice and pickles)

Sukiyaki すき焼き (beef and vegetable hot pot)

Nikujaga 肉じゃが (beef and potato stew)

Goya chanpuru ゴーヤチャンプルー (bitter melon stir fry from Okinawa)

Nigiri zushi にぎり寿司 (hand pressed sushi of different seafood)

Fugu sashimi ふぐ刺身 (raw pufferfish which can be lethal if not prepared properly)

Ika somen イカそうめん (finely sliced squid in dipping sauce from Hakodate in Hokkaido)

Gyu tan 牛タン (grilled beef tongue from Sendai)

Taco riceタコライス (Okinawan dish of rice and Mexican style taco meat filling)

 

DESSERT

Castella カステラ (sponge cake from Nagasaki but originally of Portuguese origin)

Matcha ice cream 抹茶アイスクリーム (grean tea ice cream)

Amanatto甘納豆 (simmered azuki beans)

Mochi 餅 (sweetened rice cakes)

Monakaもなか (azuki bean paste between sweet rice crackers)

Ikinari dangoいきなり団子 (steamed bun with sweet potato and azuki beans from Kumamoto)

Imagawayaki 今川焼き (azuki bean waffles)

Anko purin 小豆のプリン (azuki bean pudding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STEP SIX: COOKING

LEARNING HOW TO PREPARE A TYPICAL JAPANESE DISH – KARAAGE

Karaage is fried chicken and it’s fairly easy to make. This clip shows us how to prepare a typical dish without using any other language apart from Japanese. Following instructions is a challenging but fun way to learn the language – and of course, the reward is the finished product. A cooked meal!

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN: MUSIC

POPULAR MUSIC IN JAPAN

While Japan keeps its place as the world’s second largest music market, its appeal hasn’t spread as easily as music from Latin America or certain parts of Europe. Several genres have emerged from Japan, including visual kei (a spin-off of the New Romantic movement from the UK) as well as J-Pop. It could be argued though that in other parts of Asia, popular music from Japan has been a huge success – particularly in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT: SPORT

POPULAR SPORTS IN JAPAN

Sports in Japan follow two paths: traditional and modern. The more traditional sports include several martial arts such as karate, aikido, jiu-jitsu and sumo whereas modern sports have usually followed American trends such as baseball and golf. In this clip we can see Japan’s love of baseball where some players are as popular as pop stars or politicians.

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE: FILM

JAPANESE CINEMA

Many interesting movies have come out of Japan and the recent wave of Hollywood versions of Japanese horror movies is only one aspect of this country’s diverse list of box office hits, from comedy to drama. Here is a contemporary list of some popular (and award winning) Japanese films to have hit the cinemas in recent years.

 

 

Postcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in OsakaPostcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in Osaka

 

 

 

STEP TEN: PEOPLE

SKYPE

Communicating with friends on Skype is without a doubt a very effective way of learning a language. It is important to ensure that the level of the person you’re communicating with has a similar level in your language in order to really gain from the experience. If not, one of you is going to feel a bit left out and it won’t last. Here are two useful websites for finding language partners online.

 

STEP ELEVEN: WORK

THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

Japan has a well-known work ethic which pulled it out of the post-war period and into its boom time during the 1980’s. Working in Japan offers an enormous opportunity to become exposed in the everyday challenges of learning a language, from commuting to socialising. Here is a clip that looks at some of those challenges.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE: RELATIONSHIPS

KANSAI vs KANTO

The two great metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka have a history of rivalry and it’s always interesting to know how the locals feel about their compatriots. In this clip we discover how far that rivalry has come.

 

 

 

Learn Portuguese Online - For Free

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:   UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE

This first step is to introduce us to the language with a clip that shows us all the places where the language is spoken. There are no subtitles (intentionally) but it doesn’t matter if it’s difficult to understand. The point is to just sit back and take it all in. Becoming familiar with the language is important before we begin to explore some of the cultural aspects of this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:   A PLACE WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

LISBON

 

The capital of Portugal is the starting point for this journey of the Portuguese language and this clip is a visual tour of this beautiful city without any words or dialogue. This is an introduction to a major place where Portuguese is spoken.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:   AN AREA WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SEEN

A MARKET IN SÃO PAULO

 

A market is a great place to pick up sights and sounds of the language in its natural habitat. Other good examples are street scenes and local shopping centres. In this step it’s important to observe any signs of the language in its written form.

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:   SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

To understand the people who speak the language we must first understand how they behave. Television drama is an ideal way to explore the emotions, idioms and reactions of the native speakers – especially if the drama is contemporary as opposed to fantasy. Here is a clip of a typical (and recent) Brazilian soap opera watched by millions of people around the Portuguese speaking world.

 

Perfeito Coração  =  love story set in Lisbon after some street riots bring two people together

Gabriela  =  drama set in the 1920’s in Ilheus (Bahia)

Cheais de Charme  =  Brazilian series about three maids who successfully form a band

Deixa que Te Leve  =  story about a rich Italian family in Minho (Portugal)

Avenida Brasil  =  love story set around a famous footballer’s family in Rio de Janeiro

Fina Estampa  =  Brazilian drama based on the family of Griselda, a female mechanic from the Azores

Carrossel  =  Brazilian series for children set in a fictitious school

Sentimentos  =  story about a girl who finds out she’s adopted, filmed mainly in Lisbon and Macau

Big Brother Brasil  =  TV reality show

Amor Eterno Amor  =  drama about the destiny of a man living on the island of Marajó in Brazil

Insenato Coração  =  story about two brothers living in Rio de Janeiro

Minha Terra Minha Mãe  =  Angolan-Brazilian soap opera filmed in both countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:   FOOD

BRAZILIAN CUISINE

 

Learning about the food eaten in the place where the language is spoken is very important for it allows us to understand more about the culture. It’s also a fun and motivating way to learn faster because it encourages us to find out more about something we all enjoy to do – eating. Here’s a list of just some of the food eaten in the countries where Portuguese is spoken.  Many of these dishes, such as feijoada, are enjoyed almost wherever the language is spoken.

