Welcome to the Arabic Language Discussion Forum

Being a retired professor of Arabic and Linguistics, I have elected to publish an archive on how the Arabic language is used in America and across cultures.

I hope to establish a dialogue with people interested in the language, the teaching of the language, the learning of the language, and the interaction of Arabic and English while learning the language.

I am also interested in having a discussion as to the use of Arabic within the contexts of globalization.

Arabic is very much a language that binds a culture and defines a people. This blog is dedicated to understanding how American use, learn, and teach the Arabic language, and how Arabic, in Arab countries has been impacted crossculturally.

Sep 17, 2009

Arabic as a Foreign Language

Copyright © 2009 Aleya Rouchdy, All Rights Reserved
Is the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language in the USA on the increase?

When it comes to learning a foreign language, Arabic should be a choice for students at all levels.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of schools offering the Arabic language. It was reported that in Kalona City, rural city in Iowa, "230 students from kindergarten to fifth grade...are learning Arabic."

Today, the Montana's News Station reported that the US Department of Education awarded Missoula County Public Schools over 700.000 in grant money to bring Arabic language into schools. The program was developed jointly by the University of Montana and the public school officials.

Opportunities to obtain funds for the teaching of Arabic in schools and colleges are, hence, available.

We need here in the US all the Arabic speakers we can have.The reference to Arabic as among 'the less commonly taught foreign languages' should be reversed. Both Arabic and Chinese ought to be among the most commonly taught foreign languages.

8 comments:

  1. This year, the Department of Foreign Languages at West Point had more majors than any other discipline, with Arabic being the number one language chosen.

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  2. The following support Dr. Guedri's statement.
    The popularity of Arabic has increased tremendously in many campuses in the US. For instance, The Ithaca Journal (10/25/09) quoted a statement made by Dick Feldman at the Cornell Language Resource Center saying that "language enrollement is responsive to economic and political forces. Arabic has more than doubled in the last few years, and Chinese has increased by about 25 percent."
    In Michigan, which has the largest number of Arab Americans in the US, Arabic has become a popular language to be taught in universities, colleges and community centers.

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  3. There are many new books on the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language. It is also interesting that there is an increase in the teaching of colloquial. A recent book was published by Nehad Shawky on Egyptian colloquial "kalam fi il 9adaat we taqaliid, ana min il balad di." This book was initiated to house the need for Arabic Heritage Learners (AHL) for advanced proficiency in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.The book explores how important is to presenet Middle East Culture for AHL. Authentic material accompanies the book to clarify the daily language used so that the learners do not feel estranged when they hear Arabic used among Egyptians.
    The author is interested in answering questions pertaining to the book. Her email is shawky@aucegypt.edu

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  4. Teaching pedagogies for Arabic Heritage learners is my focus. A defining distinction between heritage language and foreign language acquisition is that heritage language acquisition begins at home, as opposed to foreign language acquisition which, is usually begun in classrooms. Different variables have to be checked when we need to promote and initiate learning. Goals, curriculums and expected outcomes of a heritage language program .Instructional programs need to be checked, to come out with successful examples, programs, methodologies, teaching styles and materials. These programs that attempt teaching Heritage learners outside school hours are they effective their linguistic and non linguistic goals has to be outlined, furthermore how can these programs be judged as realistic . Curriculum development, and materials; articulation and accreditation of courses that need to be checked. These programs are described as more community-based heritage languages which is in the less standardized ,and what options are available for promoting the maintenance of these languages, more important what the most effective means of evaluating the success of programs for heritage speakers. What factors must be taken into consideration when designing assessment procedures for heritage language learners for example to what extent could research on the different background of test takers and their test results contribute to developing new assessment tools for heritage speakers. We need to determine the knowledge base for heritage speakers; their competencies, skills, capabilities that should be considered in assessing the proficiency of heritage speakers, including the early learners. Teachers are in need to discover and define the appropriate and authentic task types should be used in class.

