Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

Arabic - Beginners




Admission Requirements



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. 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

The course familiarises students with Arabic script and phonetics and aims at giving them the possibility to understand basic structures of MSA. This is a elementary course, that will be followed by a course in the second semester. The two courses together form an integrated basic 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.

Mode of Instruction

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. The course requires a lot of self-teaching at home, based on a colourful text book, with audio video material.




Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi, Alif Baa, Introduction to Arabic letters and Sounds, Third Edition, 2010, Georgetown University Press. (For the two first weeks)

Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, Abbas Al-Tonsi, Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-‘Arabiyya: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic, Part One, Second Edition, 2004, Georgetown University Press.

Recommended reading:

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.,

Contact Information

Course instructor: ajaber9@gmail.com
Course convener: d.heshmat@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

As this is a general language course, all language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) will be dealt with every week.

Preparation for first session