 

 

ENTRÉE

Acarajé com caruru (deep fried black eyed pea balls stuffed with spicy shrimp paste) from Bahia

Caldo verde (potato & kale soup) from Portugal

Coxinha (chicken croquette) from Brazil

Bolinhos de bacalhau (fried cod balls)

Bauru (cheese & mozzarella sandwich) from São Paulo

Quibebe (squash soup) from the north-east of Brazil

Tapioca frita (fried tapioca usually served with cheese or coconut) from Brazil

Chouriço (spicy sausage)

Chamuças (samosas) from Goa

Casquinho de siri (stuffed crab shells) from north-eastern & northern Brazil

 

 

MAIN

Feijoada (black bean & meat stew)

Moqueca Capixaba (tomato & fish stew) from Espiritu Santo in Brazil

Caldeirada (seafood stew)

Calulu de peixe (dried fish stew) from Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe

Rojões à moda de Minho (fried diced pork with blood rice) from Minho in Portugal

Pato no Tucupi (duck in cassava broth) from Pará in Brazil

Pirão de caldo de feijão (manioc flour paste with bean stew) from Brazil and Angola

Bobó de camarão (shrimp pureé) from Bahia

Galinha à Portuguesa (curried chicken in coconut) from Macau

Carne de sol (sun dried meat) from the northeast of Brazil

Inteiro com piri-piri (whole barbecued chicken with piri-piri sauce) from Mozambique

Sumatena (barbecued dried fish) from Angola

Alheira (yellow sausage with fried potatoes & fried egg) from Trás-os-Montes in Portugal

Caril de carangueijo (crab stew) from Mozambique

Vatapá (shrimp & coconut stew) from Bahia

Churrasco de picanha (Brazilian barbecue of sirloin beef)

Francesinha (sausage & tomato sandwich with fries) from Porto

Caril de galinha (chicken curry with roasted peppers & coconut) from East Timor

Baião de Dois (rice & bean dish with dried meat) from Ceará in Brazil

Sarapatel (spicy meat & offal dish) from various places – Goa, Portugal and north-eastern Brazil

Maniçoba (meat & manioc leaf stew) from the Amazon region of Brazil

Cozido à portuguesa (winter stew) from Portugal

Piracuí (dried & floured fish meal) from the Amazon

Galinha à Africana (barbecued chicken in spicy sauce) from Macau

Carne de porco à Alentejana (pork & clam dish) from the Algarve region of Portgual

Frango com quiabo (chicken and okra dish) from Minas Gerais in Brazil

Bacalhau à Minhota (cod dish) from Minho in Portugal

Pato de cabidela (duck stew) from Macau

Vindaloo (pork curry) from Goa in India

Xinxin de galinha (chicken marinated in vinegar stew) from Minas Gerais in Brazil

 

DESSERT

Quindim (baked egg & coconut pudding) from Brazil

Bolo de rolo (rolled sponge cake) from Pernambuco in Brazil

Bebinca (coconut & ghee pudding) found in Goa and East Timor

Bolo de brigadeiro (chocolate bonbon cake) from Brazil

Cuscuz branco (tapioca pudding)

Açaí na tigela (açaí fruit of the Amazon with granola, banana & syrup)

Canjica (sweet corn porridge) from Brazil

Cocada (dried coconut sweet) from Brazil and Angola

Goiabada (guava paste) eaten all over, but especially in Brazil with cheese (Romeo & Juliet)

Fios de ovos (egg angel hair) from Portugal

Creme de papaya (papaya cream) from Brazil

Arroz doce (rice pudding)

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:   COOKING

HOW TO MAKE SOMETHING TYPICAL FROM MOZAMBIQUE

 

Eating the food is the easy part. Learning how to make it is more challenging but essential to learning a language. A recipe is an instruction and if we can learn how to follow instructions in a language, we can learn how to create results. In this case, the result is something incredibly tasty.

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:   MUSIC

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE MUSIC IN THIS LANGUAGE

 

By learning the songs from this language, it opens us up to another part of the culture and this is an incredibly useful way to learn Portuguese. It also introduces us to some rather excellent music along the way. This is a language that has been dispersed through its music like no other language except perhaps English or Spanish. From Brazil there is a huge variety of music from samba, bossa nova, funk, axé, forró, pagode, sertanejo and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). There is also kuduro music from Angola, marrabenta music from Mozambique and the one that started it all – fado from Portugal, sung mostly in the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. Here’s a list of some recent artists from this part of the world.

 

Ai, Se Eu Te Pego (Michel Telo)  =  Brazilian sertanejo singer from Paraná with this worldwide hit

Tudo que Eu Sinto (CW7)  =  Brazilian pop rock band from Curitiba

Rosa Sangue (Amor Electro)  =  one of Portugal’s newest pop rock bands to create success

Despedida (Mayra Andrade)  =  the best singer from Cape Verde since Cesária Évora

Odeio (Manu Gavassi)  =  female pop singer from São Paulo

Quem Não Quer Sou Eu (Seu Jorge)  =  famous singer / actor from Rio de Janeiro

Ilusão (Neyma)  =  female marrabenta singer from Mozambique

Ainda Bem (Marisa Monte)  =  very popular MPB singer from Rio de Janeiro

Anda Comigo Ver os Aviões (Azeitonas)  =  pop group from Portugal

Problemas (Ana Carolina)  =  MPB singer from Minas Gerais

Juras de Amor (Bruno & Marrone)  =  sertanejo duo from Goiás

Preto (Claudia Leitte)  =  axé / pop singer from Rio de Janeiro

Pisa Papará (Cabo Snoop)  =  Angolan kuduro singer

Fado das Queixas (Carminho)  =  female fado singer (fadista) from Lisbon

Quero Toda Noite (Fiuk ft Jorge Benjor)  =  pop singer known from the Brazilian TV show Malhação

Duas Mulheres (MC Roger)  =  rap singer from Mozambique

Menina Estranha (Restart)  =  pop group from São Paulo

Lê Lê Lê (João Neto & Frederico)  =  another sertanejo duo from Goiás

Covarde (Jorge & Mateus)  =  one more sertanejo duo from Goiás

Dançando (Agridoce)  =  folk rock group from São Paulo

Amor de Alma (Victor & Leo)  =  sertanejo duo from Minas Gerais

Sexta-feira (Boss AC)  =  Portuguese hip hop artist whose parents are from Cape Verde

Leite Condensado (Parangolé ft Rodriguinho)  =  pagode band from Salvador (Bahia)

