gemma! was invited to the 3rd Intercultural Family Festival at the Bildungshaus Schloss St. Martin and asked to hold two workshops. One of these workshops was about languages, more specifically Arabic and Dari, which our participants introduced to the festival visitors.
But how do you teach people a language that is so different from their own? And how do you do it without a suitable textbook? You write your own, of course! This was how the idea for Chat with gemma! came about.
Since the book was intended for use at an introductory workshop, we decided to limit ourselves to a booklet for now – peu à peu. We wanted it to include a collection of terms and phrases that you can not only use as a beginner, but that you also hear on the street, for example. After all, it's not just about teaching Dari and Arabic, but also about promoting mutual understanding by offering some insight into other languages and cultures.
We sat down with our participants and asked them to collect some words and phrases in Arabic and Dari that are commonly heard in the street at home. They added a few other everyday words, and that's it! Well, not quite, but at least the first step was done.
We then categorised the collected material of both languages and had our young participants translate it so that we could capture everything in (Austrian) German. Then it was time to write, or rather type, everything up: all the words and phrases had to be provided in their original alphabet. Finally, we tried to reproduce the pronunciation using the Latin alphabet: Our young participants read us the word or sentence (slowly) as we wrote it down.
The results are pretty impressive: the final booklet, "let's chat!", has two sections, one for Syrian Arabic, one for Dari. On the left side of each page are the words in German and on the right side there is the equivalent in the original language, complete with the pronunciation. It makes learning much easier!
As you can gather, behind our beautiful little booklet there is a fair amount of work, which we are always happy to do for gemma! Unfortunately, work is not enough to ensure we can continue carrying out such great projects with our participants. This is why we would like to ask you to support our work with a small contribution.