Our driving emphasis is on fluent, accurate and culturally sensitive communication.
We begin with an oral approach to the language. The first 10-week period concentrates on accurate pronunciation and oral communication. Then, one third of class time is taken up with literacy, grammar and literature. At the end of the full program, a student should be able to deal with various subjects orally, and be able to read some books printed in Arabic. We also cover letters, articles, lessons, sermons and talks upon a wide variety of subjects. Students must apply themselves diligently throughout the two-year course to be able to communicate with ease in Arabic.
Knowing the Arabic alphabet in advance is not necessary. “Conversational” Arabic differs significantly from Classical or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and can almost be regarded as a separate language. Conversational Arabic is an unwritten language. MSA is the only acceptable written representation of Arabic and it is not flexible in vocabulary or spelling, so when it differs from conversational Arabic, it is not a good medium to represent spoken words. With few exceptions, we use a western script/transliteration to represent the words in spoken Arabic and teach the Arabic script when we introduce reading and writing MSA.
New students are placed in the first level of the program. Students who studied Arabic previously may seek advance placement only to level 2. To qualify, they must take three tests in advance:
- Placement test
- Final Book One (Patterns) exam with a score of no less than 80%.
- Petra Book (Grammar) exam from lesson 1 to 10 with a score of no less than 80%.
These tests should be taken far enough in advance to arrange remedial tutoring if necessary. The placement test fee is 20 JOD. Approval is the prerogative of the program director.
Non-students are not allowed to observe classes. Students may, however, after notifying the program office, bring guests to mix with other students during tea break (10:25-10:50). Guests are welcome at any time in the program office, but appointments are recommended.
Students should be aware that hosting visitors from overseas requires a great deal of effort and time and impedes language study. As much as is practical, students should host visitors only when school is not in session.