Nega (Luan Santana)  =  sertanejo singer from Mato Gross do Sul in Brazil’s central west

Céu Azul (Charlie Brown Jr.)  =  rock group from Santos in São Paulo

Aonde é que Cuya Mais? (Puto Cossa)  =  Angolan kuduro singer who lives in Portugal

Dois Olhos Verdes (RPM)  =  rock group from São Paulo

Nunca Amei Alguém Como Eu Te Amei (Ivete Sangalo)  =  axé / pop singer from Bahia

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:   SPORT

FOOTBALL

It should come as no surprise that if someone is learning Portuguese, whether it’s Portuguese from Brazil or Portugal, the word “football” will come up in conversation. That’s no different from many of the other countries that speak Portuguese, such as in Angola or Mozambique. Compared to other sports, football is overwhelmingly popular wherever the language is spoken and of all the countries in this part of the world, Brazil always comes to mind. Brazilian teams like Flamengo or Botafogo compete fiercely in the same way that the national team has done for many decades.  

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

MOVIES IN PORTUGUESE

 

Most of the Portuguese speaking cinema is produced in Brazil, which is of no surprise because it has the largest population. However, many interesting and popular movies come out of Portugal or Angola as well. Here are just a few examples of some recent releases.

 

Família Vende Tudo  =  story about a Brazilian family that has a scheme to make some money

E Aí, Comeu?  =  Brazilian comedy about sexual relationships

Paraísos Artificiais =  Brazilian love story about a man who falls in love with a female DJ

Dois Coelhos  =  action movie from Brazil about a prison escapee who wants revenge

Uma Aventura na Casa Assombrada  =  Portuguese fantasy adventure set in a haunted house

Tropa de Elite 1 & 2  =  police drama about the BOPE (Special Operations) in Rio de Janeiro

Morrer como um Homem  =  movie about drag queens in Portugal

Corações Sujos  =  story about a terrorist cell of Japanese immigrants in Brazil during WW2

Girimunho  =  set in rural Minas Gerais about two elderly women

O Emigrante  =  movie about Angolan migrants in the Netherlands who return to Angola

De Pernas pro Ar  =  Brazilian comedy about a professional woman and her friend’s sex shop 

Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto  =  love story set in rural Portugal during its month of festivities

Cilada.com  =  Brazilian comedy based on a relationship that turns sour and ends up on the Internet

Bruna Surfistinha  =  true story about a girl from Rio who runs away to become a prostitute

Assalto ao Banco Central  =  action suspense movie about a planned bank robbery

Complexo – Universo Paralelo  =  Portuguese movie set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Chico Xavier  =  true story about the life of the late clairvoyant who was famous in Brazil

Os Inquilinos  =  drama about some strange neighbours in an outer suburb of São Paulo

Na Cidade Vazia  =  Angolan drama about life in the capital city of Luanda

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:   PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Communicating with native speakers is essential for the learning the language and that should be obvious to anyone. But how do we find them if we’re not in the country where it is spoken? Simple. Look for a language partner on websites that promote language exchange and then start communicating with them on Skype. Just be sure to find someone who has similar interests and is almost at the same level in your language, otherwise you’ll find that it might not last as long as you’d expected. Here are some websites that are helpful.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.languageexchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

STEP ELEVEN:   WORK

JOB INTERVIEWS

 

Working in a country where the language is spoken is an effective method of learning the language, provided that the language is spoken in the workplace.  Here are some tips for speaking professionally in a job interview. Even if it’s difficult to catch most of the words without subtitles, it’s important to get a grasp of what’s being said to make it easier to then go and work in that country.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:   RELATIONSHIPS

PORTUGAL AND BRAZIL

 

There has always been some form of rivalry between the two main speakers of this language – the most populous Portuguese speaking country (Brazil) and the mother country of the language (Portugal). Like all parts of the world where a common language is shared, these relations can vary from animosity to close ties. Here’s a clip that shows some newly arrived Portuguese migrants in Brazil and what they think of their experiences. 

 

 

 

LEARN INDONESIAN ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

THE INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 

Bahasa Indonesia, as the language is officially known, is the national language of Indonesia and is spoken by over 200 million people in this country as well as being a ‘working language’ in neighbouring East Timor. In all, there are only about 23 million native speakers who reside in urban centres such as Jakarta or Bandung but it is a language that is now understand by almost 100% of the Indonesian population, making it one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is only spoken where there are large communities of Indonesians abroad, such as in the Netherlands, Australia, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The language is not to be confused with Bahasa Malaysia though. The differences between these two languages are more defined than mere differences between the vocabulary of British and American English, for example. It is more like comparing Dutch and Afrikaans, where the two languages are almost mutually intelligible but are considered separate languages, nonetheless. Obviously it takes very little time for a speaker of Bahasa Malaysia to be able to understand the different lexicon between the two languages, in the same way that a speaker of Afrikaans would spend little time to be able to communicate in Dutch.

While most Indonesians speak a local language at home, Bahasa Indonesia is the administrative language used in schools, government departments and media – as well as being the lingua franca that holds over 6,000 islands together and allows all Indonesians to communicate effectively with one another.   

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

WELCOME TO MEDAN

 

Now that we have become familiarised with where the language is spoken (Indonesia), the next step is to zoom in on the country and take a look at a city where it is spoken. This allows us to feel as if we’re in that location and we can absorb all the street scenes of that city.

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  SIGNS

A LEISURELY WALK AROUND JAKARTA

 

The written aspect of a language is important to be able to memorise words for later use. By taking a walk around a local neighbourhood, it is possible to take in some of the sights and read the signs along the way. Markets are usually ideal for this exercise but in Indonesia, most markets are very traditional and sell fruit and vegetables where very few signs are needed.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

Understanding different situations in communication is important for learning how to speak the language. The best way to see these situations in action is to watch a television drama series, known locally as “sinetron” in this part of the world. Most types of sinetron in Indonesia are sappy love stories but still, they’re worth watching for the variation of emotions shown.  Here’s a list of some recent TV drama that is watched by millions of Indonesians and some are exported to neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

 

Bawang Merah Bawang Putih   -   story about two girls who are neighbours

Bayu Cinta Luna   -   office love romance

Dunia Tanpa Koma   -   action drama set in a magazine bureau

Angel’s Diary   -   drama about a girl who moves from Australia to Indonesia and how she adjusts

