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.

Dec 12, 2010

Surge in the Teaching of Arabic in the U.S.

On November 17, 2010 I attended the AATA (Arabic American Teaching Association) meeting held in conjunction with MESA in San Diego.

Out of curiosity I asked Dr. Aman Attieh, professor of Arabic and member of the AATA Executive Board, to give me a list of new positions advertised this year. She wrote back stating that “for the academic year 2010-2011, there are at least 22 new positions advertised in higher education institutions to be filled in Arabic.”

Arabic, as a foreign language, has always been taught, but mostly limited to large academic institutions. By comparison other foreign languages, predominantly western languages, were taught in academic institutions across the board.

There is no question that nowadays it is very important to learn and teach Arabic in the USA. This phenomenon is on the increase due to the complex political and economic world events that require an awareness of others, culturally and linguistically. It is a language, along with Chinese, that plays important role on the global stage.

Eric Gorski in an article referring to the languages mostly studied in the U.S. (Bloomberg.com), 12/8/2010), wrote “The highest gainer was Arabic, which jumped to No. 8 from No.10 on the list of most-studied languages. He further says, “Interest in languages often rise with world events, but many experts say Arabic is not a passing fad considering the long-term importance of U.S. relation with the Muslim world.”


Larry Gordon in his article in The Los Angeles Times (12/7/2010) Arabic, Korean and Chinese deemed fastest-growing language courses at U.S. colleges, wrote that in a study conducted by MLA of 2, 500 universities and colleges, enrollment in Arabic “surged by 46% between 2006 and 2009. More U.S. college students are studying Arabic than Russian, a change that officials say reflects a shift of interest from Cold War concerns to current issues involving the Middle East and terrorism.”


In a letter to AATA members, Dr. Elizabeth M.Bergman, Executive Director of AATA wrote, “…the MLA regularly surveys colleges and universities in the United States about enrollments in foreign languages—including Arabic, of course. She further wrote, “the results of the survey for 2006 and 2002 are available on the MLA website (scroll down to “Surveys” at http://www.mla.org/documents#tab06). They documented a huge increase in enrollments in Arabic language classes throughout the country.”

There are numerous articles written about the surge of Arabic studies in the U.S. I have pasted some links for those interested in further pursuing this information and gathering data for a more extended study on the status of Arabic teaching and learning in the U.S.





For further number of articles on American college students studying Arabic, go to:


Copyright © 2010 Aleya Rouchdy, All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Hi all the Arabic teachers, I discovered the website "teacherspayteachers.com" where teachers share their materials. I would like to invite the Arabic teachers to use this website and join the community.