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Arabic 1 Beginners


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


This is an MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) course for beginners. MSA is the common language in the 22 Arabic countries, and is widely spread in the inter-Arab media (such as al-Jazeera). This course will provide students with the basics in Arabic and give them a good background if they wish, later on, to learn one of the many dialects of the region. The course is based on an interactive method, giving space to the student to practice and to make sure he/she is progressing in the learning process. Based on an attractive text book, with audio visual material helping the student to efficiently improve pronunciation as well as listening and fluency skills, the course requires a lot of self-teaching at home. Introduction of communicative skills as well as grammar basics will be done through the story of Egyptian and Syrian students, introducing learners to an Arabic cultural environment.

Course objectives

This elementary course familiarises students with Arabic script and phonetics and aims at giving them the possibility to understand basic structures of MSA. With the following course in the second semester, it forms an integrated language course. At the end of the total learning process, participants will be able to read and understand simple texts (with help of the dictionary), to follow simple speeches, and to converse about routine matters.

This course aims at the A1 level of the Common European Framework.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Three two hour tutorials every week

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or a tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

  • Total course load: 280 hours (10 EC)

  • Attending classes: 72 hours (6 hrs per week over 12 weeks)

  • Preparing classes, exams and extra activities : 208 hours

Assessment method

  • Learning aim
    Use of the target language to present and interact with correct pronunciation, vocabulary items and grammar
    Assessment: In Class oral assignment (twice per semester)
    Percentage: 10%

  • Mastering Arabic script
    Assessment:In class dictation test
    Percentage: 10%

  • Use of course contents, including vocabulary items, grammar, character writing I
    Assessment: Written Exam
    Percentage: 20%

  • Understanding of basic conversations in the target language, use of target language to interact with native speaker
    Assessment: Final Listening exam/Oral exam
    Percentage: 30%

  • Use of course contents, including vocabulary items, grammar, character writing II
    Assessment: Final Written exam
    Percentage: 30%

The resit will be a written exam of two hours, and will test if the students have reached the end level of this semester. This exam consists of the following components:

  • Reading and writing;

  • Written dialogue;

  • Vocabulary and grammar.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Compulsory Literature:

  • Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi, Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds, Third Edition, 2010, Georgetown University Press.

  • Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi, Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-‘Arabiyya: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic, Part One, Third Edition, 2011, Georgetown University Press.

  • Companion web sites to Alif Baa and Al-Kitaab,

Recommended Literature:

  • Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Arabic-English). Edited by J. Milton Cowan. Fourth Edition, considerably enlarged and amended by the author. (Ithaca, N.Y., 1994).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.



Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.