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.

Feb 27, 2010

Conference on the Arabic Language in Lebanon: Comments

Lately, while on vacation, I have not been very active posting on my Blog. However, an article in the Daily Star of Lebanon prompted me to comment on three different points mentioned in the article.
The Daily Star (2/26) reported that a conference on “ Arabic Lacks Standards for Teaching, Testing-Expert” was held in Lebanon to discuss the lack of comprehensive test to measure “the capability of university students in Mother Tongue Language.”
A second point was briefly brought up, and that is the lack of tests to examine how to teach students the Arabic language.
Finally a comment made by the media, I assume the Lebanese media, attending the conference was “ their dissatisfaction about the event which was billed as focusing on the mother tongue.”
It is a fact that in most Arab countries high school students take an examination in the Arabic language as they would in any other subjects. They might fail or pass. The grade is then added to the overall score of the examination. There is no special college entrance examination to test students in Arabic prior to their admission to a university. I doubt that Arab countries, including Lebanon, would ever establish a standard entrance examination for native speakers of Arabic. It is taken for granted that when students graduate from high schools they know Arabic!
What should have been stressed in that conference is HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS THE ARABIC LANGUAGE? That is, the training of teachers should be seriously considered not only in Lebanon, but all over the Arab world.
There is definitely a regression in the teaching and the use of the Arabic language, that is modern standard Arabic, in the Arab world. This regression is due to the existing educational system, and the lack of applying modern methods in teaching the language. The archaic methods used to teach the language are the cause students dislike Arabic classes.
Finally, the use of the words ‘Mother Tongue Language’ to refer to college entrance examination was inappropriate. The media was dissatisfied that the conference did not focus on the Mother Tongue. I assume it expected the discussion of colloquial Lebanese, and its rampant use in the media.
This, of course, can lead to very interesting and heated discussions:
Is colloquial the MOTHER TONGUE, or is it rather the standard language that is the MOTHER TONGUE?
Do children begin the process of socialization in colloquial, or in standard
Arabic?
Any comment?














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1 comment:

  1. Arabic is important because most of the religious transcripts are in Arabic. At the time of independence Arabic was proposed as a national language in Pakistan I think this would have been a very good decision as language is one of the barriers among Muslim counties. On the other hand if we see Arabic parallel to English and other international languages a lot of research needs to be done.

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