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  5. There have been some NY Times articles about the exciting news of Chinese learning quadrupling in the past decade in America. It's good news, I hope, for well-trained Chinese teachers (I have great respect for them who have not been recognized as they should), but not for any native speaker who believes that he or she can wet their bill in Chinese’ popularity just because they speak the language natively. As a Chinese language coordinator, I frequently get phone calls and emails from Chinese accountants, sales people, chemists, biologists who want to have a part-time or full-time job as a Chinese teacher, because they speak Chinese with good Beijing accent, they loved Chinese classes in high-school, and their kids in America have been trained by them to speak perfect Chinese. I feel insulted sometimes, as if I was teaching Chinese because I speak with good Beijing accent, I was good at Chinese in high-school, but, unfortunately, I don't have kids yet to teach them how to speak good Chinese, which I know, however, is different from classroom Chinese teaching. Prof. Shengli Feng made a good analogy: everybody can use a knife, but not everybody can become a surgeon. It's true that it is fun to teach a foreigner how to count in Chinese, how to sing a Chinese song, and how to learn many Chinese words (like from a Chinese fortune cookie), but to teach Chinese requires one to know its basic linguistics (which native speakers usually are unaware of), pedagogy, know how to identify students’ mistakes and how to correct them and how to engage students, how to recycle materials and how to accurately assess their progress and how to deal with the balance between writing characters and speaking. Prof. Hsin-hsin Liang at U. of Virginia says “the unlucky thing is that every Chinese teacher believes that he or she is the best teacher”. Chinese teacher training is an emerging field, shortly after TCFL appeared as a profession. Unlike TESOL where there is a great amount of resources, TCFL is still in the process of shaping itself. I think the best way to deal with the booming of Chinese popularity is to train good teachers; otherwise the heat will die down even before Chinese loses its popularity. Chinese is not an easy language to learn and students and teachers can easily get frustrated.

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  6. Having been teaching Chinese for 16 years and with a background in Chinese linguistics, I know it very well that teaching a foreign language is not an easy matter whether it is Arabic or Chinese.There have been some NY Times articles about the exciting news of Chinese learning quadrupling in the past decade in America. It's good news, I hope, for well-trained Chinese teachers (I have great respect for them who have not been recognized as they should), but not for any native speaker who believes that he or she can wet their bill in Chinese’ popularity just because they speak the language natively. As a Chinese language coordinator, I frequently get phone calls and emails from Chinese accountants, sales people, chemists, biologists who want to have a part-time or full-time job as a Chinese teacher, because they speak Chinese with good Beijing accent, they loved Chinese classes in high-school, and their kids in America have been trained by them to speak perfect Chinese. I feel insulted sometimes, as if I was teaching Chinese because I speak with good Beijing accent, I was good at Chinese in high-school, but, unfortunately, I don't have kids yet to teach them how to speak good Chinese, which I know, however, is different from classroom Chinese teaching. Prof. Shengli Feng made a good analogy: everybody can use a knife, but not everybody can become a surgeon. It's true that it is fun to teach a foreigner how to count in Chinese, how to sing a Chinese song, and how to learn many Chinese words (like from a Chinese fortune cookie), but to teach Chinese requires one to know its basic linguistics (which native speakers usually are unaware of), pedagogy, know how to identify students’ mistakes and how to correct them and how to engage students, how to recycle materials and how to accurately assess their progress and how to deal with the balance between writing characters and speaking. Prof. Hsin-hsin Liang at U. of Virginia says “the unlucky thing is that every Chinese teacher believes that he or she is the best teacher”. Chinese teacher training is an emerging field, shortly after TCFL appeared as a profession. Unlike TESOL where there is a great amount of resources, TCFL is still in the process of shaping itself. I think the best way to deal with the booming of Chinese popularity is to train good teachers; otherwise the heat will die down even before Chinese loses its popularity. Chinese is not an easy language to learn and students and teachers can easily get frustrated.

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  7. Arabic language is spoken in a lot of countries these days. Some countries have made arabic language compulsory in schools. Arabic language can be of great use for a person as it helps you in studying the vast muslim heritage and culture. By learning arabic language you will easily be able to read the holy quran and other islamic books

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  8. Arabic is now widely spoken in various countries in the world. But you need a professional learning institute and person who/that provide you innovative you innovative ideas to educate.

    Kids English Learning

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