Today, weather permitting, I’ll launch my experiment in studying derija by listening to A Basic Course in Moroccan Arabic while I walk home. It takes about an hour to get from the loop to Humboldt Park. One of the underlying theories here is that you attract fewer stares if you talk to yourself while briskly walking down the street, rather than standing in a crowded el train.
I bought my first ipod specifically for this and I’m excited. The sound quality on the mp3s that came with the book is sometimes awful, but there are not many options for learning derija—as opposed to Modern Standard Arabic (fus’ha) or Egyptian.
I decided about a month ago to study Moroccan informally, as opposed to taking a fus’ha class, and lo, I’ve found it much easier to retain vocabulary when I know I’ll have occasion to use the word in everyday conversation. Eventually, inshallah, I’ll be able to carry on a conversation with a handful of language partners before dazzling my friends with my derija when I finally get to Morocco.