Tim Bui   -   football themed drama set in a prison

Sejuta Cinta Marshuda   -   love story about a girl who meets a rich boy

Safa dan Marwah   -   drama about a girl who moves to Jakarta to find love

Dia Bukan Anakku   -   story about a rich girl whose sister suddenly re-appears

Rama dan Ramona   -   two teenagers who meet at school and fall in love

Kesetiaan Cinta   -   love romance about a woman who marries a playboy

Cinta Fitri   -   story about a girl whose wedding plans turn upside down

Mawar Melati   -   romance drama about a woman who steals someone else’s baby

Alisa   -   love story with a shocking twist about the man who she falls in love with

Amanah dalam Cinta   -   story about a girl who is coerced into meeting someone in Jakarta

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:  FOOD

INDONESIAN CUISINE

 

Most visitors to Indonesia would probably have tried nasi goreng or gado gado, which are ubiquitous dishes found all over the country. Due to the melting pot of cultures in this archipelago, it’s no surprise that a food varies from region to region. The most popular type of Indonesian cuisine is called Padang cuisine, or Makasan Padang, and is even found in food courts in Singapore and beyond. Here is a list of some of the more well-known dishes eaten by the locals.    

 

 

ENTRÉE

 

Gado Gado   (boiled vegetable salad with peanut sauce)

Sambal Tempeh  (fermented soybeans in chili paste)

Sayur Asem   (Sundanese sour tamarind and vegetable soup)

Soto Ayam   (Indonesian style chicken soup)

Lalab dan Sambal Terasi   (Sundanese raw vegetables with chili shrimp paste)

Tahu Sumedang   (fried tofu)

Lumpiah   (spring rolls)

Pempek   (fried fishcake from Palembang)

Sop Buntut   (Javanese oxtail soup)

Tekwan   (fishcake soup from Palembang)

 

 

MAIN

 

Sate Ayam   (satay chicken skewers in peanut sauce)

Rendang Daging   (Padang style beef in spicy coconut milk)

Nasi Goreng   (Indonesian style fried rice)

Ayam Goreng Kalasan   (fried chicken stewed in spices from Yogyakarta)

Mie Rebus   (Javanese style egg noodles in gravy)

Bakso Solo   (meatball and noodle soup from Central Java)

Rawon   (dark beef soup with sambal from Surabaya)

Sate Madura   (chicken skewers in sweet soy sauce)

Bakso Malang   (meatball and fried wonton soup from East Java)

Bebek Goreng   (deep fried duck from East Java)

Soto Bangkong   (chicken soup with rice vermicelli and tomatoes from Semarang)

Nasi Kuning   (spiced vegetable and rice dish from East Java)

Dendeng Balado   (thin crispy beef with chili from Minangkabau)

Nasi Liwet   (chicken broth in coconut milk served on rice from Solo)

Rujak Cingur   (marinated cow snout from Surabaya)

Babi Guling   (Balinese style roast pork)

Bubur Ayam   (Javanese chicken rice porridge)

Bubur Manado   (dried fish porridge from Sulawesi)

Bakmie Goreng   (deep fried noodles)

Cap Cai   (Chinese fusion stir fried vegetables)

Empal Gentong   (offal soup from West Java)

Ketupat Sayur   (pressed rice cakes with coconut chicken soup from Jakarta)

Laksa Bogor   (vermicelli and vegetable soup derived from this Malaysian favourite dish)

Lawar   (shredded jackfruit and pork from Bali)

Mie Aceh Goreng   (spicy fried noodles from Aceh)

Nasi Ulam   (steamed rice in sweet soy sauce soup with meat and vegetables from Jakarta)

Paniki   (bat cooked in spices from Sulawesi)

Gule Kambing   (mutton curry from East Java)

Nasi Kucing   (dried fish and rice dish from Yogyakarta)

Nasi Gudeg   (Javanese jackfruit and chicken dish served with rice)

Papeda   (sago congee served with mackerel from Maluku and Papua)

Gulai Ayam   (chicken curry from Sumatra)

Betutu   (Balinese steamed chicken in spices)

Cakalang Fufu   (grilled smoked tuna skipjack from Sulawesi)

Sate Padang   (Padang style satay in thick yellow sauce)

Ayam Taliwang   (chicken in spicy herbs from Lombok)

Roti Cane   (Indian bread with beef curry from West Sumatra)

Sangsang   (Batak style meat stew)

Tongseng   (goat curry soup from Central Java)

 

DESSERT

 

Angsle   (hot soup of sago pearls and mung beans)

Serabi   (coconut and rice pancakes)

Bakpia Pathok   (bean cake from Yogyakarta)

Bubur Kacang Hijau   (green been porridge)

Cendil   (Javanese sweet rice and coconut cake)

Gethuk   (Javanese cassava paste)

Klepun   (glutinous rice balls)

Es Teler   (avocado, jelly and jackfruit in coconut milk)

Es Cendol   (coconut milk and jelly)

Kolak   (stewed banana, cassava and pumpkin)

Kue Putu   (sweet coconut cake)

Pisang Goreng   (deep fried bananas)

Lupis   (glutinous rice balls in coconut syrup)

 

 

 

STEP SIX:  HOW TO PREPARE THE FOOD

A RECIPE FOR NASI GORENG

 

It wouldn’t be right to just taste the food. Getting involved in the preparation of the food is just as important for becoming immersed in the culture of the language. By far, nasi goreng is the dish most known to Indonesians and foreigners alike when mentioning anything typically Indonesian. It’s fairly easy to make and in this clip, there is an easy recipe to follow.

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:  MUSIC

POPULAR MUSIC IN INDONESIA

 

While it is true that traditional Indonesian music, such as gamelan, is essential for understanding the culture of the language, it depends on personal taste. Music that contains songwords (lyrics) is far more useful for learning the language. Obviously, with a population of over 200 million, there is a huge demand for popular (local) music and below is a list of some recent hits. Indonesian popular music is heavily influenced by international trends, especially rock music from the USA or Japan.  

