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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Arabic 4

Course Code:
155900899
Unit value:
1
Taught in:
Full Year

This course is designed to enhance students' language skills on all levels by consolidating knowledge achieved in previous years and advancing such knowledge to reach new heights. Special emphasis is placed on writing, self-expression and the development of students' sensitivity to the richness and complexity of Arabic syntactic structures; this is done by exposing students to a wide variety of styles and levels of linguistic formulation.

Prerequisites

Successful completion of Arabic 1, Arabic 2 and either the Arabic year-abroad programme or Arabic 3

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • communicate fluently and appropriately in Arabic;
  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and effective understanding of the structures, registers, etc of Arabic.

Also as a generic skills, the student should be able to:

  • communicate information, ideas and arguments cogently and coherently both orally and in writing;
  • gather, process and evaluate critically information from a variety of paper, audio-visual and electronic sources;
  • be an effective and self-aware independent learner.

Workload

Four hours each week are devoted to reading texts, discussion of aspects of language structure, syntax and grammar. Another hour is devoted to conversational Arabic.

Scope and syllabus

Each year a selection of texts is made to form the basis for the study of Arabic at an advanced level; the selection is determined in part by the composition of the class and the standards of the students and in part by the aims defined for this course. The overall aim is to advance students' skills to a point where they can be seen to possess a good command of Arabic worthy of a graduate of the University.

Emphasis is placed on writing and composition on a variety of themes. This is achieved through setting homework twice a week, teachers' correction of compositions (individually) and discussing samples of the group's work which appear relevant to all students. Individual questions are answered out of class or at the end of class. 

Reading skills are also developed through rigorous practice of reading: the text is read out for the class in advance; students are asked to prepare the text for the following class; each student is asked to read part of the text and discuss its meaning; questions about style, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary are asked; a selection of important topics is then built up in order for them to be discussed at length by the teacher when a sufficient set of examples has been collected from the variety of texts discussed in class. 

The linguistic features of texts are analysed as part of the overall dynamics, unity and vision of the text. The variety is intended to display the wide range of topics and themes that can be eloquently and effectively expressed in Arabic and to improve students' ability to use Arabic in various contexts and for different purposes. Comprehension skills are thus improved in a less conscious and artificial fashion than is widely practised in the teaching of Arabic as a second language. 

Translation is used as part of this process rather than as a goal in itself. A selection of lively English texts is made and a corresponding selection of Arabic texts, other than those studied in class. Translations are corrected individually and a selection of points of special significance is made to discuss in class. In the conversation classes students are encouraged to express their ideas and views on a selected number of subjects and to enter into lively dialogues; at times short plays are used with students playing roles. 

Method of assessment

Two mid-term tests (together 10% of the final mark), two three-hour written papers in May-June (70%), and one oral examination, also in May-June (20%).

Suggested reading

Selected texts by a wide variety of writers, ancient and modern, covering a wide variety of topics, themes and experiences. No single reference work is given as providing set-texts. A bibliography can be obtained from the convenor.