eskandar wrote:though this year I might finally start doing Italian, a language I've been telling myself I should study (without doing anything about it) since 2010, if not longer
In my field, there are some important works written in Italian that I need to read for my research, and given that I can easily read French and Spanish, learning to read Italian shouldn't be difficult. I "should" also (re-)learn to read German someday, but I have no plans to do so in the near future.
Yasna wrote:Funny you perceived it that way. I thought it was a nice little introduction to some significant Arabic literature that most viewers (myself included) were probably largely unaware of. And it was fun and inspirational to hear the conversation be held in Arabic.
If the goal was to introduce Arabic literature, he should have just had the professor speak, or at least did a proper interview where the host asks short, open-ended questions and the guest gives long answers. I think one of the things that annoyed me was that he's got a professor of Arabic literature in the room, and rather than really interviewing him about Arabic literature--something his guest has devoted his life to studying--he uses the guy to make himself look good, when he's an utter dilettante on the subject. Many of his questions sounded like "here is what I think; do you agree that I am smart?" (And the professor was very polite: "yes, yes, you are so smart, that's exactly right.") But to be fair, if you found it informative and inspiring, then it's clearly achieved some purpose.
Just wondering, but how did you ascertain that? Based on the subtitles, I got the sense that Arguelles was limited in his ability to respond intelligently to points the Arabic professor was making, but I didn't notice that he was having significant trouble understanding what was being said.
His English subtitles for the Arabic professor get some parts wrong, and leave some things out entirely, which I imagine were words and phrases he didn't understand well enough to translate. I didn't watch the whole video, but even in the part I watched, I think there was an occasion or two when the professor asked Arguelles a question and Arguelles didn't understand at first, struggled to respond, or his response showed that he didn't really understand the question. Mostly the professor says something and then Arguelles says something unrelated, or says جيد ("good" - and that's not even the right word in the context, where حسناً would be better) and then moves on to a different topic. All of that left me with the impression that he got the gist or broad strokes of what was being said but didn't understand much more than that. But again, maybe I'm being uncharitable here.
One last point, and one that I'm sure you know. Watching someone speak a second language that you don't speak is always very impressive. I was always in awe watching non-natives having conversations in difficult-to-learn languages with seeming ease, and assumed they must know them very well. Then I had an experience that made me see things differently. A friend came to visit me when I was living in Paris and we went out to a restaurant. I ordered food for us, and afterwards my friend told me how impressed she was with my fluent French. I was shocked because I knew how truly terrible my French was. But my accent is fairly decent, and I was able to speak quickly and confidently, so my non-francophone friend had no idea that I had made grammatical mistakes, or that the waiter had asked if I wanted ??? [some word I totally didn't understand] so I'd just said "no thanks" instead of asking him to repeat himself. Bref
, to the non-francophone, I seemed like I was totally fluent, whereas to the French-speaking waiter, I probably seemed like an idiot.