Arabic Language Initiative

The Five College Arabic Language Initiative allows students at each of the five campuses to develop a concentration of study devoted to the Arabic language and culture. Students are able to work with faculty at all campuses to pursue their studies.

Faculty

Prior to joining Mount Holyoke, Heba Arafah worked with the United National High Commission on Refugees in Amman, Jordan as a resettlement interviewer, interpreter, and translator.

Heba Arafah taught at Smith College after receiving a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) fellowship  at the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. She has also been an active Fulbright alumna, assisting in the selection process for the FLTA program with the Jordan-United States Binational Fulbright Commission.

At Mount Holyoke, Heba specializes in teaching Modern Standard Arabic courses and examining oral proficiency in Levantine Arabic. In her first year at Mount Holyoke College, she was voted most popular language lecturer. Her students speak highly of her approach to language teaching as well as her friendly nature and dedication to their learning of Arabic. Heba is also directing the language assistant program at Mount Holyoke College. 

Heba specializes in foreign language acquisition, socio-phonetic/ linguistics, translation  and interpretation, as well as refugee resettlement and protection.

Dr. May George holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of Arizona with a focus on bilingual education. After receiving her Ph.D., she has held two prestigious post-doctoral fellowships, an Andrew Mellon Fellowship and a Fredrick Douglas Fellow, to support her continued research on bilingual education.

Dr. George has more than 20 years of teaching experience in higher education nationally and internationally. She has also worked with the United Nation Missions in Kurdistan Iraq to educate women. Dr. George’s research interests center on curriculum theory design, classroom pedagogy, and language acquisition.

Mohamed ElSawi Hassan is a senior lecturer at the Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Ain Shams University, Egypt in 2008.

His research interests focus on Systemic Functional Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Discourse theory. He is a contributing editor of Metamorphoses, the Journal of the Five College Faculty Seminar on Literary Translation. Recent translations include articles for Wasla magazine in Egypt and co-translating African Folklore: An Encyclopedia into Arabic.

Nahla Khalil received her PhD in literary studies in 2008. Before joining the Dept. of Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst, Nahla taught at Amherst College, Smith College and The Five College Center for the Study of World Languages.Nahla teaches language classes at all levels in addition to literature and culture classes. Nahla’s research interests include Arabic and Arab American literature, foreign language pedagogy, translation, cultural studies and women and minority studies.

Brahim Oulbeid received his B.A. degree in English Language and Literature, along with Arabic and French teaching certificates, in Morocco. He completed his master’s degree in Education and in Teaching French from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Brahim is currently a PhD Candidate under the Language, Literacy and Culture concentration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Education. Prior to joining the Five College Arabic Initiative, Brahim taught Arabic and French in Morocco, UMass Amherst, and Westfield State University. He has also taught intensive Arabic courses through the STARTALK Arabic Summer Academies at the United States Naval Academy and in Boston.

Brahim’s research interests include Second Language Pedagogy, Bilingual Education, and Language, Culture and Identity. His recent publication is titled: Arabic language teaching in the U.S.: Two Arabic language users’ views on culture and self-positioning as teachers.

John Weinert received his bachelor's degree from Bard College and went onto complete his master's degree in Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Texas at Austin.  He has worked as Director of Program Operations at the Subul Assalam Centre for the Arabic Language in Fez, Morocco, and in 2010, he was awarded a year-long fellowship from the Center for Arabic Study Abroad for advanced studies in Damascus, Syria. 

Before joining Smith College, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of New Haven, and the United States Naval Academy.  John's research interests include Arabic language pedagogy, dialects, code-switching, and shifting patterns of language use in Arabic-language media.

Courses

Fall 2021 Arabic Courses

01
4.00

Mohamed Hassan

MWF 08:30AM-09:50AM

Amherst College
ARAB-101-01-2122F

JOCH 202

mhassan@amherst.edu

This course starts by thoroughly studying the Arabic alphabet. It introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic and a brief exposure to one of the Arabic dialects through the listening, speaking, reading and writing activities. By the end of this course students should be at the Novice-Mid/ Novice-High level and they should be able to:

Accurately recognize the Arabic letters, identify a number of high-frequency, highly contextualized words and phrases including cognates, derive meaning from short, non-complex texts that convey basic information for which there is contextual or extra-linguistic support. Re-reading is often required;

