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Modern Standard Arabic 1


Admission requirements

  • This course is only open to students in the BA Midden-Oostenstudies and the MA Middle Eastern Studies.

  • Intensive course: in the week before the start of the 1st semester (August 31, September 4), details to be announced.


This is the first of a four-course sequence that aims at helping students learn and use Modern Standard Arabic, the mainly written variety of Arabic. This course will take students through the beginning steps in understating and using the Arabic language and culture.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will produce short memorized phrases in Modern Standard Arabic. Students will be able to understand and express basic information about familiar topics. Students will be able to identify basic morphological and syntactic structures of Modern Standard Arabic.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors 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 such 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 four. Being absent without notification and/or more than four times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course. there will be no resits for quizzes missed due to absence.

Assessment method

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:

Partial Assessment Weighing
Quizzes 25%
Homework 10%
Final exam 65%


If the final grade is below 5.5 there is the possibility to resit for 65% of the grade (which will replace the grades for the final exam). The grades for quizzes and homework cannot be retaken and will count towards the final grade.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list


  • Alif Baa, Third Edition, Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi, Georgetown University Press.

  • Al-Kitaab Part One, Third Edition, Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi, Georgetown University Press.

  • Additional material as deemed appropriate by instructor, made available via Brightspace.


  • Companion website to Alif Baa.

  • Companion website to Al-Kitaab.


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


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


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 accommodations 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). It is also unacceptable for students to reuse portions of texts they had previously authored and have already received academic credit for on this or other courses. In such cases, students are welcome to self-cite so as to minimise overlap between prior and new work.