2012 Field Season

Learning The Language Of Others

Posted on Feb 14, 2012

Posted by Alexandra Jacobsen

I was given the wonderful opportunity to return as a volunteer this year. I realized very quickly that only knowing a few words in Arabic from my last trip was not going to be enough this season. Archaeology itself is difficult but learning archaeology in Arabic is extremely challenging. I was fortunate to find two wonderful Egyptian archaeologists from the field school, Mohamed Elkhateeb and Hanan Mahmoud to give me lessons.

I am slowly building my vocabulary. There are many different dialects. Mohamed and Hanan are teaching me what you would call their “slang”. I write down everything I learn in my notebook and Mohammad has graciously given up a few of his lunch breaks to “test” me on my progress. Learning Arabic is not required since everyone on the project speaks English, but I feel learning a language can teach you about the people and their cultural heritage. Egypt especially has such a rich history; you can learn so much by just having a conversation with an Egyptian. I am truly grateful for my teachers!



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