Welcome to PalWeb!

Welcome to PalWeb, the Web of Palestinian Arabic. PalWeb is the online hub for the study & research of the Palestinian dialects of Spoken Arabic. If you're ready to start learning Spoken Arabic, you've come to the right place!

What’s PalWeb?

PalWeb stands for multiple things. At first glance, it's short for "Palestinian Arabic Web" — but a "Web" of what, exactly? In cases like these, "web" is usually short for "website" — but why are websites called that way? Because they are interconnected networks of pages or sites, all linked together like a web!

PalWeb is a web, yes, but not just a web of pages. It's a web of information, powered by a database: words that link to other words, the building blocks of language that are chained into sentences to express information; in all of their possible configurations, they encapsulate the totality of human knowledge.

Language is a web of information, of meaning. PalWeb is the Web of Palestinian Arabic.

But that's not the whole story. One of the most important aspects of language learning is community. "Pal" in English means "friend" — & in Arabic, a "web" & a "network" are the same thing: شبكة (šabake). PalWeb is a network of language-learners for a new generation, offering the means to create & share learning materials, while its Discord server provides the opportunity for Spoken Arabic speakers & learners to interact.

Why PalWeb? What’s Next?

Another Web, of course, is possible; thousands exist, possibly one for every human being on the planet. Each one is a thread in the tapestry of the intangible heritage of our species. Admire its artistry. Study its intricacy. We can do both.

But language does not exist in a vacuum. In a vacuum devoid of speakers, it does not exist. Many have been lost this way, often through violence. Often, language itself is the target of violence. When speaking is an act of resistance, learning is a conscription to the cause. Documentation is a form of history.

Palestine is engaged in a struggle for existence, but it is neither the first nor the last of its type. It's not even the only one happening right now. It's not even the only community whose existence is contradictory to Zionism right now. Armenians, for one. But also Jewish minorities that have been absorbed by the Zionist entity, their identities sanitized. Ladino is endangered. Yiddish is looked down upon as a language of exile. Language is a lens that magnifies the genocidal, supremacist logic of Zionist nation-building.

PalWeb is the pilot project of LangWeb: a modern, open-source modular web application for down-to-Earth, user-friendly language documentation & education. LangWeb will be the outcome of PalWeb reaching its final stage of development. That’s why, first, several features must be added to PalWeb before the Arabic vestments of the application may be removed, leaving a modular slate adaptable to any other language: a Record Wizard to seamlessly create audio samples; more robust administrator options, roles & permissions; & many other features that will emerge organically over time.

Building PalWeb is, more than I expected, a multidisciplinary project, involving design, coding, pedagogy & linguistics. After the big push to launch PalWeb on 1 July 2024 — involving a total overhaul to the design — I can say this dimension of the project has been essentially completed. In the next period, I will have to balance adding terms to the Dictionary, filling out the Wiki & adding content to the Academy with the broader task of building the site itself & therefore building toward LangWeb. It’s not very feasible for one person to do it all, but I try my best. If you would like to help, read the Contributing page, or consider making a one-time donation on Ko-fi or taking out a Subscription to the site.

Still, the coming period is looking toward PalWeb 2.0 in July 2025. Just as PalWeb 1.0 introduced & finalized the site’s design, PalWeb 2.0 should finalize the coding side of the project. In other words, the stage will be set to normalize the application into LangWeb — & I already have an idea of what language is next. Of course, that project will be carried out by someone else. I will focus on using the tools I’ve created to finish fleshing out the PalWeb Dictionary, the Academy, etc.

have We Met?

My name is R. Adrian: project manager, website developer, curriculum designer, dictionary writer & creator of PalWeb. I'm Colombian, not Palestinian; I began learning Arabic from scratch in university & developed those skills while working on & off in Palestine over the years. I have a BA in Anthropology & an MA in Middle Eastern Studies (Palestine Studies). You can ask me in private where I studied, as I'm not going to give public credit to those institutions.

PalWeb traces its origins back to May 2020 with the publication of the first video on the Learn Palestinian Arabic channel (now PalWeb TV) on YouTube. During the first two years or so of the project, static learning resources were being posted on Patreon. In November 2021, I had the idea of creating a website that could host all the resources I had created & adapt the videos I had posted to YouTube in a more interactive format. I didn't know anything about web development, so the site was extremely basic at first. However, in May 2022 I learned PHP (Laravel) & Javascript (Vue) to materialize my vision of an interactive portal for learning Palestinian Arabic that could overcome the limitations of traditional materials; the result was the Learn Palestinian Arabic site, officially launched in May 2023. In 2024, PalWeb as such was born.

If you'd like to get in touch, you can email me at [email protected] or send a message to rfi.adrian on Discord. Or, if you just want to confirm that I'm a Real Person, you can follow my very unprofessional Twitter.

Check out my PalWeb account — or the official PalWeb account — to see some of the stuff I've made for the site.