Five College Consortium

Five College Center for the Study of World Languages

Fall 2018 Spoken Arabic Courses

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The Center offers Supervised Independent Study Courses in Levantine Arabic and Moroccan Arabic at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.  Early levels of Egyptian Arabic and possibly Iraqi Arabic will also be available in Fall 2018.

Spoken Arabic courses are designed to complement classroom offerings in Modern Standard Arabic by giving Arabic students an opportunity to develop conversational skills in a specific dialect.  

Prerequisite: The prerequisite for spoken Arabic courses is two semesters of Modern Standard Arabic at the 100-level or the equivalent. With special permission of the Center’s director, well-prepared students may be allowed to enroll in Levantine Arabic I concurrently with enrollment in the second-semester of 100-level study during the spring semester. The entry-level Levantine Arabic course for students who have completed a full year of elementary with a speaking component is Levantine Arabic II. See course descriptions below.

Credit: Spoken Arabic courses are half courses. Half courses are worth 1.5 credits at UMass. Five College interchange credit is: Amherst  – ½ course; Hampshire – ½ course; Mount Holyoke – 1.5 credits; Smith – 1.5 credits.

Course Format

Spoken Arabic courses are offered in a Supervised Independent Study format. Students study independently around 4 hours per week and attend a weekly 60-minute small group conversation session with a native speaker or highly advanced speaker trained to be a conversation partner with the program. Most conversation partners are undergraduate international students; some graduate students or community members may also be conversation partners.

Students follow a structured syllabus and need to be comfortable learning and practicing spoken language skills on their own before attending the conversation session. To see syllabus examples, visit the Arabic page on the Center’s LangMedia website.

The final grade for a Supervised Independent Spoken Arabic course will be based 80% on a final oral evaluation conducted by a member of the Five College Arabic faculty or an external evaluator, 10% on weekly attendance, and 10% on submission of weekly self-assessment reports. 

Spoken Arabic Courses for Fall 2018

Ready to register?  Go to How to Register for a Spoken Arabic Course. The application process is designed to make sure your course is a good fit for you in the upcoming semester. Questions?  Email fclrc@hfa.umass.edu, call 413-542-5264 (413-542-LANG) or attend a drop-in information session.

Scheduling: Course session times and locations to be arranged based on schedule information submitted by admitted students. Priority in course times and campus location will go to students who are admitted and submit schedule information by May 15, 2018. Students may still apply after May 15, but campus locations and course time options will be more constrained. 

Levantine Arabic

NOTE: The course information below reflects a revised Levantine curriculum for Fall 2018. Students currently taking Levantine courses and who want to continue in Fall 2018 will be advised about the best course level for them in the new curriculum.

Levantine Arabic I    Levantine I focuses on developing foundational speaking skills for students who have had minimal speaking practice in any form of spoken Arabic. This course is an entry-level course for students whose first-year Arabic course did not include a speaking component and for students concurrently enrolled in the second semester of 100-level study. Students who have completed two semesters of 100-level study in a course that included regular conversation practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect of Arabic usually start with Levantine Arabic II which is also an entry-level course. Levantine Arabic II is available in both the fall and spring semesters. Levantine I will only be available in the spring semester.

Prerequisite: Two semesters or the equivalent of Modern Standard Arabic at the 100-level (in a non-speaking course) OR concurrent enrollment in the second semester of 100-level study with special permission of the Center’s director and the student's Arabic instructor.


Levantine Arabic II   Entry-level course for students who have completed two semesters of 100-level Arabic study in a course that included regular conversation practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect of Arabic. Focuses on novice level conversational skills.

Prerequisite: Students taking Levantine Arabic II need to meet ONE of the following pre-requisites: 1) completion of Levantine I or the equivalent; 2) completion of two semesters of 100-level elementary Arabic in a course that included significant speaking practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or an Arabic dialect; or 3) basic speaking skills in Levantine Arabic developed through other means combined with a knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic equivalent to at least the first-year of elementary Arabic.


Levantine Arabic III     Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic II or the equivalent. Levantine III focuses on the development of early intermediate speaking skills.


Levantine Arabic IV     Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic III or the equivalent.  Levantine Arabic IV focuses on developing higher intermediate speaking skills.


Levantine Arabic V    Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic IV or the equivalent. Focuses on high intermediate and early advanced speaking skills.


