Dima Basha (right) watches dubbed cartoons with her daughter, Angelina, to help her learn formal Arabic.

How SpongeBob SquarePants is helping one Syrian woman preserve her culture for her daughter


A Syrian mother in Massachusetts worried her young daughter was losing her formal Arabic — fusha. So, she came up with a plan that involved cartoons dubbed in Arabic.

A Syrian class in Istanbul. Many of the students hadn't attending school for years.

Syrian parents in Turkey worry their kids are losing their culture

Black and white photo of man at table, with books

How a Lebanese immigrant helped pave the way for the study of Islam and Muslim culture in the US

Hani Abo Awad teaches Arabic at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School of Greater Washington. He is an Arab-Israeli.

The teacher’s an Israeli Arab, the students are Jewish American and the subject is Arabic

Ghaith is a Syrian refugee living in Beirut. He can't work there but now he can earn a living as an online Arabic teacher.

This startup helps Syrian refugees earn a living. All they need is a laptop.

Linguists Arik Sadan (in his Israeli Army days) and Sobhi Bahloul. Sadan is an authority on the Arabic language. Bahloul authored the Hebrew curriculum for Gaza's Palestinians.

A tale of two linguists and the conflict that separates them


Israeli linguist Arik Sadan is an authority on the Arabic language. Palestinian Sobhi Bahloul is Gaza’s best-known Hebrew teacher. They share a love for the other’s native tongue. But these two linguists have never met.

Rihab Massif teaches at a preschool in Austin, Texas. Her mother tongue is Arabic.

You may not know it — but if you speak Spanish, you speak some Arabic too


Joy Diaz speaks English and Spanish. When she met her daughter’s Arabic-speaking teacher, she realized how many Arabic words she also knows.

Translator extraordinaire Ayub Nuri on the right, along with reporter Aaron Schachter and their driver Abdulrazzaq Zanjeel at a street cafe in Baghdad in 2003.

Fixers are a foreign reporter’s best friend — and often their lifeline


Spoiler alert: A behind the scenes look at foreign correspondents that you may not want to know! A good interpreter, or “fixer,” can make the difference not only between a good story and a bad one, but between life and death.

Islamic State

ISIS? ISIL? The Islamic State? We really still can’t decide?


Governments and news outlets still can’t seem to agree on what to call the militants who’ve named themselves the Islamic State, and now the French government is using yet another term: Daesh, an Arabic acronym. But why can’t we figure out what to call these guys?

To Change or Not to Change Script: Turkish vs Persian

The World in Words

After Ataturk switched Turkish from an Arabic to Latin script, the language made phonetic sense– but did it sever links to Turkish history? In contrast, Iranian leaders have rejected changes in its clunky, Arabic-based script and Persian remains difficult to read. But today's written Persian connects seamlessly with the past.