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English Impatience: Iraqis Rush to Learn American
Reuters ^ | July 29, 2003 | Cynthia Johnston

Posted on 07/29/2003 10:11:57 AM PDT by ellery

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Sitting at a rickety desk with only a ceiling fan to cool Baghdad's searing summer air, Sajida hopes learning English will help her talk to the U.S. soldiers she sees as saviors.

It could also save her life.

She and the four other students in her beginners' English conversation class at Baghdad's Mamoun language institute are trying to gain an upper hand in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq -- where the streets are largely ruled by U.S. soldiers.

Few soldiers have a command of Arabic and misunderstandings have been blamed for more than one fatal checkpoint shooting.

But Sajida has other aims in learning a language she feels will open up a world previously closed to her by Saddam.

"If I have any information about Fedayeen or Saddam's followers, I must tell them. We must make friends with the Americans. I see them as angels. I call them God's army," said Sajida, a Shi'ite Muslim who says her two brothers were killed by Saddam.

"Saddam destroyed all our lives. We just want a new start."

Language institutes in Baghdad shut their doors during the U.S.-led war that ousted Saddam in April. But students are trickling back, demanding to learn American English, and fast.

Iraqi English teacher Dhia' Saadallah prefers a British accent, but says that's not the popular choice. "I teach them American English. What can I do? They want it," he said.

At Mamoun, around three dozen students hope the barely audible decades-old language tapes they are using will help win them jobs at U.S. companies they expect to pour into Iraq.

"Saddam Hussein made us backward," one student said. "We didn't learn the computer. We didn't learn English language very good."

NOT ALL PEACHY

Asked if they feel anything other than gratitude toward U.S.-led troops who have occupied Iraq for more than three months, the students clam up and avert their eyes.

But when pressed, they say they are less than satisfied though keen to get along.

"The electricity is not very good. The water is not good," said Jaafar, a student trained as a maths teacher who said he was denied work under Saddam.

"We have not seen anything from the United States of what they promised," he said. "I want to help them help me."

U.S. troops have been battling to restore order to Iraq, where attacks have killed 50 soldiers since President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1.

Iraqis complain the Americans have not done enough to restore basic services and security to the capital, where only half the phone lines work and power outages occur daily.

Teachers say privately that students complain about the Americans, and that lack of security was scaring away students.

"We want security to be restored so there is a better atmosphere for learning," said Muhammad Majed Abdel-Wahab, director of the rival Mansour language institute.

He said student numbers were still lower than before the war, but students were more "zealous" about learning English.

Teachers said they expected demand to surge in the next four to five months as ordinary Iraqis realized the Americans could be in Iraq for a long stay. They were also eyeing a new market.

"I think in the future, Americans may even ask for the Arabic language," Mamoun director Ali Sabour said.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bushdoctrineunfold; iraq; liberators; rebuildingiraq; warlist

1 posted on 07/29/2003 10:11:57 AM PDT by ellery
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To: ellery
"I see [US Soldiers] as angels.....I see them as God's Army??????"

GACK! From Reuters?!??!!? New low temps in hell.

2 posted on 07/29/2003 10:16:27 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: ellery; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; Ragtime Cowgirl; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; ...
From Reuters?

Things have changed!!!!

Bush Doctrine Unfolds :

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Bush Doctrine Unfold , click below:
  click here >>> Bush Doctrine Unfold <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)



3 posted on 07/29/2003 10:16:54 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Recall The Governer and then recall the rest of the Demon Rats!!!)
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To: sam_paine
I know, I thought the same thing! Then I saw the requisite negativity later in the article, and my world became predictable again.
4 posted on 07/29/2003 10:17:52 AM PDT by ellery
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To: ellery
"If I have any information about Fedayeen or Saddam's followers, I must tell them. We must make friends with the Americans. I see them as angels. I call them God's army," said Sajida, a Shi'ite Muslim who says her two brothers were killed by Saddam.

I hope she said that in private and this isnt her real name... Hells army might hang her from a light pole.

