Note from MDLL Book Prize in Arabic Winner, Maria Trogolo:
I first began studying Arabic in the fall of my freshmen year. In high school I had enjoyed learning languages, and Arabic struck me as interesting. Arab culture was unfamiliar to me, and I was instantly drawn in to it. In fact, studying Arabic motivated me to major in Middle Eastern Studies. I’m also a linguistics major, and Arabic provides awesome examples of all sorts of phonological and grammatical phenomena (Marked phonemes! Aspect construction! Tri-consonantal roots!)
The summer before my senior year, I studied Arabic at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco. It was rewarding to devote my full time to studying Arabic for my classes. It was more exciting, though, to be able to use my Arabic for what it and all languages do best: to communicate with other people. I was surprised at how well my classmates and I were received; most of the Moroccans whom we met were delighted that we wanted to learn their language and culture. I returned home with a renewed enthusiasm for learning Arabic that hasn’t wavered!