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Reading Modern Arabic Texts


Admission requirements

All preceding Arabic language acquisition courses (MSA 4, Arabic Literature, Arabic Linguistic Diversity) or equivalent knowledge of MSA. Prospective students having deficiencies may join the course if their Arabic level is sufficient; this will be determined by the lecturers and prospective students must seek the lecturers’ consent before the beginning of the course. The level is the low intermediate level.


This course has a parallel course 5852VRPMAW covering Pre-Modern Arabic Texts. The present low intermediate course in Modern Standard Arabic has several goals:

  • To let students gain experience reading for the purpose of comprehension and analysis of short texts (1-4 pages).

  • To teach students how to put their acquired language skills into practice.

All the required Arabic texts will be posted on Blackboard.

Course objectives

This course is proficiency-driven. It aims at raising students’ proficiency (mainly) in reading within the intermediate level, and prepares for the third years’ course of Arabic (literature).

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Read Arabic texts in their original language with the aid of a dictionary;

  • Develop their proficiency in Arabic and Arabic grammar;

  • Identify structure, main ideas, supporting details of short texts written in Modern Standard Arabic and coming from various genres and text types (article, short story, biography, poem, script, and the like) in various themes and topics (literature, culture, politics, religion).

  • Identify and appreciate cultural constructs and practices underlying a given text.

  • Analyze, summarize, and evaluate short texts (1-6 pages).

  • The skills to be taught include, in addition to grammar (to be taught by Kon) active language use like composition, (email) writing, Adawāt-like syntactical structures, discussing questions about the texts (to be taught by Ms Elshindy).



Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convener(s) need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

  • Seminars: (2 + 2 =) 4 x 13 = 52 hrs.

  • Preparation and homework: (2 + 2 =) 4 x 12 = 48 hrs.

  • Compulsory reading/writing/talking/listening materials: 160 hrs.

  • Tests’ preparation: 20 hrs.

  • Total course load: 280 hrs (= 10 EC).

Assessment method

Assessment method

The assessment will consist of four parts:

  • Homework

  • Active in-class participation

  • Midterm

  • Final exam


  • Homework: 15%

  • Active in-class participation: 15%

  • Midterm: 30%

  • Final exam: 40%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


There is only a resit for the final exam (40%).

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Blackboard ( will be used for all compulsory primary texts.

Reading list

Students will receive a detailed week-by-week handout of the required readings at the beginning of the course.
The detailed syllabus and readings will also be available on Blackboard.
Reference grammars of Arabic include (University Library, Internet):

  • El-Said Badawi, M.G. Carter, A. Gully, Modern Written Arabic. A Comprehensive Grammar (London/New York: Routledge 2016; revised edition by Maher Awad).

  • Karin C. Ryding, A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Drs. R.E. Kon Shereen Elshindy