Friday, February 03, 2006

Irksome Thingis

Two things have been bugging me lately.
The first one is pretty recent and occurs on a weekly if not daily basis.
I do not understand why I get chain-mail letters from my closest friends that have closing lines like “If you do not send this to 100 people, you’ll die in five days.” I mean why? I know that some people are superstitious and would rather send it to the number of people stated in the hateful email, but why anchor down your loved ones with this ridiculous and rather malicious email? Thank goodness for the subject line…delete those absurdities.

I chatted with my friend about the other bothersome issue that has been on my mind ever since I left Kuwait. I was in our district’s supermarket when I overheard a 30-something year old mother talk to her son who was still in his single-digits, “3abooooodi, what you want from here? Yallah pick what you want.”
I have noticed that a lot of young kids nowadays talk solely in English. Now, don’t get me wrong; I think it’s a must to master the English language, especially in our globalized world. But that does not mean you should disregard your mother tongue altogether.
Whenever I pick up my little brother from school, I hear a few parents uttering phrases in broken English while their young ones respond in a crisp American accent. I remember talking to my friend’s eleven year-old nephew, asking him about school and such. His response was a long, confused stare. “He doesn’t speak Arabic Erzulie,” my friend quietly said.
What gives? Am I the only one noticing this trend?

PS Pink Floyd - Hey You

at 12:48 AM

11 Comments

  1. Blogger McArabian posted at 1:26 AM  
    I think it goes back to what kind of nannies people are hiring nowadays. In my generation, a lot of the nannies were Indian, and they spoke both English and Arabic very well, but they stuck to speaking Arabic to communicate with my parents.
    The trend I've been noticing is hiring a lot of nannies from the Philippines. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that most of them only speak English, so that becomes the dominant language to communicate in, both with the kids and with the parents. So if you're parent, and your trying to communicate with your kid, you're probably going to do it in the language he most understands - unless you see what's going on and make an effort to include as much Arabic as you can with your communication.
  2. Blogger don_veto posted at 1:39 AM  
    I once hear a mom tell her kid, "you swim the table in water",

    meaning, saba7ti il tawla bil may

    in a bad Kuwaiti accent.

    If you are going to have your kids speak english, at least get a few lessons for yourself first.
  3. Blogger don_veto posted at 1:41 AM  
    Erzulie, you rock again, I just posted lyrics to Pink Floyd and you put up an MP3, great minds think alike.
  4. Blogger 7tenths posted at 3:33 AM  
    I haaaaate those chain emails, but even more: those damn chain msgs!! My own grandma sends me them!! Shako?! Y3ni min sejich you're still looking forward to good luck after all these years?! Khalas you're stuck with us now!! >:) (you shouldn't have complimented that smile! I'm sooo gonna kill it!) Anyway what I used to do back in my superstitious days was email/msg the life-changing 'message' to the required number of persons (assuming it was a reasonable 1 digit number!) while also erasing the bottom bit telling you to resend & threatening to ruin your life if you don't comply :) That way my superstitious side was satisfied without my ethics taking a blow ;) It got exhausting after a while, so now I just delete & curse the sender! (Sorry grandma..) :P

    As for the whole English vs Arabic thing, I barely escaped that trap myself :/ But you gotta admit that learning good English will certainly help these kids alot more in their near future, & while Arabic is still a must, these parents fail realize their negligence to the mother tongue :P It's funny when the kids correct their parents though, I do that to pops all the time ;) & y3ni small stupid stuff, his English is pretty damn good (mashallaaaaa!) :P
  5. Blogger Erzulie posted at 4:41 AM  
    McArabian: Well, that's the thing: Effort! I'm not going to dive into my "anti-nanny" talk because it's been done before, and second, it can be looked at as one-sided because we -my siblings and I- were never touched by any nanny. And that's another thing; I contemplated whether to place "American" accent mostly because some of the kids have an Indian or Philippino accent!

    Don_Veto: Lol! That's another thing as well! It's as if they're practicing English with their kids, grammatical mistakes and all.

    Don_Veto 2: ;P

    7tenths: Lol! Poor grandma! Well, I was referring to emails and such but yeah, I guess you can include the whole phone thing as well. Ugh, sometimes I get the same joke over and over again and it just gets exhausting to delete those damned things! Heh, and yeah, like I said, I do think learning English is a must. But the thing is, there should be somewhat of a balance! I too attempt to escape that little fall because I know that knowing both languages will be extremely handy, specifically in my field! Wow, that's a lot of exclamation marks...I feel like I'm yelling or something...
  6. Blogger Stinni posted at 7:53 AM  
    I noticed the trend and it bothers me to no end. It's all about being pompous in my opinion and it's hysterical (to me at least) to see parents talking to their children in broken English. It was like this in Venezuela in the 80s, at the height of oil wealth, so this trend isn't exclusive to Kuwait.