5 posted on 07/29/2003 10:18:24 AM PDT by smith288 ('This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton.' - Uday Hussein)
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To: ellery
Won't see a lot of "French as a 2nd language" courses offered in Iraq anytime soon.
6 posted on 07/29/2003 10:19:32 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: ellery
Asked if they feel anything other than gratitude toward U.S.-led troops who have occupied Iraq for more than three months, the students clam up and avert their eyes.

"Hey, they're not saying anything bad about the US. Quick....ask them a question that makes the troops/US look bad. We may have to beat it out of them, but we'll get our quote."

Disgusting journalism.

7 posted on 07/29/2003 10:20:48 AM PDT by tsmith130
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To: ellery
English Impatience: Iraqis Rush to Learn American

Do they mean English?

8 posted on 07/29/2003 10:21:42 AM PDT by bedolido (please let my post be on an even number... small even/odd phobia here)
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To: ellery
That's all well and good, but if only those here would learn English and use it.
9 posted on 07/29/2003 10:23:06 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: bedolido
Naw they be meanin' 'merican.
10 posted on 07/29/2003 10:24:58 AM PDT by Lee Heggy (Jealousy-The theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.)
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To: Lee Heggy
I's thinkin' they'd all look better in cowboy boots too, what with them get-ups they wear over there.
11 posted on 07/29/2003 10:28:17 AM PDT by txhurl
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To: mtbopfuyn
That's all well and good, but if only those here would learn English and use it.

Oh noooo... the English police... we ain't gonna be saying the wrong lingo now is we?

12 posted on 07/29/2003 10:29:45 AM PDT by bedolido (please let my post be on an even number... small even/odd phobia here)
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To: bedolido
English Impatience: Iraqis Rush to Learn American

Do they mean English?

Learn American, eh?

My Mom was teaching communications (they weren't allowed to call it English) at a Vo-Tech school in the late '70's. There was a Vietnamese that had escaped by boat and had come to the US who asked her one day if she knew of anyone that could give him a daily ride to the school so he did not have to walk the five miles from his house. She told him to post an ad on the bulletin board and see if he could find someone that way.

Two weeks later she inquired whether he had been successful in finding a ride to school.

"Yes, I found a man with a very nice car" he replied.

"How did you find him?" my Mom inquired.

"He saw my ad and he axed me!"

13 posted on 07/29/2003 10:33:19 AM PDT by N. Theknow
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To: tsmith130
Reuters never lets the facts interfere with its worldview.
14 posted on 07/29/2003 10:36:53 AM PDT by ellery
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To: ellery
"I want to help them help me."


This kid has the right attitude. I get tired of hearing all the gimme, gimme, gimme stuff.

Was the electricity and water any better under Saddam?
15 posted on 07/29/2003 10:37:05 AM PDT by Chewbacca ("You're not paid to think. A mindless worker is a happer worker! Shut up and do your job.")
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To: ellery
"We have not seen anything from the United States of what they promised," he said.

Really? What exactly did we promise? Removal of a tyrannical regime is the main one I recall. And I'd say there's a check in that box, for sure.

16 posted on 07/29/2003 10:37:15 AM PDT by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: ellery
There gonna larn 'em 'murrkin English so's they can talk good like I do. Sorry. "Like I does."
17 posted on 07/29/2003 10:40:12 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: bedolido
English Impatience: Iraqis Rush to Learn American

Do they mean English?

When I was an exchange student in France, I had to explain many times that there is no "American" language and that we speak English. Apparently, this is a common misperception not only in France, but in other countries as well.

18 posted on 07/29/2003 10:40:37 AM PDT by exDemMom (Michael Jackson for Governor!)
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To: ellery
"I think in the future, Americans may even ask for the Arabic language," Mamoun director Ali Sabour said.

It would be amusing to think of Americans as expert in Arabic. it would be more amusing if while everyone is learning English, the Americans adopt Arabic. We must throw off the language of our oppressors. Dump English! Too much fun.

19 posted on 07/29/2003 10:43:06 AM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: RightWhale
"I think in the future, Americans may even ask for the Arabic language," Mamoun director Ali Sabour said.

Hmmmmmm.... I can't see the day when all international airports require Farsi as the primary language.

