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Popular Proverbs

Popular Proverbs: An Entrance to Palestinian Culture

by Nasser M. Isleem

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Popular Proverbs

This monumental collection of over one thousand proverbs from Palestine and across the Arabic-speaking world provides an informative and entertaining treasure trove of knowledge for anyone with interest in this remarkable culture.

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Click the play button above to listen to an excerpt from Professor Isleem’s recent interview on Radio Tahrir 99.5 FM New York.

The central role of proverbs in daily speech originates from a universal reverence in Arab culture for language and especially poetry. The Arabic language has enjoyed a long tradition of both secular and religious poetry, beginning with the pre-Islamic Jahiliyya poets and continuing today in popular verse. Arabs everywhere take great pride in this tradition and in the Arabic language itself, a pride which is evident in the frequent usage of proverbs in literature, the media and every-day conversation. Given the integral role of proverbs in Palestinian life, and indeed throughout all Arab cultures, the study of such proverbs as used by Palestinians offers a unique perspective on the beliefs and values shared among all Arabs.

Popular Proverbs DVD

Available with an interactive audio program that features over one thousand authentic readings of the proverbs included in the companion text. Ideal for students of Arabic looking for additional practice with the language.

About the Author

Nasser M. Isleem is a native of Palestine and brings many years of experience teaching all levels of Arabic language and culture at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and Meredith College. Professor Isleem specializes in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speaking students and his professional interests include Arabic language and culture as well as Egyptian and Palestinian dialects. He is also deeply committed to training teaching assistants to help them better realize their potential through the integration of culture in language teaching. Professor Isleem is the recipient of the 2006 UNC-Chapel Hill Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff award.

Praise for Popular Proverbs

For too long many have thought of Palestinians solely within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exclusively in terms of their struggle for independence, and mostly in the milieu of violence. In Popular Proverbs: An Entrance to Palestinian Culture, Nasser Isleem introduces us to the language, beliefs, and humor that make up so much of the Palestinian identity. Through the hundreds of beautifully descriptive proverbs in his book, Isleem allows us to appreciate the Palestinian people for who they really are: warm, kind, and generous.
—Shai Tamari
Legislative Assistant on Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives

I am thrilled to have such an excellent text for use in my classroom, and I thank both you and Nasser for making it available to Arabic educators everywhere.
—Michael J Rulon
Department of Asian Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

Popular Proverbs has proved to be a helpful way to make rapid progress in a very challenging language….It has really helped our confidence as beginning students, and gives us a sense for the language as a living, vital entity.
UNC-Chapel Hill