Unlocking language skills

Muscat: Meet an Omani and an expatriate who are passionate about Arabic.

Zaher al Salti teaches Omani dialect and culture while Nabeela Aslam Farshori, a writer, loves to learn Arabic.
Both saw lockdown as an opportunity to perfect their skills. Zaher has been teaching Arabic for non-natives since 2012 and is currently working as a freelancer.

Zahar began his career teaching English in Omani schools. Later, he taught Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) at Christopher Newport University (CNU), Virginia, US. He returned to Oman in 2012 and has since continued to teach Omani Arabic.

Over the years, his students and classes have inspired him to create a resource. This can be utilised as a stand-alone tool and is best suited as supplementary to the Omani Arabic course books.

The absence of classrooms posed a daunting challenge but he soon became comfortable teaching online. “The main challenges were learning and developing skills in the technologies that required conducting successful online classes. This area is one that is ever developing but however I am far more confident now using the technologies such as Zoom and Google classroom.”

Early this year he launched his 170-page Omani Arabic Phrase book which is ideal for anyone with an interest in learning spoken Arabic or for those who are looking to their existing knowledge.

A food blogger, Nabeela also ventured into learning Arabic language through online classes. As a non-Arab Indian living in Muscat since 2010, she always wanted to speak Arabic for making communication easy.

Enrolling for a three-month basic Arabic course in speaking and writing has enabled her to get a foothold of the language.

This is made available from a US-based online school called Tarteel Academy, recommended by her sister. She also is learning Tajweed (proper recitation of the Quran) in Arabic.
A month into her classes, Nabeela says she is determined to speak Arabic as fluently as her Omani friends and is now perfect in sentence making and grammar.

A determined Nabeela says, “We all have realised that online education is no harm and is here to stay with its benefits. Learning the language is more fun and easy to learn.”
She also is the administrator of a Muscat based ladies group on Facebook called ‘Oman Social Lounge,’ with over 4,600 active organic members from different nationalities.