 

Tulalit (Cinta Laura)   -   German born female pop singer from Jakarta

Sesuatu  (Syahrini)   -   female pop singer from West Java

Itu Aku (Sheila on 7)   -   alternative rock band from Yogyakarta

Natural (D’Masiv)   -   rock band from Jakarta

Ketahuan (Matta Band)   -   rock band from Bandung

Terluka (Eren)   -   female singer from Lampung in Sumatra

Aku dan Kamu (Five Minutes)   -   another rock band from Bandung

Jangan Letih Mencintaiku (Asbak Band)   -   pop rock band from Jakarta

Sakura (Fariz RM)   -   one of Indonesia’s most famous male pop singers of all time

Disaat Aku Mencintaimu (Dadali)   -   pop band from Bogor

Matahariku (Agnes Monica)   -   female singer from Jakarta

Aku Yang Tersakiti (Judika)   -   male pop singer who orginated from Indonesia Idol

Tak Rela (Merpati)   -   rock band from West Java

Sang Dewi (Titi DJ)   -   female soul singer from Jakarta

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  SPORT

FOOTBALL IN INDONESIA

 

Like most parts of the world, Indonesians are passionate about football (soccer) and there are many successful players who have made a name for themselves in European teams. Watching a local sport, in its local language, is another way to understand the minds of the local people. Here’s a recent match between Indonesia and East Timor.

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

POPULAR MOVIES IN INDONESIA

 

With its huge population, Indonesia has an insatiable market for home-grown movies – despite fierce competition from movies in English (USA), Hindi (India), Mandarin (China) and Japanese (Japan). It is recently making a comeback after suffering a decade in decline. Indonesian movies are back with a vengeance. Here’s a list of some popular movies that were released in the last few years.

 

Alangkah Lucunya  -  comedy that parodies Indonesian society

7 Hati 7 Cinta 7 Wanita  -  story about seven women who are unknowlngly interconnected

Minggu Pagi di Victoria Park  -  touching story about Indonesians working in Hong Kong

Jamila dan Sang Presiden  -  movie about a prostitute who is sentenced to death for killing a government minister

Ruma Maida  -  story about a young Christian man who runs a house for street kids in Jakarta

Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet  -  story about a woman who was sexually abused as a child

Di Bawah Pohon  -  movie about three women who travel to Bali

Get Married  -  comedy about a tomboy who is forced to find a husband

Mengejar Mas-Mas  -  comedy about a girl who runs away to Yogyakarta

Kamulah Satu Satunya  -  comedy about life in a coastal town compared to the big city

Nagabonar Jadi 2  -  the comedy sequel about a father and son

Identitas  -  story about a man who loses his wife

2 Hati  -  teen romance set in Jakarta

 

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Talking to native speakers is an obvious step to fluency and making friends with locals is a sure way to improve communication skills. However, if you happen to be very far from where those native speakers live then it’s a good idea to try finding some native speakers online, where it is then possible to arrange a time to chat on Skype. Find a speaker of the same level so that both parties benefit from the language exchange. Here are two good websites for finding language exchange partners.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange  http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

BUSINESS WORDS IN BAHASA INDONESIA

 

If you’re learning this language for work, it’s also important to know some business vocabulary in the line of work you’re involved in. This motivates us to learn faster as it reminds us that our career relies on us to learn the language. Here’s a short clip of some Indonesian graduates and what they have to say.

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

HOW THE PEOPLE INTERACT

 

To understand how native speakers communicate in a language it is important to also understand how they relate to each other, whether positively or negatively. Here is a rather patriotic clip that shows how Indonesians perceive their own country and what it means to be a part of this great archipelago known as Republik Indonesia.

 

 

LEARN RUSSIAN ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  UNDERSTANDING THE PEOPLE

A VISUAL GLIMPSE OF WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

 

As an introduction, we should first look at a few images of where the language is spoken. This is a language spoken not only by those in Russia but also in neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus, totalling 144 million native speakers. This includes many speakers in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and other parts of the ex-Soviet Union.  In Kyrgyzstan it is still a co-official language and it still has considerable influence in countries such as Mongolia where it is the most popular foreign language taught in schools.

On top of the Russian speakers in what was once known as the USSR, there are over 750,000 Russian speakers in Israel who are mainly Russian Jewish migrants and large communities of Russians living in the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada and many of the ex-Soviet republics. In all there are over 114 million speakers of Russian as a second language, and when added to the number of native speakers, this number totals more than 258 million speakers. It’s no wonder that Russian is considered one of the official languages used by the United Nations.  

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

ST. PETERSBURG

 

In this step we take a closer look at the language by visiting a place where it is spoken. St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and a major tourist attraction because of its many beautiful buildings. The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum are the most visited of these buildings. Not only does a visual tour of a city make us want to go there, it reminds us of why we’re learning the language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PART OF A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

THE MOSCOW METRO

 

In previous blogs we have looked at a typical market where the language is spoken and where the language can be seen visually. The Moscow Metro is such an iconic part of the city and like all forms of public transport, there are plenty of signs to be seen. Most interestingly, the Moscow Metro does not have signs in other languages – only in Russian. This makes it somewhat unique compared to metro systems all over the world, where there are usually also signs in English.     

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

Russian television has experienced something of a boom in the last ten years, due mainly to the relaxing of media ownership but also because of its huge audience of native speakers. The variety of programmes is immense and this is an essential step for understanding how those speakers behave in different situations. Television is a fun and insightful way to follow characters and see how they interact with others in their native language. Here is a list of some recent favourites.

 

My Fair Nanny (Моя прекрасная няня) – based on the US sitcom, The Nanny, but with a Ukrainian nanny living in Moscow

Russian Translation (pусский перевод) – set during the Soviet era diplomatic tactics in South Yemen

One Night of Love (Одна ночь любви) – period drama set in St Petersburg

Daddy’s Daughters (Папины дочки) – sitcom about a therapist’s family

SPETS (Cпец)  -  real life drama about the Mafia in a Far Eastern Russian town

The Idiot (Идиот)  -  period drama set in Tsarist Russia

U.E. (У.E.)  -  crime series about a retired colonel and a money laundering case

The Cadets (Курсанты) -  series about cadets in World War 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad

The Little Golden Calf (Золотой телёнок) -  adaptation of the 1931 novel about a petty criminal who strikes it rich

Urban Legends ( Городские легенды) -  series about unusual occurrences in Russian society

Young Wolfhound (Молодой Волкодав)  -  fantasy action series set in the European Dark Ages

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:  FOOD

RUSSIAN CUISINE

 

Visiting a Russian restaurant, whether in Russia or abroad, is an interesting way to explore its food and learn more about what Russians eat. This is a vital part of the process of learning a language and one we should definitely not avoid. Besides, who would want to avoid this part? Here’s a delicious list of some typical dishes around the Russian speaking world.

