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What is the focus of UO’s Arabic program?

The focus of the three-year sequence of ARB courses is to improve students’ skills in the four skills of speaking, reading, listening, and writing in Modern Standard Arabic. These courses are devoted to build students’ capacity to communicate and become functionally literate in the language of the contemporary Arabic world. Our curriculum is intended to provide students the opportunity to rise to the intermediate and advanced levels of Arabic and allow them to compete for nationally granted programs such as The Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) to study advanced Arabic in the Arab world.

In addition, the Arabic program will also offer a number of Arabic text courses available to advanced students and native speakers taught by faculty who use Arabic in their research.  These courses will be cross listed with the department of the professor teaching them.  The approach of these courses will vary according to the professor teaching them. These courses will be cross listed with their home departments.

What type of Arabic does UO teach?

Arabic is characterized by what linguistics call “diglossia,” a linguistic community which uses multiple linguistic registers depending on the communicative context. Throughout his or her day, an educated native speaker of Arabic is constantly engaging different levels of Arabic. Written prose and speech in a formal setting such as a news conference or university lecture is conducted in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), while everyday conversation is conducted in the colloquial language of the region.

Following the best practices in the field, UO’s three-year program focuses on MSA, while also introducing students to common expressions and high frequency structures of Egyptian and Syrian colloquial. While we hope to develop courses in colloquial Arabic in the future, for now, self-study courses in a number of dialects are available through the Yamada Language Center. We also strongly encourage students to study colloquial Arabic in overseas programs in the Arab world.

I am a native speaker of Arabic who grew up in the Arab world, but I would like to work on my grammar. In which courses am I eligible to enroll?

Native speakers are encouraged to enroll in the classical Arabic sequence of courses. They are not eligible to enroll in the first three year sequence of Arabic, which is designed for non-native speakers.

I am a native speaker and interested in working with students studying Arabic. Do you facilitate this?

We would be happy to try to match you with students studying Arabic on an informal basis for language exchange. Based on programmatic need, the program might be interested in one or two native speakers to enroll in a Practicum in Arabic Pedagogy (ARB 409) as a P/F 4 credit course. For more details, please contact Arabic Studies’ Faculty Supervisor.