SOAS University of London

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

Arabic 1 (PG)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

IMPORTANT! New students - before applying, please refer to the Arabic Module Choices guide to determine your appropriate entry level for Arabic.

This is a beginner's course in Modern Standard Arabic. The main emphasis is on mastering the basic structures of Modern Standard Arabic as a means of communication, particularly in relation to journalism, with equal emphasis on reading, writing, speaking and hearing.



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the module, a student should:

  • have a solid beginner level of competence in both productive (speaking/writing) and receptive (reading/ listening) skills in Arabic.
  • have some knowledge of cultural issues in relation to uses of the language, which also forms part of the course requirements.
  • begin learning the basic structures of Modern Standard Arabic as a means of written communication, particularly in relation to journalism.
  • develop oral competence through extensive use of language laboratory facilities, as well as in small-group conversation classes, where some elements of colloquial Arabic are also introduced.
  • be able to handle basic materials in Arabic and communicate in Arabic at a beginner's level.


This module is taught over 22 weeks with 10 hours of classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

A graded internally-produced syllabus is followed. This provides grammar, vocabulary, exercises, passages for translation and comprehension.

Method of assessment

Assessment for this module consists of the following:

  • 1 x 1-hour term test (30%)
  • 1 x 2-hour end-of-term test (70%)

Suggested reading

Background reading (already available at the Library)
  • Crystal, David. 2004. Rediscover Grammar. Third edition. London: Pearson Longman. [Recommended as a general introduction to the kind of grammatical concepts that will be employed on this module].  
  • Ryding, Karin C. 2005. A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Weninger, Stefan ed. 2011. The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton. [Gives an overview of the family of languages to which Arabic belongs. Students are advised to begin by reading Part VI, which deals with Arabic specifically].


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules