Modern Standard Arabic MSA
7$ per hour
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the literary standard across the Middle East, North Africa and Horn of Africa, and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Most printed material by the Arab League—including most books, newspapers, magazines, official documents, and reading primers for small children—is written in MSA. It was developed in the early part of the 19th century. “Colloquial” Arabic refers to the many regional dialects derived from Classical Arabic spoken daily across the region and learned as a first language, and as second language if people speak other languages native to their particular country. They are not normally written, although a certain amount of literature (particularly plays and poetry (including songs)) exists in many of them.
Literary Arabic (MSA) is the official language of all Arab League countries and is the only form of Arabic taught in schools at all stages. Additionally, some members of religious minorities recite prayers in it, as it is considered the literary language. Translated versions of the bible which are used in the Arabic speaking countries are mostly written in MSA aside from Classical Arabic.[clarification needed] Muslims recite prayers in it; revised editions of numerous literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times are also written in MSA.
The sociolinguistic situation of Arabic in modern times provides a prime example of the linguistic phenomenon of diglossia – the use of two distinct varieties of the same language, usually in different social contexts. This diglossic situation facilitates code-switching in which a speaker switches back and forth between the two dialects of the language, sometimes even within the same sentence. People speak MSA as a third language if they speak other languages native to a country as their first language and colloquial Arabic dialects as their second language. Modern Standard Arabic is also spoken by people of Arab descent outside the Arab world when people of Arab descent speaking different dialects communicate to each other. As there is a prestige or standard dialect of vernacular Arabic, speakers of standard colloquial dialects code-switch between these particular dialects and MSA.
Classical Arabic is considered normative; a few contemporary authors attempt (with varying degrees of success) to follow the syntactic and grammatical norms laid down by classical grammarians (such as Sibawayh) and to use the vocabulary defined in classical dictionaries (such as the Lisan al-Arab ِلِسَان العَرَب).
However, the exigencies of modernity have led to the adoption of numerous terms which would have been mysterious to a classical author, whether taken from other languages (e. g. فيلم film) or coined from existing lexical resources (e. g. هاتف hātif “caller” > “telephone”). Structural influence from foreign languages or from the vernaculars has also affected Modern Standard Arabic: for example, MSA texts sometimes use the format “A, B, C and D” when listing things, whereas Classical Arabic prefers “A and B and C and D”, and subject-initial sentences may be more common in MSA than in Classical Arabic. For these reasons, Modern Standard Arabic is generally treated separately in non-Arab sources. Speakers of Modern Standard Arabic do not always observe the intricate rules of Classical Arabic grammar. Modern Standard Arabic principally differs from Classical Arabic in three areas: lexicon, stylistics, and certain innovations on the periphery that are not strictly regulated by the classical authorities. On the whole, Modern Standard Arabic is not homogeneous; there are authors who write in a style very close to the classical models and others who try to create new stylistic patterns. Add to this regional differences in vocabulary depending upon the influence of the local Arabic varieties and the influences of foreign languages, such as French in Africa and Lebanon or English in Egypt, Jordan, and other countries.
As MSA is a revised and simplified form of Classical Arabic, MSA in terms of lexicon omitted the obsolete words used in Classical Arabic. As diglossia is involved, various Arabic dialects freely borrow words from MSA. This situation is similar to Romance languages, wherein scores of words were borrowed directly from formal Latin (most literate Romance speakers were also literate in Latin); educated speakers of standard colloquial dialects speak in this kind of communication.
Reading out loud in MSA for various reasons is becoming increasingly simpler, using less strict rules compared to CA, notably the inflection is omitted, making it closer to spoken varieties of Arabic. It depends on the speaker’s knowledge and attitude to the grammar of Classical Arabic, as well as the region and the intended audience.
Pronunciation of native words, loanwords, foreign names in MSA is loose, names can be pronounced or even spelled differently in different regions and by different speakers. Pronunciation also depends on the person’s education, linguistic knowledge and abilities. There may be sounds used, which are missing in the Classical Arabic but may exist in colloquial varieties – consonants – /v/, /p/, /t͡ʃ/ (often realized as [t]+[ʃ]), these consonants may or may not be written with special letters; and vowels – [o], [e] (both short and long), there are no special letters in Arabic to distinguish between [e~i] and [o~u] pairs but the sounds o and e (short and long) exist in the colloquial varieties of Arabic and some foreign words in MSA. The differentiation of pronunciation of informal dialects is the influence from other languages previously spoken and some still presently spoken in the regions, such as Coptic in Egypt, French, Ottoman Turkish, Italian, Spanish, Berber, Punic or Phoenician in North Africa, Himyaritic, Modern South Arabian and Old South Arabian in Yemen and Aramaic in the Levant.
Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic, is the standardized and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech throughout the Arab world to facilitate communication. It is considered a pluricentric language.
10$ per hour
Classical Arabic, also known as Quranic Arabic (although the term is not entirely accurate), is the language used in the Quran as well as in numerous literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). Many Muslims study Classical Arabic in order to read the Quran in its original language. It is important to note that written Classical Arabic underwent fundamental changes during the early Islamic era, adding dots to distinguish similarly written letters, and adding the Tashkeel (diacritical markings that guide pronunciation) by Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali, Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi, and other scholars. It was the lingua franca across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa during classic times and in Andalusia before classic time.
