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Reading Modern Arabic Texts


Admission requirements

All preceding Arabic language acquisition courses from the first semester: Arabic Literature, Arabic Linguistic Diversity and dialect 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 lower intermediate level course aims at introducing students to spoken and written texts from different genres such as literature, religion, art, economics, politics, etc.

All the required Arabic texts will be posted on Blackboard.

Course objectives

This course is proficiency-driven. It aims at raising students’ proficiency within the intermediate level.

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

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

  • Identify the structure of an article, main ideas, and supporting details of short texts written in Modern Standard Arabic.

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

  • Analyze, summarize, and evaluate short texts (1-6 pages or 5 – 15 minutes spoken).

  • Give a presentation with factual information based on written or spoken materials.

  • Write short text (1 – 3 pages) of factual information on familiar topics.



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

10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hrs
Seminars (13 x 4) 52
Compulsory reading/writing/talking/listening materials 204
Tests’ preparation 20
Exams 4

Assessment method and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Homework 25%
Active in-class participation 15%
Presentations 10%
Midterm 20%
Final Exam 30%

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


There is only a resit for the final exam (30%).

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.

Recommended reference grammar of Arabic:
Ryding, C. (2005). A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge University Press.


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


Dr. H.I.A.A. Ahmed

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).