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.

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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

Spring 2022 Arabic Courses

01
4.00

Mohamed H. Hassan

MWF 08:30 AM-09:50 AM

Amherst College
ARAB-102-01-2122S
mhassan@amherst.edu

This is a continuation of First-Year Arabic I. Emphasis is on the integrated development of all language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking – using a communicative-oriented, functional approach. By the end of this semester, learners should be at the Intermediate Low level according to the ACTFL language proficiency levels. Students will acquire vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and language skills necessary for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow them to communicate with a limited working proficiency in a variety of situations, read and write about a variety of factual material and familiar topics in non-technical prose. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Understand information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts. Readers in this level rely heavily on contextual clues. They can most easily understand information if the format of the text is familiar, such as in a weather report or a social announcement. Students will be able to understand texts that convey basic information such as that found in announcements, notices, and online bulletin boards and forums. Reading texts are non-complex and have a predictable pattern of presentation. The discourse is minimally connected and primarily organized in individual sentences and strings of sentences containing predominantly high-frequency vocabulary.

Understand information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics. They are generally able to comprehend one utterance at a time while engaged in face-to-face conversations or in routine listening tasks such as understanding highly contextualized messages, straightforward announcements, or simple instructions and directions.

Successfully handle a limited number of uncomplicated communicative tasks by creating with the language in straightforward social situations. Conversation is restricted to some of the concrete exchanges and predictable topics necessary for survival in the target-language culture. These topics relate to basic personal information; for example, self and family, some daily activities and personal preferences, and some immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases.

Meet some practical writing needs. They can create statements and formulate questions based on familiar material. Most sentences are re-combinations of learned vocabulary and structures. These are short and simple conversational-style sentences with basic word order. They are written in present or past time. Topics are tied to highly predictable content areas and personal information.

Requisite: ARAB 101 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Five College Teachers of Arabic.

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

01
4.00

May George

MWF 08:30 AM-09:50 AM

Amherst College
ARAB-302-01-2122S
mgeorge@smith.edu

Arabic 302 expands on previously acquired foundations in Third-Year Arabic I in speaking, listening, writing, and reading, with special attention focused on learner production of Modern Standard Arabic and one Arabic dialect. Coursework includes readings and listening materials on a variety of social, historical and cultural topics related to the Arab world, practical and reflective written assignments, and discussions on essential cultural patterns. The work in this course is designed to help students solidify Upper Intermediate High/ Advanced Low proficiency in Arabic. In addition, students will continue to learn and use increasingly sophisticated grammatical and rhetorical structures and practice Advanced-level linguistic tasks, such as presenting cohesive essay-length discourse, defending opinions on abstract topics, and add approximately 500 new words and expressions to active vocabulary. By the end of the course students will be able to:

Understand fully and with ease short texts that convey basic information and deal with personal and social topics to which the reader brings personal interest or knowledge. Students will be able to understand some connected texts featuring description and narration;

Understand, with ease and confidence spoken Arabic-language short discourse stretches and derive substantial meaning from some connected texts;

Demonstrate the ability to narrate and describe in the major time frames of past, present, and future in paragraph-length discourse with some control of aspect and converse with ease and confidence when dealing with routine tasks and a variety of social situations.

Write compositions and simple summaries related to work and/or school experiences. Narrate and describe in different time frames when writing about everyday events and situations of a short essay length.

Increase engagement with different aspects of Arabic cultural life

Requisite: ARAB 301 or equivalent. Spring semester. Limited to 18 students. Five College Lecturer George.

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

01
4.00

Mohamed H. Hassan

MW 12:00 PM-01:20 PM

Amherst College
ARAB-402-01-2122S
mhassan@amherst.edu

This advanced Arabic course covers a number of topics that survey the linguistic, geographical, historical, social, religious, cultural, and artistic aspects of the Arab world. Special emphasis will be on varieties of the Arabic language, Arabic literature, Arabic political discourse, religions in the Middle East, Arabic folkloric traditions, Arabic Media and film, women in the Middle East and Arabic cuisine and music. The course provides students with an opportunity to engage with the diversity of the Arabic cultural traditions in the past and present times through interacting with the Arabic cultural products, perspectives, practices and processes of interaction. The course materials are entirely in Arabic and will be explored through discussions, readings and videos. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Follow academic, professional and literary texts on a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar subjects;

Follow narrative, informational and descriptive discourses on most topics and can understand standard dialects;

Express themselves freely and spontaneously and deliver presentations with accuracy and clarity on a variety of topics and issues;

Write clear well-structured short essays about a range of subjects, underling the relevant issues and supporting points of view at some length;