Recognize and begin to understand a number of high-frequency, highly contextualized words and phrases including aural cognates; begin to understand information from sentence-length speech, one utterance at a time, in basic personal and social contexts where there is contextual or extra-linguistic support;

Communicate minimally by using a number of learned words and phrases limited by the particular context in which the language has been learned, initiate social interactions, ask for basic information, and be aware of basic cultural aspects of social interaction in the Arab world, talk about themselves, their education, and family with native speakers of Arabic accustomed to interacting with learners of Arabic as a foreign language;

Write short, simple sentences or a short paragraph about self, daily life, personal experience relying mainly on practiced vocabulary and sentence structures, produces lists, short messages, simple notes, postcards;

Understand aspects of Arab culture including commonly used culturally important expressions and differentiate between formal and colloquial spoken Arabic in limited contexts.

Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Mohamed Hassan

MWF 01:30PM-02:50PM

Amherst College
ARAB-301-01-2122F

JOCH 202

mhassan@amherst.edu

The goal of this course is to help students achieve an Intermediate Mid/ High level of proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. Students engage with Modern Standard Arabic and one Arabic colloquial variety using the four-skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) approach. By the end of the course, students will consistently be able to:

Read texts on unfamiliar topics and understand the main ideas without using the dictionary. Text types will address a range of political, social, religious, and literary themes and will represent a range of genres, styles, and periods;

Understand sentence-length speech in basic personal and social contexts dealing with topics of current political, social and cultural interests;

Speak about themselves and others, initiate and sustain conversations on a variety of subjects, describe and narrate in all major time frames;

Engage in written discourse dealing with impersonal and/or abstract topics.

Continue to deepen knowledge of Arab cultures, including their histories, politics, and literatures, learn and use increasingly sophisticated grammatical and rhetorical structures, and add approximately 500 new words and expressions to your active vocabulary.

Requisite: ARAB 202 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Fall Semester. Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Mohamed Hassan

MW 12:00PM-01:20PM

Amherst College
ARAB-401-01-2122F

JOCH 202

mhassan@amherst.edu

Media Arabic is an advanced Language fourth-year level course. Students are required to complete a set amount of media-related material during the semester. The course introduces the language of print and the Internet news media to students of Arabic seeking to reach the advanced level, according to the ACTFL standards. It makes it possible for those students to master core vocabulary and structures typical of front-page news stories, recognize various modes of coverage, distinguish fact from opinion, detect bias and critically read news in Arabic. The course enables students to:

Read extended Arabic Media texts with greater accuracy at the advanced level by focusing on meaning, information structure, vocabulary and language form, and markers of cohesive discourse;

Understand the main idea and most supporting details of Arabic media presentations and news and follow stories and descriptions of some length and in various time frames;

Converse comfortably in Arabic in familiar and some unfamiliar situations, and deliver detailed and organized presentations on familiar as well as unfamiliar concrete media topics using various time frames;

Write clear, detailed texts on media related topics, synthesizing and evaluating information and arguments from a number of sources and translating pieces of news from English into Arabic;

Show understanding of cultural differences reflected in the Arabic Media discourse and make appropriate cultural references when interacting in Arabic.

Requisite: ARAB 302 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Shaimaa Moustafa,Calvin Chen

MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
115049

Ciruti 217

moust22s@mtholyoke.educchen@mtholyoke.edu
This course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic and one dialect. It begins with a study of the Arabic script and sounds using the Alif Baa textbook, and then students will use Al-Kitaab I, 3rd edition (chapters 1-5). Students will acquire vocabulary and usage for everyday interactions in Arabic. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students will write short paragraphs, and participate in role plays and conversations.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Shaimaa Moustafa,Calvin Chen

MWF 08:30AM-09:45AM

Mount Holyoke College
115847

Ciruti 211

moust22s@mtholyoke.educchen@mtholyoke.edu
This course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic and one dialect. It begins with a study of the Arabic script and sounds using the Alif Baa textbook, and then students will use Al-Kitaab I, 3rd edition (chapters 1-5). Students will acquire vocabulary and usage for everyday interactions in Arabic. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students will write short paragraphs, and participate in role plays and conversations.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
5.00

