Mount Carmel Arabic Immersion

اللغة العربيّة

The Arabic Language

The Arabic spoken by the Druze community of the Carmel is ideally placed within the Arabic spoken along the Fertile Crescent -- which stretches from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, through Lebanon and Syria, to Iraq. Carmel Druze Arabic also retains some elements of Classical Arabic pronunciation that many others in the region have lost, but may be heard in parts of Syria or Iraq.

Learning Arabic with Mount Carmel Arabic Immersion will therefore provide you with a uniquely solid base for delving deeper into the colloquial Arabic spoken anywhere in the Levant, as well as in the wider region from Egypt to the Persian Gulf.

Arabic is Israel’s second official language, after Hebrew. Arabic is part of Israel’s everyday landscape – Street signs and signs on public buildings are trilingual (Hebrew, Arabic and English), as are currency bills, allowing constant exposure to the Arabic script and concepts. Government offices, public utilities, many municipalities, and other service providers offer service in Arabic alongside Hebrew. Israeli television includes Arabic programming and Hebrew or foreign programs often include Arabic subtitles, so you can learn Arabic even while watching an American sitcom.

Arabic is the dominant language in many towns and villages, as well as in Arab districts of mixed cities. One-fifth of Israel’s citizenry belongs to the Arab community, which is itself a complex mosaic of Muslim, Christian (belonging to a variety of churches), Druze, and Bedouin (who are also Muslim) communities.

Arabic is also spoken by many Israeli Jews, particularly among older generations of families with roots in the historic Jewish communities of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen or North Africa, but also among professionals whose work demands proficiency in the language. Arabic words and phrases are commonly used in colloquial Israeli Hebrew.

With such a wide range of speakers, the Arabic spoken in Israel can also be categorized in many different dialects and idioms. Even residents of the same town or village belonging to different Arab communities often have very distinct forms of pronunciation. In a city such as Haifa, you can hear everything from Iraqi Arabic to Jewish dialects from North Africa. In northern Israel alone you may come across 4 or 5 ways to pronounce the letter qaf (ق).

Depending on who pours it, “coffee” (قهوة) can be called ’ahweh, gahwa, qahweh, qhahwa or kahweh.

Learning the spoken Arabic of the Carmel villages - which is essentially the Syro-Palestinian dialect, but spoken with the nearly Classical Arabic pronunciation of letters and vowels, and occasional Iraqi influences - will give you an ideal basis for conversing in Arabic across this intriguing region. Additionally, Mount Carmel Arabic Immersion will ensure that its participants are exposed to other Arabic idioms through a wide range of encounters and activities.