Monday, October 24, 2005

Damascus University Arabic Center Website Change

It looks like the Arabic Center at Damascus University has changed to the following:

Arabic Center at Damascus University


The Amiyya vs. Fusha Debate is on


The debate is on. What do you think about the teaching and learning of colloquial Arabic vs. Modern Standard Arabic? When should a student learn colloquial? There are some universities in the US that teach both concurrently - though they are the exception. Most universities teach only Fusha for the first 2 years at least.

I am in the minority. I think, for reasons I shall post sometime, that students ought to learn colloquial and MSA at the same time. How about you? I have asked many students and many professors. This is "the" question in US Arabic academia. Let me know your thoughts.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

The importance of immersion / study abroad programs

A Ceiling Effect in Traditional Classroom Foreign Language Instruction: Data from Russian

Benjamin Rifkin
The Modern Language Journal
Vol. 89 Issue 1 Page 3 March 2005

This is an interesting article that provides data about the necessity of immersion and/or study abroad programs. Russian is a less commonly taught language (LCTL) like Arabic. Students who really want to learn Arabic must go to an immersion/study abroad program - preferably after having had a few (two) years of instruction in their country. The learning curve will be faster if you go to an immersion/study abroad program with significant preparation. Students who do not go on such a program may reach the ceiling of their proficiency. The reverse is also true - students who simply show up to the country may never reach a high level of proficiency if they do not have explicit instruction. This instruction could be received in the foreign country, but the methodologies and teaching may not be worth leaving your home country as a beginner.

Benjamin Rifkin is a quality instructor and researcher.

enjoy, Jeremy