About the authors
Syrian Colloquial Arabic was a collaborative effort initiated by Australians Mary-Jane Liddicoat and Richard Lenanne in 1995 and supported by Syrian Dr Iman Abdul Rahim in 1997-98. All three donated many hours of their time to develop, refine and test the course.
Mary-Jane Liddicoat is a professional mother of three small children in a multi-lingual/cultural household. Until June 2009, she was Counsellor (Education) at the Australian Embassy in Seoul, Korea, prior to which she worked for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, Australia, and as First Secretary (Political) at the Australian Embassy in Seoul. She majored in Japanese literature and graduated from Sydney University in 1989. She also spent one year at the Nagoya University Linguistics Centre, which inspired the SCA teaching methodology. Mary-Jane worked as a translator and interpreter in Tokyo until joining DFAT in 1994. She first studied Arabic at the British Council in Cairo in 1995 and wrote Syrian Colloquial Arabic during an 18 month stay in Damascus in 1997-98. Visit www.mary-jane.co and www.thedailyq.co (see right column) to see what she's up to now.
Richard Lennane also worked for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1992-2001. He graduated from the Australian National University in 1992, studying computer science, chemistry, Arabic and Japanese. Richard was posted as Third Secretary to the Australian Embassy in Damascus 1997-98, where he helped refine and edit the Syrian Colloquial Arabic material. Richard now works for the United Nations and resides in Geneva, Switzerland.
Iman Abdul Rahim is a professional interpreter/translator living and working in Damascus. She completed her PhD in the UK on marketing Syrian tourism and worked as the Director of International Relations in the Syrian Ministry of Tourism. Iman has also pursued a variety of other activities, including the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language. She was the teacher for the first Arabic Course at the British Council in Damascus, and worked closely with Mary-Jane in developing and refining both syllabus and teaching techniques.
The book is dedicated to our first Egyptian Colloquial Teacher at the British Council in Cairo, Rifa’At.
This original material would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of many friends. In particular we would like to thank the following people for their invaluable help: our advisors Reham Al-Aryan, Hassana Mardam Bey, Quotaiba Mardam Bey; the British Council Damascus for being persuaded to set up their first Arabic course in 1998; and our first students Daniel, Eri, Heleene, Jutta, Katsuhito, Kaoru, Maria, Miyako, Tanya and Vicki.
We would also like to thank all our teachers in the Arabic Department of the British Council in Cairo for making Arabic such fun. And thanks to Rana Al-Atrash, Assem Al-Bunney and Abu Mohammad whose voices are featured in the recorded conversations.
The original version of this site set up in 2001 would not have been possible without the generous support and expertise of Mike Allbutt, Peter Shurley, and Joshua Landis and his many helpful colleagues at the University of Oaklahoma.
Illustrations in the third edition are by Sang-cheol Park, based on the original illustrations by Mary-Jane Liddicoat.