Arabic for the Media
12$ per hour
This writing-intensive course seeks to familiarize students with Arabic journalism writing styles over a comprehensive range of story styles and regional news outlet house styles. Special attention is paid to the specialized vocabulary of news reporting.
Level 1 (3 terms)
Media Arabic offers students the tools to access news information without any prior knowledge of media jargon. It introduces students to the vocabulary, style and content of the Arabic press and broadcast media, focusing largely on news-related material.
The course systematically covers current affairs in Arabic language mass media, and includes topics such as diplomacy, elections, economics, trade and industry, and interviews with prominent Arabic speakers.
Students receive practical training to learn how to comprehend specialized vocabulary, style and subject content through texts by reading, analysing, translating, listening, debating and summarising.
Students will be using a wide range of resources and materials such as newspaper articles, interviews and political speeches. Students will enhance their knowledge of MSA and learn new structures.
If your knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic is at the intermediate level, Media Arabic offers the opportunity to widen your reading and comprehension of the language used in Arabic newspapers and broadcasts.
Please see the following link for assessments.
Level 2 (3 terms)
After completion of Level 1, students can progress to Further Media Arabic (3 terms). Details of this course will be available later this year.
The course is taught in English and Arabic Language and includes coverage of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and a good balance between understanding the systems of Arabic Language grammar and vocabulary, developing the skills of comprehending and producing Arabic Language in speech and writing, guided practice in language usage and use and authentic communicative activities. Class size is limited to fifteen to allow intensive interactive practice with individual feedback and advice on progress.
15$ per hour
A close textual and analytical study of a wide variety of selections from modern Arabic literature and thought designed to evoke aesthetic and intellectual discussions of issues of Arab culture.
The Arabic Literature program (برنامج الأدب العربي) is dedicated to teaching literature related to the theoretical and applied topics of Arabic literature and it’s various aesthetic and linguistic components. Its purpose is to introduce literature, as well as to dissect and analyze the literary genres to which it belongs. For this reason, the course includes both theoretical and practical materials from a variety of different topics.
Arabic literature courses also seek to introduce new vocabulary and literary styles that students can use in daily communication, giving them access to the enormous depth of the Arabic language – from the roots of Classical Arabic all the way to the Modern Standard Arabic used across the world today.
Introduction to Arabic Literature
Language programs that teach Arabic to non-native speakers include literary texts in multiple contexts. Courses specifically dedicated to Arabic Literature are often created with the idea that Arabic learners cannot truly reach an advanced level of proficiency without some exposure to literary texts and the ability to recognize and distinguish these texts from one another.
Through these courses, Qalam wa Lawh targets students who begin with some level of linguistic communication competence and provides them with a taste for the beauty of Arabic writing, enabling the student to understand not only the language but also the culture of the language.
Arabic Literature courses
Arabic Literature program includes six courses, divided into three, two-semester sessions. The first year introduces students to the world of Arabic literature through a broader understanding of theoretical concepts. The second-year examines differences and similarities between older texts and modern writing, and the third year consists of a more in-depth analysis of themes, issues, and methodologies.
Students should begin the Arabic Literature program with an intermediate level of Modern Standard Arabic. Students will take a placement test before the program begins. The program is divided into the following stages of study:
FIRST YEAR- Arabic Literature: Theoretical Approaches and Concepts
LIT201: Chronology of literature and literary genres
This course focuses on the history of Arabic literature through its major stations and the transformations of literary forms – poetry and prose. Additionally, the course covers the artistic and creative differences between poetry and prose in a more general sense. The course uses a variety of texts and theoretical materials to assist the students as they explore the wonder of Arabic literature.
LIT202: Mechanisms of literary criticism
In this course, students will examine formal and thematic differences and changes depending on the period of the text, as well as changes within the same prose forms, by identifying various technical elements in the text and noting thematic developments of the art over time. The materials used in this course prepare students to continue the study of these literary eras and their focal points, as well as major entries of literary criticism.
SECOND YEAR- Arab Literature and Criticism: Comparing the Old, the Modern, and the Contemporary
LIT301: Aesthetic characteristics and artistic characteristics of the literary era
As students study the depth of the literature in both poetry and prose through this course, they begin identifying distinctive characteristics from the pre-Islamic period, through the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, up to the Renaissance and the modern era.
LIT302: Poetry and prose: technical and structural characteristics
Through this course, students examine the literature in terms of technical construction and formative molds, social and cultural changes of the Arab environment at the time of its production, and the details of its presentation (i.e, rhyme and eloquence). Abandoned schools of literature are also studied, along with their cornerstones and creative and critical visions, with an intensive look at Andalusian literature as a guide to a range of creative issues, modern arts, and their response to the cultural environment of the time.
THIRD YEAR- Critical Issues and Methodologies of Arabic Literature: From Ancient to Postmodern
LIT401: Monetary issues in Arabic literature: between the Ancients and Modernists
This course begins the analysis of the ways in which the Arabic literary arts have been influenced over time. Students re-examine the literary periods before Islam through the Abbasid Era and into the modern day with a specific eye for the historical processes of the foundations throughout the literary ages and literary criticism.
LIT402: Critical approaches between classical and modern monetary schools
Using the techniques and knowledge gained in the previous level, students continue their critical study of monetary themes in Arabic literature through this course. Perhaps the most exciting portion of this class is during the study of the Renaissance period, with its openness to the Western traditions and different schools of thought. Students will take part in the analysis of creative texts, poetry, and prose at this time and compare them to contemporary and modern criticism.