20 posted on 07/29/2003 10:53:01 AM PDT by bedolido (please let my post be on an even number... small even/odd phobia here)
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To: RightWhale
You watching all of the language threads?

LOL!

21 posted on 07/29/2003 10:54:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Recall The Governer and then recall the rest of the Demon Rats!!!)
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To: bedolido
Am I the only one that visualizes a world united under the language of Hmong?

And since when is American a language?
22 posted on 07/29/2003 12:01:13 PM PDT by ICX (Donations to the Odai and Qusai Hussein Memorial Fund can be submitted directly to the Dean campaign)
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To: bedolido
Just curious...anyone know what the US military's rules are regarding getting married while in a foward combat zone?....
23 posted on 07/29/2003 12:09:43 PM PDT by ken5050
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To: ellery
I wish I spoke Iraqi so I could go over there and teach proper English to them.
24 posted on 07/29/2003 12:10:47 PM PDT by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: ellery
wish there was a little more of that going on here in the states.
25 posted on 07/29/2003 1:58:47 PM PDT by xtorpedoman (do what you can,with what you have, where ever you are)
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To: ken5050
dealing with Iraq, i don't know ,but i am sure it requires lots of paperwork.
26 posted on 07/29/2003 2:00:37 PM PDT by xtorpedoman (do what you can,with what you have, where ever you are)
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To: ellery
Is there a difference between 'American English' and regular English besides the spelling(gaol/jail,colour/colour etc)?
27 posted on 07/29/2003 2:06:30 PM PDT by armed_in_sydney
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To: armed_in_sydney
*that should read 'color/colour'
28 posted on 07/29/2003 2:07:01 PM PDT by armed_in_sydney
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To: ellery
I know, I thought the same thing! Then I saw the requisite negativity later in the article, and my world became predictable again.

LOL! You too, eh?

29 posted on 07/29/2003 2:42:19 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Let them eat cake.)
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To: A_perfect_lady
:-)
30 posted on 07/29/2003 3:34:14 PM PDT by ellery
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To: armed_in_sydney
Great question -- are there any freepers here who can clarify?
31 posted on 07/29/2003 3:36:59 PM PDT by ellery
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To: armed_in_sydney
Is there a difference between 'American English' and regular English besides the spelling(gaol/jail,colour/colour etc)?

Apparently, since Oxford publishes a dictionary of American English. I would be willing to bet, though, that more English folks than Americans acknowledge the difference .

32 posted on 07/29/2003 3:47:02 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass
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To: Chewbacca
Was the electricity and water any better under Saddam?

Probably.... his thugs weren't trying to cut lines and blow up power stations then.

And from what I've heard, the power never failed during a torture session with a live wire or cattle prod.

Being a Reuters article, they had to include the gimme gimme stuff even if no one had voiced any such thing- just as they twisted that American correspondant's story on Jessica Lynch out of recognition by adding things to it she had never written, and deleting anything positive.

33 posted on 07/29/2003 4:21:34 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: ellery
It was MORE of a positive article than a negative one, but leave it to the press to try to show it as less than positive. OVERALL.. I'd say it bode well for our troops.

They want to help us help them!!!
34 posted on 07/29/2003 4:23:09 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife (CNN: where " WE report what WE decide!!")
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To: ellery
**"I want to help them help me."**

Jaafar got it right!!! Hopefully as time passes their will be more and more Iraqis thinking just like this guy. This kind of thinking is exactly what will lead to their own self-suffiency.
35 posted on 07/29/2003 5:13:02 PM PDT by kuma
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To: All
It is American English not just English. In the 1700's Webster decided that Americans needed their own brand of English and Dictionary in order to fully separate from "mother" England. If you look in an "English" dictionary you will not be able to find some American words. They are unique to our immigrant past from many different countries melted into a distinct American English.

Many people from foreign countries will complain that if they learn proper English it is difficult to understand Americans.

That is all for your history lesson today.
36 posted on 07/29/2003 5:18:49 PM PDT by kuma
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To: N. Theknow
OMG>..........ROFLMAO!
37 posted on 07/29/2003 5:22:11 PM PDT by Howlin
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
bttt
38 posted on 07/29/2003 6:32:22 PM PDT by lainde
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