 

ENTRÉE

 

Okroshka  -  cold soup of raw vegetables and fermented rye bread

Shchi  -  cabbage soup

Botvinya  -  beet soup

Ukha  -  fish broth

Rassolnik  -  hot cucumber soup

Solyanka  -  pickled vegetable soup popular all over Eastern Europe

Lapsha  -  noodle broth from Tatarstan

Shuba  -  dressed herring

Olivier Salad  -  known also as Russian salad

Borscht  -  Ukrainian beetroot soup

Shorba with Baursak  -  Kazakh style soup with fried salted dough

Morkov po-Koreiski  -  Korean carrots, a spicy salad dish from Sakhalin

 

MAIN

 

Pelmeni  -  meat dumplings served with Smetana (sour cream)

Kholodets  -  pork aspic

Vareniki  -  Ukrainian stuffed dumplings

Kotlety  -  pan fried meatballs

Shashlyk  -  meat barbecue from the Caucasus but common all over Russia

Pirozhki  -  stuffed meat pies

Blini  -  think pancakes served with ham, cheese and mushroom (different from dessert blini)

Kotleta po-Kyivsky  -  stuffed chicken cutlet from Ukraine (Chicken Kiev)

Plov  -  Uzbek rice dish otherwise known as Pilaf in other parts of Central Asia

Draniki  -  Belarusian potato pancakes

Qistibi  -  Tatar style potato flat cakes

Peremech  -  Volga style meat turnovers

Sarburma  -  Crimean lamb pie

Chuchvara  -  Uzbek style mini dumplings served with pickled vegetables

 

DESSERT

 

Syrniki  -  curd fritters with honey and apple sauce

Vatrushka  -  cottage cheese cake with fruit and raisins

Kefir  -  Turkic fermented milk drink

Chakchak  -  honey drenched pastry balls from Tatarstan

Kissel  -  sweet berry soup served with semolina pudding

Sushki  -  tea bread that looks like a bagel

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:  HOW TO PREPARE THE FOOD

BLINI (RUSSIAN PANCAKES)

 

One of the easiest dishes to make for this language is blini, which can be sweet or savoury. In this recipe it is a savoury blini with ham and cheese. Often referred to as a crepe in other parts of the world, blini is a popular street food found all over Russia. This step is necessary to learn how to follow instructions and to further understand how the food is prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:  MUSIC

LISTENING TO POPULAR MUSIC SUNG IN RUSSIAN

 

The amazing thing about Russian popular music is its expanse. A major hit not only guarantees instant success in Russia but can spread to other countries such as Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and wherever else the Russian language is appreciated. Many singers from those countries have broken into the Russian music scene as well. Dan Balan (Moldova), Vera Brezhneva (Ukraine) and TT34 (Belarus) are only some examples. One of the positive legacies of the break-up of the Soviet Union is the music that still links all of these republics. Here’s a list of some recent releases.   

 

Москва  -  DJ Smash & Винтаж (Vintage)  Combination of two well known dance acts

Я тебя тоже нет (Je T'aime)  -  Ева Польна (Eva Polna)  Popular female pop singer

Всё решено  -  Elvira T  Another popular female pop singer

Спектакль окончен  -  Полина Гагарина (Paulina Gagarina)

Так не бывает - Дима Билан (Dima Bilan)  Currently the most famous male singer in Russia

Вы ше - Нюша (Nyusha)  One of Russia's most successful female singers

Хорошая песня - Митя Фомин (Mitya Fomin)  Male singer of more alternative styles of pop

Bсё хорошо - Марк Тишман (Mark Tishman)  Recently popular Russian male pop singer

Лабиринт - Дискотека Авария (Diskoteka Avariya)  One of the pioneers of Russian house music

Ты мой герой - Инфинити (Infinity)  Russian dance act

Реальная жизнь - Вера Брежнева (Vera Brezhneva)  Ukrainian singer who is very famous in Russia

Кареглазая - Фактор 2 (Faktor 2)  Russian hip-hop duo currently based in Germany

Просто любовь - Любэ (Lyube)  Russian rock band that dates back quite a while now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  SPORT

APPRECIATING SPORTS AND HOBBIES THAT THE LOCALS ARE INTERESTED IN

 

 

Sport (like music and food) is an integral part of culture that often defines a society. Understanding what entertains the native speakers, whether it’s a traditional game or a pastime that has been handed down for hundreds of years, is an important part of learning the language and the culture behind it. In this part of the world, football (soccer) is popular but due to the climatic conditions of most regions where Russian is spoken, other sports such as ice hockey and ice skating are enjoyed. Here’s a clip of a Russian boy who’s quite good on his skates. 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

WATCHING MOVIES IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

 

The Russian film industry is not as large as some other linguistic regions but it is still a huge industry and each year, several blockbusters are released to the general public. Moscow is, by far, the centre of the movie making world for Russian film.  It’s important to try to watch these movies without subtitles in another language as that will slow down the process. Try to watch them with Russian subtitles or no subtitles at all, and little by little, you’ll start to understand the gist of each situation. Here’s a list of some recent releases.

 

 

 

Returning to the A / Возвращение в «А»  -  story about 2 Kazakh soldiers in Afghanistan

Burnt by the Sun 2 / Утомлённые солнцем 2  -  the sequel to the original World War 2 action movie (Russia’s biggest budget movie ever)

The Edge /  Край  -  Russian war movie set on a runaway train

Strayed / Заблудившийся  -  Kazakh thriller set in a remote part of Kazakhstan 

Ward Number 6 / Палата № 6  -  Russian movie set in a mental asylum where three patients plan a trip 

Mermaid / Русалка  -  story about a girl who can make wishes come true and who travels to Moscow

12  -  a jury of twelve must decide the fate of a Chechen boy who has been accused of murder 

9th Company / 9 Рота -  Russian war movie about Afghanistan

The Return / Возвращение  -  Russian drama about two boys whose father suddenly returns

Tulpan / Тюльпан  -  story about a young Kazakh man who must find a wife (dialogue also in Kazakh)

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Obviously it is through people that we will improve the language and there is no better way than communicating with native speakers. That might be slightly difficult if you’re in a place where there are few speakers of that language. In that case, it’s always a good idea to look for native speakers on websites for language exchange partners like these ones below.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL WORK CULTURE

 

Working in the country where the language is spoken enables us to improve our vocabulary tremendously, provided we’re in a work environment where that language is spoken. Learning some work vocabulary also gives us a sense of worth and encourages us to stay longer in that country, if that is the intention. 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

HOW THESE SPEAKERS INTERACT

 

Sometimes we also need to understand the social problems associated with a particular language, even if it’s a rather uncomfortable topic. Quite often, the mass migration that occurs from east to west (usually from Central Asia to Eastern Russia) can cause conflicts between communities and this clip looks at a typical conflict between Russian police and Uzbek migrants.

