These last few days have been fun in regards to language. Pretty much everything that I've learned how to say in Arabic so far has had an English equivalent. Basically, "this is how you say _______ in Arabic." It's been a lot of memorization, but not really all that bad.
But a few days ago we started to learn a new verb tense. It's called ism il'faAil. Well, that's the rough transliteration at least. I've been asking lots of questions about it, and still can't figure out what exactly it means. My teacher told me that it's a tense that doesn't exist in English, so most foreigners have a really hard time figuring out what it means and how to use it.
It's pretty strange. It's always conjugated the same way, but sometimes it means past tense, sometimes it means present tense, and other times it means future tense. It changes based on both the context and on the verb you use it with. When you put any verb into that tense it could mean two of the three other tenses (past, present, future). But each verb can only be two of the three. For example, the verb to travel can be either present or future tense in ism il'faAil, but never past tense. But the verb to feel can be either past or present tense in ism il'faAil. Strange, huh?
I've learned how to make the tense just fine, but just don't know what it means when I say it or hear it. I think today was one of the first time when I realized just how difficult learning another language is. It's more than just learning another set of vocabulary words. In some cases it entails learning how to think another way. I don't think I really understood that until today.