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Modern Standard Arabic 1


Admission requirements

This course is only open to students in the BA Midden-Oostenstudies.

Intensive course in the first week of September (16 hours):

  • Monday 4 September, Wednesday 6 September, Thursday 7 September and Friday 8 September (10-12 hrs, 13-15 hrs)


This is the first of a four-course sequence that aims at helping students learn and use Arabic. This course will take students through the beginning steps in understating and using the Arabic language and culture.
The focus of this course is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It will also introduce students to a limited amount of Egyptian Arabic as one spoken variety of Arabic

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will start using short memorized phrases to interact in simple predictable situations. Students will be able to understand and express basic information about familiar topics like self, family, likes or dislikes. Students will be able to reflect on how to express such information in culturally appropriate and relevant manner.



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 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

  • Intensive course: 16 hrs

  • Lectures: 7 x 8 = 56 hrs.

  • Preparation and homework assignments: 66 hrs.

  • Assessment: 2 hrs.
    Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method


To be allowed to sit for the final exam, students must satisfy the following skills requirements throughout the course:

  • Classroom participation: 20%

  • Quizzes: 30%

  • Homework assignments: 50%

Students who achieve at least 80% of the above skills requirements may register for the final exam, which counts for 100% of the course grade.


Final exam (100%)


Students who do not receive a passing mark for the final exam may take a resit exam.

Exam review

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

Reading list

  • Alif Baa, Third Edition Bundle (Book + DVD + Website Access Card), Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi, ISBN: 9781626161221.

  • Al-Kitaab Part One, Third Edition Bundle: Book + DVD + Website Access Card, Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi, ISBN: 1626161240.

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

One of the following:

  • Badawi, E.-S., Carter, M. G., & Gully, A. (2003). Modern written Arabic: a comprehensive grammar. London: Routledge.

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


BA 1 Midden-Oostenstudies and MA Middle Eastern Studies (tracks Modern Middle East or Islamic Studies) students will be registered by the administration.

Other student who are interested in this course as an optional, are requested to send an email to the study coordinator including their name, student ID number, course title MSA 1, and motivation to take this course.
Depending on the availability of places, the study coordinator will register these students after August 22. By September 1 at the latest the student will be able to see in uSis whether (s)he is registered or not.
Not registered, means no permission to attend this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


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).