 

 

 

 

LEARN ARABIC ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:   WHERE IS IT SPOKEN?

 

Arabic is a language spoken in 26 countries across North Africa and the Middle East by over 400 million people and by many more who live in non-Arabic speaking Muslim countries. The main dialects of Arabic are Egyptian, Levantine (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine etc), Gulf (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc) and Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia etc). There are also millions of Arabic speakers in countries where Arabs have migrated, such as France, the USA, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Australia. To begin with this language, it is important to understand where it is spoken.

 

 

 

STEP TWO:    TO CHOOSE A CITY WHERE IT IS SPOKEN

 

CAIRO

 

Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world and as such, it is of major importance in this region. By looking at a city and observing its movements we are able to imagine what it's like to be in this city - and this is important to further understand where it is spoken.

 

 

 

STEP THREE:   TO VISIT A MARKET

 

THE SOUKS OF DAMASCUS

 

Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world and its souks are like labyrinths with hidden mosques, narrow laneways and exotic stores. Exploring a city's markets provides us with an insight of how the language is written and this is an essential step for becoming familiar with the written form of the language.

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:   SITUATIONS

 

 

TELEVISION

 

Watching television in Arabic is a great way to become acquainted with how people behave and react in certain situations. Drama is the best example but also reality TV or entertaining sit-coms can show us how the local people interact. Some of these TV programs are particularly popular during Ramadan. Here is a short list of some good examples of Arabic television.

 

Al Qarar  -  reality TV show hosted by Saudi actor Abdel Muhsen Al Nimer

Al-Gamaa (The Group)  -  TV series loosely based on the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt

Al-Adham  -  drama series about a man who goes to Ukraine with some illegal immigrants

Private Number  -  crime drama from Egypt

Ayza Atgawez  -  Egyptian drama series about a pharmacist who wants to get married before turning thirty

Nona El Mazouna  -  sit-com about a typical Egyptian family

Elder of Ziyon  -  Syrian / Egyptian production about the life of Cleopatra

Sonbol Baed el Million  -  drama series from Egypt

Sarah – Lebanese drama series that follows the life of a woman

Ajyal – Lebanese drama series about a family in Beirut

Survivor – Arabic version on LBC (Lebanon) based on the successful franchise

The Doctors – Arabic version of the American medical talk show which is aired on Dubai TV

Ahmar Bel Khat El Arid – controversial Lebanese talk show on LBC

Bakkar – cartoon about a Nubian boy that always seems to have a moral message at the end

Al Khobz Al Haram – Syrian drama series

Tash Ma Tash – Saudi sit-com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:    LEARNING ABOUT THE LOCAL FOOD

 

Food in this part of the world is varied and it ranges from delicious couscous and tagine in Morocco and Algeria to amazing tabouleh and hoummos in Lebanon. Learning about the food that people eat is a great way to learn more about the culture behind the language. Here is a rather extensive list of some popular foods enjoyed in this region.

 

 

ENTRÉE

 

Harira (lentil & tomato soup from Morocco)

Lablabi (chickpea & garlic soup from Libya)

Freekeh soup (green wheat soup popular in the Levant)

Mujjadara (sautéed lentils from Lebanon)

Esfiha (ground mutton mini pizzas from the Lebanese city of Baalbek)

Turshi (Iraqi pickled vegetables)

Hrisseh (wheat and ground chicken porridge popular all over the Levant)

Fattoush (crushed bread and chickpea salad from the Levant)

Khobz (flatbread found all over the Arab world)

Shorbat Ramman (pomegranate soup from Iraq)

Canjeelo (Somali style injera bread used for eating stews and dips)

Aseeda (Sudanese corn porridge)

Sakhana (Omani wheat and date soup)

Fatut (fried bread with eggs from Yemen)

Shahan Ful (fava bean salad from Sudan)

Gaspacho Oranais (Algerian soup that originated from Spain)

Fricasse (Tunisian tuna & harissa sandwiches)

Molokheyyah (Egyptian green soup)

Mana’oushe (Lebanese mini pizzas)

 

MEZZE

 

Tabbouleh (salad of parsley, tomato & chickpeas)

Baba ghanouj (eggplant dip)

Hummus (chickpea dip)

Labneh (strained yoghurt)

Tahini (sesame paste)

Za’atar (dried thyme & sumac)

Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)

Falafel (fried chickpea balls)

Kibbeh (ground lamb)

Kibbet Batata (potato kibbeh)

Kibbeh Nayyeh (raw kibbeh)

Tzatziki (Greek cucumber dip popular in Iraq)

 

MAIN

 

Kebab Karaz (cherry kebab from the Syrian city of Aleppo)

Qeema (minced meat, tomato & chickpea stew from Iraq)

Ogdat (spiced meat & vegetable stew from Yemen)

Maqluba (traditional rice & eggplant casserole from Jordan)

Matbucha (tomato & pepper stew from the Maghreb but also popular in the Middle East)

Saltah (spicy meat stew from Yemen)

Makdous (Lebanese stuffed eggplant)

Shish Taouk (Lebanese grilled chicken skewers)

Quzi (stuffed roast lamb from Iraq)

Ful Meddames (Egyptian fava bean stew)

Couscous (world famous semolina with meat & vegetables from the Maghreb countries)

Kefta (grilled meatballs eaten all over the Arab world)

Merguez (spicy lamb sausage from Algeria but also found in Morocco & Tunisia)

Kebdah (fried liver from Alexandria in Egypt)

