is an opportunity to enter into the world of Arabic speakers in the United States—their linguistic talents, difficulties and hopes for the future. This is a film about the relationship that Arab Americans have with their language. These immigrants share the same challenges that all immigrant families face—how to balance the new with the old and come out whole.
The film presents the experiences of young Arab Americans between the ages of 15 and 25, their parents and teachers. It is a dialogue about what helps and what discourages immigrant children from being successful and proficient in their heritage language. It was filmed in the homes, schools and neighborhoods of Arab Americans in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and features the music of the award-winning Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife.
will be of special interest to anyone interested in finding out more about the Arab Americans who live in their communities. It has been used as an educational tool for teachers, students and parents. The issues discussed in this film are not limited to Arab Americans. Most immigrants, their children and sometimes their grandchildren have experienced some of the same dilemmas our participants discuss. The film also has been shown to religious organizations to promote ecumenical understanding.
will leave you questioning many ideas that do not often get challenged. What do you know about Arab Americans? What is the value of the languages immigrants bring with them? How can schools and communities support the exchange of ideas that must happen in order to create a more harmonious society? I Speak Arabic will also leave you with some very clear steps that everyone can take to insure that their communities are healthy and welcoming places to live.
Page updated on December 7, 2014.