NEWS 1: The Arabic book that won the Man Booker International prize: Celestial Bodies (سيدات القمر) by Jokha Alharthi from Oman

NEWS 2: A new certificate measures Arabic language proficiency

NEWS 3: New Arabic stuff (Musalsalat) on NETFLIX

NEWS 4: Airbnb has launched its ARABIC site

NEWS 5: Abbas al-Tonsi – co-author of the famous al-Kitaab books for non-native speakers – has retired


1: The Arabic book that won the Man Booker International prize: Celestial Bodies (سيدات القمر) by Jokha Alharthi from Oman

Jokha Alharthi is not only the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English – she has also written the first Arabic novel that won the famous Man Booker International prize.

What were the top five news stories about Arabic in May 2019? 2

Jokha al-Harthi (جوخة الحارثي), born in 1978, is an Omani writer and academic. She was educated in Oman and in the United Kingdom. She obtained her PhD in classical Arabic literature from Edinburgh University and is currently a professor in the Arabic department at Sultan Qaboos University.

What is the book about? Celestial Bodies is set in the Omani village of al-Awafi and follows the stories of three sisters: Mayya, who marries into a rich family after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries for duty; and Khawla, waiting for a man who has emigrated to Canada.

You can order the books on amazon:

For more information, check out this article by The National.


2: A New Certificate Measures Arabic Language Proficiency

Are you fluent in Arabic? Okay, wait… What does fluent in Arabic actually mean? Until now, there is no standardized test to measure Arabic proficiency of non-native speakers.

In languages that are spoken in Europe, for example, there are standardized tests that will indicate your level (A1 to C2). The two most famous tests for the English language are TOEFL and IELTS. The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris wants to change that – and has developed a new test.

You can read more about the test on the website al-Fanar.


3: New Arabic stuff (Musalsalat) on NETFLIX

In May 2019, Netflix MENA announced on Twitter that 4 new Ramadan Musalsalat will be available:

What were the top five news stories about Arabic in May 2019? 3
Picture CREDIT: twitter.com

They are available in many countries worldwide – but not everywhere. So far, you can’t stream them in Germany but usually it is only a matter of time.

Netflix Arabic
photo credit: Screenshot netflix.com
  • The Writer (الكاتب): When accused of a murder eerily parallel to a plot in his novel, a best-selling crime writer must navigate a web of hidden enemies. Starring: Syrian actor Bassel Khayyat and Lebanese actress Daniella Rahme.
  • I Have a Script (أنا عندي نص): After the death of a loved one, a woman decides to pursue her passion for writing by penning television scripts. Starring: Kuwaiti actress Souad Abdullah and Shujoun Al-Hajri.
  • What If? (ماذا_لو): Four individuals at a crossroads in life are given the chance to take both paths, and decide which road is best for them. Starring: Munther Rayhana, Khaled Amin, Aseel Omran, and Rawan Mahdi.
  • In the Bosom of a Thorn (حضن_الشوك): After the invasion of Kuwait, a woman’s infant daughter is taken from her. Now, her daughter looks to make her way back home years later. Starring: Kuwaiti actress Elham Fadala

By the way, around a month ago, Netflix had announced its SECOND original ARABIC series titled al-Rawabi School for Girl – it will be an all-female cast and crew.


4: Airbnb has launched its ARABIC site

The newspaper The National had a look at some Airbnb offers: Five quirky Airbnb properties in the UAE as Arabic site launches.

What were the top five news stories about Arabic in May 2019? 4
picture credit: airbnb

The reason for the article was the launch of Airbnb’s Arabic website and apps in May. Airbnb would like to expand its presence across the Middle East and North-Africa (where it has approximately 70,000 listings).


5: Abbas al-Tonsi – co-author of the famous al-Kitaab books for non-native speakers – has retired

What were the top five news stories about Arabic in May 2019? 5

After a 12 year tenure at Georgetown University in Qatar, Senior Language Instructor Abbas Al Tonsi will retire and move to Cairo, Egypt this year.

This was announced by the University of Qatar in May.

Abbas al-Tonsi is the author of many famous books for learners of Arabic – including the al-Kitaab series and Umm al-Dunya for Egyptian Arabic.

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