I starting learning Arabic in 2001 partly because it is a major world language with speakers in many countries, some of which I would like to visit; partly as a challenge, and partly because knowing it would be useful when building Arabic websites.
After investigating the Arabic language courses available at that time, I chose Mastering Arabic, which teaches you Modern Standard Arabic, the lingua franca of the Arabic-speaking world. Before embarking on my first trip to an Arabic-speaking country, Morocco, in December 2001, I managed to work my way through the first ten lessons of Mastering Arabic, which covered pronunciation, the writing system, a few words and a bit of grammar. Unfortunately this wasn't sufficient to hold even a basic conversation in Arabic. This wasn't a problem though as many people in Morocco speak French so I was able to converse with them in that language.
After returing from my adventures in Morocco, my Arabic studies were put on hold and I started learning Italian instead in preparation for a trip to Sicily.
I plan to learn more Arabic in the not too distant future - probably in 2007. I will be learning Egyptian Colloquial Arabic with Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic and Colloquial Arabic of Egypt, and plan to visit Egypt at some point as well. Once I've got a reasonable command of Egyptian Arabic, I may have another go a Modern Standard Arabic.
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