Alam Simsim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alam Simsim
Country of origin Egypt
Original language(s) Arabic
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original run March 2002 – December 2010

Alam Simsim (Arabic: عالم سمسم‎) is an Arabic language Egyptian-made adaptation of the format used in the children's television series Sesame Street. Alam Simsim is Arabic for "Sesame World".

The show, funded by the U.S. Government's U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID,) is a cooperative project between Egypt's Al Karma Edutainment and the USA's Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop). This effort is one of several such cooperative projects funded by USAID in countries such as Russia and South Africa.

The show debuted in 2002, and now has more than 240 episodes.

Satellite broadcaster Future Television of Lebanon picked up the show in November 2005, expanding possible viewership to more than 200 million viewers in the Arab States.

The show is set in the imaginary Alam Simsim (Sesame World) neighborhood in Egypt. This area is Medieval-looking like Old Cairo except perhaps more rural and green. It consists of a small public square surrounded by a park; a store owned by 'Am Gherghis; the carpenter's shop owned by 'Am Hussein with apartments above occupied by 'Am Hussein's family, 'Ama Kheireya his wife, Mona his teenage daughter and Kareem his young son. A bookstore or library (the same word is used for both in Arabic so it is hard to tell which is intended) is run by a young woman named Nabila. [1] The humans are referred to as 'Am and 'Ama, which are "Uncle" and "Aunt" in Egyptian Arabic. These titles denote familiarity common in Egyptian neighborhoods [2].

Characters[edit]

The show also includes three main Muppet characters who interact with the humans in the neighborhood just as they do on the original American program. Nimnim (tiny) is a large green furry character who wears a cap from upper Egypt and a patterned vest. He is a somewhat gentle and naive creature who enjoys gardening. Khokha (peach) is a furry pinkish orange colored puppet with long black hair. She is a very inquisitive, imaginative and confident character whose main message is to encourage young girls. Filfil (pepper) is a bearded furry purple puppet who often gets carried away with himself. He is a bit egotistical and loves to eat honey-sesame sticks [3], [4]

Alam Simsim reuses many of the sketches from other versions of Sesame Street, dubbed into Egyptian Arabic. Some of these include segments using American Muppets, however some names are changed. Ernie and Bert are known as Shadi and Hadi, Elmo is called Tohfa (antique), Telly is named Mosaad while Grover is Jafaar. Kermit is simply called Kermit.[5]

Language Learning[edit]

There is an interesting situation with the language of Alam Simsim, which has to do with early childhood education. The letter and reading segments are taught in Modern Standard Arabic which is the language that all Arabic children will use for reading and writing. However the skits are all in Egyptian Arabic dialect, that used in Egypt for regular interaction. For example, a segment on the letter Sin will show a picture of a car and call it by the Standard Arabic name, Sayara. However, cars that appear in skits will be called by the word 'Arabiya, as they are commonly known in Egypt. In this way, children learn that there are two words for the object depending on the context and therefore are not confused when learning to read Modern Standard Arabic. This is the same way that a bilingual child learns words in different languages at the same time.

External links[edit]