Levantine Arabic VI   Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic V or the equivalent. Focuses on early advanced speaking skills. This is an upper-level course for students who can already handle basic everyday communicative needs in Levantine and are ready to work on more advanced conversational skills such as talking about current events and expressing abstract ideas and opinions. Students who have spent at least two terms abroad and have used Levantine Arabic extensively with host families, peers, or volunteer/internship settings can sometimes start with Levantine Arabic VI. 


Levantine Arabic VII   Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic VI or the equivalent. Focuses on advanced speaking skills.


Levantine Arabic VIII   Prerequisite: Levantine Arabic VII or the equivalent. Focuses on advanced speaking skills.


Moroccan Arabic

Moroccan Arabic I      Prerequisite: Two semesters of Modern Standard Arabic at the 100-level or the equivalent. This course is appropriate for students who have had at least one year of Modern Standard Arabic that included a significant speaking component in either MSA or a dialect. The focus is on practical eveyday conversation and listening comprehension.

Moroccan Arabic II          Prerequisite: Moroccan Arabic I or the equivalent. Students who began to learn Moroccan Arabic through a single summer or single semester abroad may be able to enter level II upon return.

Moroccan Arabic III        Prerequisite: Moroccan Arabic II or the equivalent. Students who have studied  Moroccan Arabic extensively during one or two terms abroad may be able to start in level III if the time abroad provided significant opportunities for language practice.

Moroccan Arabic IV        Prerequisite: Moroccan Arabic III or the equivalent. This is an upper-level course for students who can already handle basic everyday communicative needs in Moroccan and are ready to work on higher level conversational skills such as talking about cultural issues and current events. Students who have spent at least two terms abroad and have used Moroccan Arabic extensively with host families, peers, or volunteer/internship settings can sometimes start with Moroccan Arabic IV. 

Moroccan Arabic V and above: Prerequisite: Moroccan Arabic IV or the equivalent.


Egyptian Arabic (limited availability)

Egyptian Arabic I   Egyptian I focuses on developing foundational speaking skills for students who have had minimal speaking practice in any form of spoken Arabic.  Students who have completed a full year of a classroom elementary Arabic course in a course with speaking practice in any form of Arabic should start with Egyptian Arabic II.  Prerequisite: Two semesters of Modern Standard Arabic at the 100-level or the equivalent. With special permission of the Center’s director, well-prepared students may be allowed to enroll in Egyptian Arabic I concurrently with enrollment in the second-semester of 100-level study. Students whose 100-level courses included regular conversation practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect of Arabic should start with Egyptian Arabic II. Egyptian Arabic I will not be offered in Fall 2018.

Egyptian Arabic II  Entry-level course for students who have completed two semesters of 100-level Arabic study in a course that included regular conversation practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect of Arabic.

Prerequisite  Students taking Egyptian Arabic II need to meet ONE of the following pre-requisites: 1) completion of Egyptian I or the equivalent; 2) completion of two semesters of 100-level elementary Arabic in a course that included significant speaking practice in Formal Spoken Arabic or an Arabic dialect; or 3) basic speaking skills in Egyptian Arabic developed through other means combined with a knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic equivalent to at least the first-year of elementary Arabic.

Egyptian Arabic III     Prerequisite: Egyptian Arabic II or the equivalent. Students who have studied  Egyptian Arabic extensively during one or two terms abroad can sometimes start in level III if the time abroad provided significant opportunities for language practice.

Egyptian Arabic IV  (limited availabiltiy for Fall 2018)   Prerequisite: Egyptian Arabic III or the equivalent. This is an upper-level course for students who can already handle basic everyday communicative needs in Egyptian and are ready to work on more advanced conversational skills such as talking about current events, and expressing abstract ideas and opinions. Students who have spent at least two terms abroad and have used Egyptian Arabic extensively with host families, peers, or volunteer/internship settings can sometimes start with Egyptian Arabic IV. 

Egyptian Arabic V and above: (limited availabiltiy for Fall 2018) Prerequisite: Egyptian Arabic IV or the equivalent.


Iraqi Arabic

Iraqi Arabic I      Iraqi Arabic I may be offered as an experimental course in Fall 2018. Interested students who have completed a minimum of two semesters of Modern Standard Arabic at the 100-level or the equivalent may apply. Priority for this experimental course will go to students with very strong records of previous Arabic study and are well-prepared for independent study in the language.

Other dialects

Other dialects are sometimes possible. Contact fclrc@hfa.umass.edu for more information.