John O. Weinert

M W F 9:25 AM - 10:40 AM

Smith College
ARA-100-01-202201

Burton 219

jweinert@smith.edu
An introduction to Modern Standard and colloquial Arabic, using a proficiency-based approach to develop communicative skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course begins with a focus on reading, pronouncing and recognizing Arabic alphabet, and progresses quickly toward developing basic reading, writing, speaking and listening proficiencies and cultural competence using the Al-Kitaab series and a variety of authentic materials.  Students will acquire these skills through a combination of interactive classroom activities, take-home assignments and group work.  Students should be at the Novice-Mid level by the end of this course.  No prerequisites. Enrollment limited to18.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
5.00

John O. Weinert

M W F 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Smith College
ARA-100-02-202201

Burton 219

jweinert@smith.edu
An introduction to Modern Standard and colloquial Arabic, using a proficiency-based approach to develop communicative skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course begins with a focus on reading, pronouncing and recognizing Arabic alphabet, and progresses quickly toward developing basic reading, writing, speaking and listening proficiencies and cultural competence using the Al-Kitaab series and a variety of authentic materials.  Students will acquire these skills through a combination of interactive classroom activities, take-home assignments and group work.  Students should be at the Novice-Mid level by the end of this course.  No prerequisites. Enrollment limited to18.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

May George

M W F 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Smith College
ARA-200-01-202201

Hillyer 109

mgeorge@smith.edu
This is a communication-oriented course in Arabic at the intermediate level, incorporating both Modern Standard and colloquial Arabic and providing students with an opportunity to hone their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  Students will expand their ability to create with the language while reinforcing fundamentals and expanding their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and culture. In addition to in-class teamwork, students will produce a variety of essays, presentations and skits throughout the semester.  Prerequisite: ARA 101 or its equivalent.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

May George

M W F 1:20 PM - 2:35 PM

Smith College
ARA-300-01-202201

Burton 219

mgeorge@smith.edu
This helps students achieve an advanced level of proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic with an exposure to one Arabic colloquial variety using the four-skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) approach. Students read within a normal range of speed, listen to, discuss and respond in writing to authentic texts by writers from across the Arab world. Text types address a range of political, social, religious and literary themes and represent a range of genres, styles and periods. All of these texts may include hypothesis, argumentation and supported opinions that covers both linguistic and cultural knowledge. This course covers Al-Kitaab, Book 3, units 1–5 in addition to extra instructional materials. Prerequisite: ARA 202, or the completion of Al-Kitaab, Book 2, or its equivalent. Students must be able to use formal spoken Arabic as the medium of communication in the classroom.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
6.00

Nahla Khalil

TU TH 11:30AM 12:20PM; M W F 11:15AM 12:05PM

UMass Amherst
10540

Herter Hall room 212

nkhalil@llc.umass.edu
This first semester of a year-long course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic, also known as Classical Arabic. It begins with a coverage of the alphabet, vocabulary for everyday use, and essential communicative skills relating to real-life and task-oriented situations (queries about personal well-being, family, work, and telling the time). Students will concentrate on speaking and listening skills, as well as on learning the various forms of regular verbs, and on how to use an Arabic dictionary.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
6.00

Shaimaa Moustafa

TU TH 1:00PM 1:50PM; M W F 12:20PM 1:10PM

UMass Amherst
10558

Herter Hall room 212

smoustaf@umass.edu
This first semester of a year-long course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic, also known as Classical Arabic. It begins with a coverage of the alphabet, vocabulary for everyday use, and essential communicative skills relating to real-life and task-oriented situations (queries about personal well-being, family, work, and telling the time). Students will concentrate on speaking and listening skills, as well as on learning the various forms of regular verbs, and on how to use an Arabic dictionary.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
6.00

Nahla Khalil

TU TH 1:00PM 1:50PM; M W F 1:25PM 2:15PM

UMass Amherst
10541

Herter Hall room 204

nkhalil@llc.umass.edu
Students in this course will continue perfecting their knowledge of Arabic focusing on the four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Emphasis will be on the development of all language skills using a communicative-oriented, proficiency-based approach. By the end of the academic year, students will acquire vocabulary and usage for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow them to communicate in a variety of situations. Students should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio and websites. Exercises include writing, social interactions, role plays, and the interplay of language and culture.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
6.00

John Weinert

M W F 1:25PM 2:15PM

UMass Amherst
10557

Herter Hall room 640

jweinert@judnea.umass.edu
The course aims to help students achieve an Intermediate-High level of proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic with an exposure to one Arabic colloquial dialect through the practice of the four language skills.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

Contact Us

Program Director

Steven Heydemann, Professor in Middle East Studies, Smith College

Five College Staff Liaison

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs