Tuesday, September 11, 2007

hebrew and arabic cds

Well, we're back on the homeschooling wagon for at least another year. Rachel missed the cutoff date in our district by two weeks, so we have elected to put her through kindergarten at home rather than miss the opportunity.

One of the things we're trying to do is to expose her to languages other than English. Spanish is easy -- on our recent trip to Mexico I commented that it was virtually like being in Iowa because there were so many people around us speaking Spanish -- but I'd like to include some non-European languages as well, if not to learn then at least to build some familiarity with the sounds and the ebb and flow.

And of course, one of the best ways to experience another language is through music, especially if it's a tune we already know. Music makes it easier to remember and even memorize a song, and if they're songs we already know, it becomes easier to get the meaning.

Amazingly, none of the Judaica shops that I have visited in nearby Hoover Point -- which has a significant Jewish population -- appear to carry CDs with Hebrew or Israeli folk music, or other music in Hebrew. I can continue to rely on YouTube for the experience, but that's kind of a pain in the tuchis. Does anyone have a suggestion where I could find some decent music in Hebrew without exorbitant shipping rates? This could be folk music, such as recorded by Ofra Haza, but it could also be the ever-popular Children's Songs from Hell, or even soundtracks of Disney movies and Broadway shows.

I'm also looking for CDs of Arabic songs of that nature, since it's the lingua franca of the Middle East. The Arabic I'm most familiar with personally -- I can say "Marhaba" and "Shou ismac" -- is Lebanese. It seems kind of odd that the language would be that varied from nation to nation, especially since the Quran must act in some capacity to tether the dialects together, but then I imagine Arabic is an older language than modern English, and had more time to develop regional variations before mass communication set in.

Anyway, I am told that Egyptian is the most universally understood dialect, owing to the popularity of Egyptian television. Maybe that would be a good place to start.

And as I've been thinking about this further, I suppose the best songs to start with really would be songs they're already familiar with, whether popular children's songs, or soundtracks from movies and plays.

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