    Having said all that, I'm American and speak to my children in English - at home and in public, because it was essential for me that they understand/speak English to be able to have relationships with their relatives in the States. Recently, I hired a maid that speaks only Arabic (and her native tongue) so that my children could pick up some Arabic. (Listening to mommy speak it with the maid - not letting the maid take care of the children all day long which is another trend that irks me to no end...)
  7. Blogger William posted at 1:14 PM  
    I don't really know. Personally I find it hard if you know any more then one. I find myself mixing my languages alot, and I only speak one fluently. I don't know how confusing it is for someone raised here, but from an outside point of view, arabic varies drastically with certain phrases depending on where you are from. Like, I could learn to say something here "Kuwaiti Style" and it be totally not accurate in another part of the Middle East.

    English is pretty Universal. It's the primary language for many colleges and is used in the business market as well. You go anywhere in the world (with some exceptions), most people can speak a little english, at least very simple things. How many places can you go and someone speak even a single word in arabic and KNOW it's an arabic word?

    I think people rely on English too heavily though. Just like in the states: Some parts of the US there are communities that know VERY little English and are heavily spanish in concentration. Being fluent English there would be great, unless you were a firefighter or something like that.

    What I worry about here: People grow up speaking English and not being able to speak much arabic, let alone READ it, what if someone needs help? What if YOU need help and no one around speaks English?

    Eh, I dunno, but like McArabian said, the easiest way to communicate with your kids.

    Yala chica, masalam. (mixing again back there)
  8. Blogger A3sab posted at 3:44 PM  
    this is my take on this issue: Tikallimo 3arabi
  9. Blogger kila ma6goog posted at 5:22 PM  
    الأخت اريزولي

    أول شي شنو يعني اريزولي؟

    second about the msg on the bottom of the e mail recommending to send it to 5 7 10 10000 ppl or ull die..just ignore it!~

    i chek the mail , if its intrsting ill read, if not ill just delte without bothering to even read the recommendation at the bottom

    about the other problem , i think we cant get every thing we want at the same time, we all want our kids to speak perfect english as u said this is a MUST. however , the culture of the private schools in kuwait is taking over nowa days and we cant stop it, especially when the parents themselves are a private school students !

    am a 7koma student thats why i think i speak perfect kuwaiti and bad english:P so its easier to me to get my kids to private school and when they are home ill inforce the kwuaiti on them,,but if i was a private school student and am biassed towards the english than my kids will speak english in and out of school

    i think its a personal efforts from parents to force their kids to speak arabic and also have some knowldge about their culture
  10. Blogger MiYaFuSHi posted at 11:16 PM  
    I think they are trying to come off as 'sophisticated' (in their mind)

    Yes I noticed it. I also hate it when groups of friends who can't speak proper english chat away in broken english trying to sound hip.
  11. Blogger Erzulie posted at 2:56 AM  
    Stinni: I think the whole "prestige" factor could be applied here. It just sucks because it places English as a more superior language. Language hierarchy?

    William: You've got a lot of valid points. There are different dialects in the Arabic language but I'm mainly referring to the Kuwaiti one. I constantly try to talk with my friends in Kuwaiti because you kind of lose touch when you're speaking in English 24/7 (think college). I think that the old, nostalgic phrases of the Kuwaiti tongue are getting lost and all we have left is the younger generation mixing it up with frivilous slang. And I also agree that learning English is a must no matter where you are; it IS a universal language.

    A3sab: I totally agree :)

    Kila Ma6goog: I wrote about the meaning of my name on my first post ever :) It's a mythical character. And about the email: It just annoys me! Heh, and I don't believe in forcing anything on anyone, though I don't think you meant it that way :) But I agree...I think that in school (if the kids attend a private school) they should speak English but at home, I believe it will be beneficial to the children to practice and learn their mother tongue.

    Miyafushi: Awww crap! I hate that too! I was speaking to one of "those" girls the other day and she kept trying to have a heavier sounding "L" and "R" to sound more American! I was like "I can see -and hear- right through it!"

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