The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Middle Studies (CAMES) at the American University of Beirut offers a seven-week program in Lebanese Arabic that offers intensive instruction at two levels: Introductory and Intermediate. The program is designed for students who want to develop proficiency in Lebanese Arabic and thus places heavy emphasis on the speaking and listening skills and on building intercultural competence. The Introductory Lebanese Arabic class is designed for students with no previous exposure to Arabic while the Intermediate Lebanese Arabic class has a prerequisite of one year of prior study of Arabic. The Lebanese Arabic program offers students 9 credit hours which can be transferred to their home institutions. Below are course descriptions for the Lebanese Arabic Program offered each summer.
MEST 380 Introductory Lebanese Colloquial Arabic (Intensive) (9 cr.)
This course is designed for students who have had little or no previous exposure to Arabic and would like to gain basic proficiency in Lebanese Arabic (LA). The course builds proficiency in LA through a communicative-based approach. Through video and text materials that deal with a wide variety of communicative functions and tasks and that are rich in cultural content, students will develop their speaking and listening skills in LA. In addition, they will be able to contextualize these skills in culturally-appropriate contexts and demonstrate their understanding of the diverse products, practices, and perspectives of Lebanese culture and society. The course will introduce students to the Arabic alphabet and to an extensive vocabulary and grammatical structures that will enable them to interact with speakers of LA in contexts related to the Novice and Intermediate levels of proficiency with ease and confidence. The course will focus on discussing topics of personal and public interest, describing and narrating personal experiences, making presentations, watching and analyzing TV programs, soap operas and films, and listening to songs. The course utilizes a wide variety of instructional materials developed by the CAMES Arabic teaching team. No prior knowledge of Arabic is required for the course.
MEST 382 Intermediate Lebanese Colloquial Arabic (Intensive) (9 cr.)
This course is designed for students who already have some knowledge of Standard Arabic and/or Lebanese Arabic (LA) but want to devote more attention to developing higher level of proficiency in LA. The program provides students with the opportunity to improve their Lebanese colloquial Arabic skills through a wide variety of activities, including discussing topics of personal and public interest, describing and narrating in detail, conversations and debates, stating and supporting opinions, making presentations, watching and analyzing TV programs, soap operas and films, and listening to songs and music. In addition, the program helps students develop familiarity with and understanding of the diverse products, practices, and perspectives of Lebanese culture and society. The program utilizes a wide variety of instructional materials developed by the CAMES Arabic teaching team. The prerequisite for this program is one year (two semesters or the equivalent) of Arabic study. To insure proper placement in the program, a Skype oral interview is required of all applicants.
MEST 384 Advanced Lebanese Colloquial Arabic (Intensive) (9 cr.)
The Advanced Lebanese Colloquial Arabic class enables students to further develop their speaking and listening skills in Lebanese Arabic with special attention to expanding the their knowledge of Lebanese culture. Students in the course are exposed to a variety of historical, social, economic, touristic, and artistic topics related to Lebanese Arabic language and culture. The class enhances students’ listening skills by exposing them to different uses of the Lebanese dialect in authentic frames such as news reports, television series and internet series. Conversation skills are developed by encouraging students to speak in a participatory manner during the extensive discussions of the materials in class, with emphasis on pronunciation and speaking the Lebanese dialect properly. The class encourages students to use the general vocabulary used in daily life situations in a precise and smooth manner, and enriches their linguistic reserve by exposing them to a large amount of vocabulary and expressions related to the historical, social, economic, touristic, media and artistic fields. This enables students to use more complex and advanced structures and to master the use of certain verbs and words of recurrent use in the Lebanese dialect that have multiple meanings. The class demonstrates the similarities and differences between Lebanese Arabic and Standard Arabic, allowing students learn how to move between the two with ease, and helps them to understand the sociolinguistic contexts in which these Arabic varieties are used.
This program is highly demanding, so students are expected to be totally committed and ready to attend classes and do homework on a daily basis. The typical daily workload entails 6 hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of homework.