“All Strangers Are Kin” Book Discussion | SF
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Green Apple Books on the Park | 1231 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA
Submitted by the Event Organizer
The “shadda” is the key difference between a pigeon (hamam) and a bathroom (hammam). Be careful, the professor advised, in the first moment of outright humor in class, that you don’t ask a waiter, Excuse me, where is the pigeon? or, conversely, order a roasted toilet.
If you ve ever studied a foreign language, you know what happens when you first truly and clearly communicate with another person. As Zora O Neill recalls, you feel like “a magician.” If that foreign language is Arabic, you just might feel like a wizard. They say that Arabic takes seven years to learn and a lifetime to master. O Neill had put in her time. Steeped in grammar tomes and outdated textbooks, she faced an increasing certainty that she was not only failing to master Arabic, but also driving herself crazy.
She took a decade-long hiatus, but couldn’t shake her fascination with the language or the cultures it had opened up to her. So she decided to jump back in this time with a new approach. A powerful testament to the dynamism of language, “All Strangers Are Kin” reminds us that learning another tongue leaves you rich with so much more than words.
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