Five College Consortium

LEARN MORE ABOUT STUDYING Arabic, Modern Standard

Amherst College, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations (Classroom courses)

Hampshire College, for classroom Arabic courses search the Five College Course Schedule

Mount Holyoke College, Department of Asian Studies (Classroom courses)

Smith College, Middle East Studies (Classroom courses)

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures and the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies (Classroom courses)

Five College - Mount Holyoke Summer Language Courses (Summer intensive classroom courses, sessions meeting at Mount Holyoke)   

For general information about Arabic at the Five Colleges, see Five College Arabic Initiative (Program website)

Course Descriptions:

Elementary Arabic

A year-long course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of the Arabic language seeking to develop strong communication skills in formal and colloquial Arabic. The course begins with a focus on reading, pronouncing and recognizing Arabic sounds and progresses quickly toward developing beginner reading, writing, speaking and listening proficiency as well as cultural competence. The course covers essential communicative skills relating to real-life and task-oriented situations (queries about personal well-being, family, work, and telling the time). Students will acquire vocabulary and usage for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow them to read and analyze a range of texts. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students write paragraphs and participate in role plays, debates, presentations and conversations throughout the year.

Intermediate Arabic

According to the ACTFL standards, this course is Intermediate Low Arabic. It covers the four skills of the language. Writers at the Intermediate level are characterized by the ability to meet practical writing needs, such as simple messages and letters, requests for information, and notes. In addition, they can ask and respond to simple questions in writing. At the intermediate level, listeners can understand information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics while readers at the same level can understand information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts. Readers 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. Speakers at the Intermediate level are distinguished primarily by their ability to create with the language when talking about familiar topics related to their daily life. They are able to recombine learned material in order to express personal meaning. Students should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio materials and websites. Exercises include writing, social interactions, role plays, and the interplay of language and culture.

Advanced Arabic

The goal of this course is to help 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 will 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 will cover both linguistic and cultural knowledge. Prerequisite: ARA 202 or its equivalent. Students who have not taken Arabic within the Five Colleges may take a placement exam. Students must be able to use Formal Spoken Arabic as the medium of communication in the classroom.

Media Arabic

Introduces the language of the print and the internet news media to students of Arabic seeking to reach the advanced level. 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 texts with greater accuracy at the advanced level by focusing on meaning, information structure, language form, and markers of cohesive discourse. The course requires significant independent work and initiative. The prerequisite for MES 401 is the equivalent of three years of college-level Arabic study, or permission of the instructor.