Gain intercultural communicative competence with regard to the rich cultural aspects of the Arab world;

Requisite: ARAB 302 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Spring 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

MWF 01:45PM-03:00PM

Mount Holyoke College
116596
moust22s@mtholyoke.edu
This second half of the year-long course continues to introduce the basics of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It covers vocabulary for everyday use and essential communicative skills with regard to real-life and task-oriented situations. Students will concentrate on speaking and listening skills, as well as on learning the various forms of verbs, roots/patterns, and sentence structures. Students are expected to participate in various curricular tasks (e.g., role-plays, discussions) and extracurricular activities (e.g., cooking nights, movie nights, language tables) to dig into some cultural aspects. Students will also engage in conversations which introduce them to dialects to be able to authentically use the language.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Shaimaa Moustafa

MWF 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
116598
moust22s@mtholyoke.edu
This second half of the year-long course continues to introduce the basics of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It covers vocabulary for everyday use and essential communicative skills with regard to real-life and task-oriented situations. Students will concentrate on speaking and listening skills, as well as on learning the various forms of verbs, roots/patterns, and sentence structures. Students are expected to participate in various curricular tasks (e.g., role-plays, discussions) and extracurricular activities (e.g., cooking nights, movie nights, language tables) to dig into some cultural aspects. Students will also engage in conversations which introduce them to dialects to be able to authentically use the language.
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-101-01-202203
jweinert@smith.edu
This course is a continuation of Elementary Arabic I. Emphasis will be on integrated development of all four language skills--reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of this semester, students should have the language skills necessary for everyday interactions and be able to communicate in a variety of situations, and read and write about a broad variety of familiar topics. In addition to textbook exercises and group work, students will write short essays, give oral and video presentations and participate in role-play activities. Prerequisites: ARA 100 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 18.
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-101-02-202203
jweinert@smith.edu
This course is a continuation of Elementary Arabic I. Emphasis will be on integrated development of all four language skills--reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of this semester, students should have the language skills necessary for everyday interactions and be able to communicate in a variety of situations, and read and write about a broad variety of familiar topics. In addition to textbook exercises and group work, students will write short essays, give oral and video presentations and participate in role-play activities. Prerequisites: ARA 100 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 18.
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-201-01-202203
mgeorge@smith.edu
This course is a continuation of Intermediate Arabic I. Students will continue honing their knowledge of Arabic using an approach designed to strengthen communication skills. By the end of this semester, students should have sufficient proficiency to understand most routine social demands and non-technical conversations, as well as discussions on concrete topics related to particular interests and special fields of competence at a general professional level. An increasing vocabulary will enable students to read prose with a near-normal range of speed, and write on a broad variety of topics, including news, politics, economics, history, and Arab cultures. Prerequisite: ARA 200 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 18.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

May George

M W F 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Smith College
ARA-301-01-202203
mgeorge@smith.edu
This course helps students reach advanced proficiency in Arabic through language study and content work focused on Arab history, literature and current events. We continue to focus on developing truly active control of a large vocabulary through communicative activities. Grammatical work focuses on complex grammatical constructions and demands increased accuracy in understanding and producing complex structures in extended discourse. Preparation for class and active, cooperative participation in group activities are essential to students’ progress in this course. Requirements also include active participation in class, weekly essays, occasional exams and presentations and a final written exam. This course covers Al-Kitaab, Book 3, units 5-10 in addition to extra instructional materials. Prerequisite: ARA 300, or the completion of Al-Kitaab, Book 3, lessons 1-5, or the 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
26119

Herter Hall room 211

nkhalil@llc.umass.edu
This course is a continuation of Arabic 101. Students will complete the study of the Elementary Arabic book sequence. 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. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students will write short essays and participate in role plays, discussions, and conversations throughout the semester.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
6.00

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

UMass Amherst
38034

Herter Hall room 204

This course is a continuation of Arabic 101. Students will complete the study of the Elementary Arabic book sequence. 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. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students will write short essays and participate in role plays, discussions, and conversations throughout the semester.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
6.00

Nahla Khalil

TU TH 10:00AM 10:50AM; M W F 10:10AM 11:00AM

UMass Amherst
26120

Herter Hall room 444

nkhalil@llc.umass.edu
Students in this course will continue perfecting thier knowledge of Arabic focusing on the four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio and websites. Exercises include writing, social interatctions, 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

Brahim Oulbeid

M W F 2:30PM 3:45PM

UMass Amherst
38043

Herter Hall room 342

boulbeid@umass.edu
The course aims to help students achieve an Advanced-Low 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