Shawarma (grilled meat dish found all over the Arab world)

Macaroni béchamel (Egyptian dish similar to Greek pastitsio or Italian lasagne)

Hammana (Lebanese kidney bean stew)

Kebab Hindi (Syrian rolled meat in tomato paste)

Masgouf (baked & marinated river fish from Iraq)

Kushari (lentils & chickpeas macaroni from Egypt)

Kabsa (grilled meat & rice from Sudan)

Bazeen (flour dumpling in tomato sauce from Libya)

Kousa Mahshi (Lebanese stuffed zucchini)

Shish Barak (meat dumplings in yoghurt from Lebanon)

Bamya (okra in tomato sauce from Jordan)

Mahshi Hammam (rice stuffed pigeon from Egypt)

Pastilla (chicken & almond dish from Morocco)

Tagine (popular meat & vegetable dish found all over the Maghreb and also in Egypt)

Douma (baked lamb & yoghurt on rice from Lebanon)

Samak Mashwy (grilled fish from Alexandria in Egypt)

Chakhchoukha (Tunisian flatbread vegetable stew found all across North Africa)

Mansaf (baked lamb in fermented yoghurt from Jordan)

Moutabal with Sambusak (puréed potato & eggplant with meat doughballs from the Levant)

Musakhan (Palestinian sumac-scented roast chicken on taboon bread)

 

DESSERT

 

Basbusa (semolina & walnut)

Baklava (sweet filo pastry with honey & nuts found all over the Middle East & Europe)

Kanafeh (vermicelli sweet pastry found everywhere)

Asida (sweet dumplings found all over North Africa)

Kleicha (Iraqi date or cardamom cookies also found in the Gulf countries)

Halwa (tahini or sesame based sweet with nuts)

 

 

STEP SIX:    LEARNING HOW THE FOOD IS PREPARED

 

HOW TO MAKE COUSCOUS

 

Couscous is a semolina based meat and vegetable dish (sometimes without meat) that is popular all throughout the Maghreb region from Morocco to Algeria, Tunisia and Libya as well as being very well known in Egypt and of course, wherever Arabs have migrated. Here is an easy recipe for couscous. Following a recipe is a valuable way to learn more about the food and how to follow instructions in a language.

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:    APPRECIATING THE MUSIC

 

Following the music in a language is an enjoyable way to learn and it allows us to understand what the local people are into when it comes to musical taste. In the Arab world this can vary from Rai music in Algeria to songs from popular Egyptian movies. All types of modern music are represented in this part of the world.

 

 

Ya Kethar (Nancy Ajram) – Lebanese singer

Chahlat Laayani (Mohamed Reda) – Moroccan pop singer

Baya al Ward (Amal Hijazi) – female Lebanese singer that has often caused controversy

Barmi el Salam (Hani Metwari) – Jordanian male singer

Ya Hazzi w Qalbi (Diana Haddad) – Lebanese pop singer who now lives in Dubai

Akheran Etgaraa (Sherine) – Egyptian pop singer from Cairo

Tsadaq Bmein (Elissa) – Lebanese pop singer

Men Walou (Chouf T Chouf) – Moroccan rap group

Tunisino (Neshez) – alternative band from Tunisia

Ma 3ad Bade Yak (Melhem Zein) – Lebanese male singer

Marafsh Leh (Nawal el Zoghbi)  - very famous female Lebanese singer from Byblos

Layali (Nydal ft Dr Mdzo) – Lebanese pop / rap artist with some lyrics in French

Enta al Ghali (Amr Diab) – probably the most successful Arab singer from Port Said in Egypt

Mar2et mn 7addi (Apik Aroyan) – male singer from Aleppo in Syria

Nti Tzawajti wa Ana Rani Fel Barr (DJ Aminouv ft Hasni Sghir) – remixed Rai artist from Algeria

Ya Majnoun (Haifa Wehbe) – another very famous female Lebanese pop singer

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  GETTING INVOLVED IN LOCAL SPORTS

 

FOOTBALL IN THE ARAB WORLD

 

Like most of the world, the Arabic speaking countries are big fans of football (soccer) and many have renowned national teams, such as Morocco and Algeria. The Gulf countries (U.A.E. and Qatar, for example) spend millions of dollars to attract world renowned teams to their stadiums. Following a game in the local language shows us what the native speakers are interested in - and here's one example of a match in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

STEP NINE:   FILM

 

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL CINEMA IN THE ARAB WORLD

 

Most movies that come out of the Arab world originate from Cairo in Egypt. This city is by far the largest producer of Arabic language movies and its influence over the rest of the Arab world is enormous. It is therefore no surprise that Egyptian Arabic has a cultural advantage over other dialects because of its film distribution. However, many movies are also made in Lebanon and the Gulf countries. Here's a short list of some recent releases.

 

 

Lust  -  Egyptian movie by controversial director Khaled El Hagar

Where Do We Go Now? -  very inspiring Lebanese movie about a town divided between Christians and Muslims

Messages from the Sea  -  Egyptian movie filmed on location in Alexandria

Son of Babylon  -  Iraqi movie about a young boy in the Gulf War

Casanegra  -  Moroccan movie about Casablanca’s underworld    

Captain Abu Raed  -  Jordanian movie about an old man who claims he was a pilot

Sous les Bombes  -  Lebanese movie about a mother who returns to Lebanon to find her son

Salt of this Sea  -   Movie about an American woman who returns to her homeland of Palestine

In the Heliopolis Flat  -  Egyptian movie set in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis

Caramel  -  One of Lebanon’s best movies to date, about a group of women in a hair salon

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

 

SKYPE

 

Communicating with native speakers is a very effective way to improve language skills. There are several websites where it is possible to get connected with people who speak the language and then arrange a time to speak with them on Skype. Here are two useful websites:

 

The Mixxer  http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange  http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

 

WORKING IN DUBAI 

 

In the Arab world, the Gulf countries offer many opportunities for those seeking better career prospects. Learning work vocabulary helps us to become more motivated to learn the language for career purposes. There is an example above of working in Dubai. 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

 

THE ARAB SPRING

 

In 2011 many countries in the Arab world experienced mass protests and changes of government, particularly in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Other countries are still struggling with existing governments in Syria and Bahrain. Here is a heated argument about the turmoils of the uprising in Tunisia.  

 

 

 

 

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