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Arabic Language

Why Study Arabic?

The study of Arabic is essential to gaining insights into the cultural, religious, and political contexts of the Middle East, which is ever-present in our daily lives. The United Nations adopted Arabic as one of its six official languages in 1974; the governments of twenty different countries list Arabic as their dominant language. It is the native language of over 300 million people within the Arab world, a region that stretches from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa.The Middle East is the birthplace of civilization and filled with warm, hospitable people. In addition to informing your academic studies, a good knowledge of Arabic will greatly enhance your travels to the Middle East and your ability to work and interact effectively with Arabic-speaking people.

The study of Arabic and the Middle East can lead to an interesting career as a foreign correspondent, reporter, translator, international banker, international consultant, political risk analyst, manager of government relations for oil companies, market analyst for export companies, foreign service officer, development program officer, intelligence analyst, government relations specialist, interpreter, contractual and corporative consultant, or as an educator. The US government currently considers Arabic a critical language and many scholarships and study abroad opportunities are available.

Language Program Information

The Arabic language curriculum at U-M is a comprehensive one. It offers a learner-centered proficiency-oriented sequence of courses at all levels of Arabic instruction and meets the different needs and demands of today’s students coming from a variety of disciplines. It aims to support active and interactive student engagement with reading, writing, listening and speaking Arabic. The program has a strong focus on developing students’ autonomous language learning ability through the development and application of good language learning strategies and critical thinking skills so that students learn not just Arabic but learn how to learn Arabic or any other language they may choose to study in the future. The program requires a serious time commitment for success and seeks to challenge students to excel. Incoming students with prior background or exposure to Arabic are required to take a placement which is offered at least twice a year.

Michigan is the home to the second largest population of Arabic speaking Americans, which offers a special resource for language learners. Also, the program maintains an MCommunity group called “arabicactivities” used to disseminate information relevant to learners of Arabic, including information about study abroad, lectures and films. It is an open group, so any UM student or faculty member can join.

Arabic Language Courses

Fall term courses:

ARABIC 101: Elementary Arabic I

ARABIC 201: Intermediate Arabic I

ARABIC 401: Advanced Arabic I

Winter term courses:

ARABIC 102: Elementary Arabic II

ARABIC 202: Intermediate Arabic II (Completion of this course with a grade of C- or better meets the LSA Language Requirement)

ARABIC 402: Advanced Arabic II

Intensive Courses

ARABIC 203: Intensive Intermediate Arabic I and II (Completion of this course with a grade of C- or better meets the LSA Language Requirement)

This course is typically offered for 10-weeks every summer as part of the LSA Summer Language Institute. For more information on the Summer Language Institute, please visit

500-Level and Above

Beyond the advanced level, each semester the Arabic Language Program offers at least one language proficiency class at a fourth year level, as well as one higher level content/culture class taught in Arabic. The following courses are taught on rotation or when need exists:

ARABIC 501: Advanced Arabic Conversation and Composition

ARABIC 503: Classical Arabic Grammar

ARABIC 504: Advanced Arabic Media I

ARABIC 506: Arabic Phonology and Morphology

ARABIC 507: Arabic Syntax and Semantics

ARABIC 508: Arabic Historical Linguistics and Dialectology

ARABIC 509: Arabic Second Language Acquisition

ARABIC 513: Arabic-English Translation: Theory and Practice

ARABIC 600: Reading Modern Arab Authors in Arabic

ARABIC 601: Modern Arabic Fiction

ARABIC 602: Modern Arabic Nonfiction

Arabic Textbooks

For the first two years of the program, we use the Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al'Arabiyya series, 3rd Edition published by Georgetown University Press, which includes an extensive interactive online website companion. The 2nd Edition materials are used during the third year courses.