Modern Standard Arabic Language in Context: Novice Abroad

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Course Information
Arabic Language/Studies
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

No Arabic courses are required for this course.

Additional student cost: 

Cost of textbooks.


By the end of the course, the successful student will develop a basic foundation in the five skills: intercultural communication, reading, writing, listening and speaking to accomplish a variety of basic everyday needs in the host culture as described in the learning outcomes below.

Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability. One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad are able to learn how to produce language in a variety of situations, such as the making of requests, the use of compliments, and apologies, and they also may develop skills to interpret such interactions within the local cultural context. In short, and logically, study abroad has been shown to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings (IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication, p. 6).

Attendance policy: 

Class attendance is compulsory. Each student will be allowed only two unexcused absences throughout the course. For each unexcused absence beyond this there will be a reduction in the final grade. Students who are late to class on a regular basis will also receive a reduction in their final grade and/or disciplinary action.

Students should not exceed 2 absences in each (45 hours) content course.
Students should not exceed 4 absences in the (90 hours) Arabic language course.

Any additional absence would lower the grades as follows:
1 more absence = will lower the final grade by 5 %
2 more absences= will lower the final grade by 10 %
3 more absences = will lower the grade by 15 %
4 more absences = will lower the grade by 20 %

Any additional absences will continue to lower the final grade by 5% increments. 

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to achieve some of the outcomes for the Novice Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will be able to meet basic everyday needs using verbal communication, they will be able to use compensatory strategies when they do not know a word or an expression (repetition, body language, etc.), and they will be able to identify some basic non-verbal communication strategies.
    2. Students can recognize basic appropriate and inappropriate expressions and behaviors in the host language.
    3. Students will be able to distinguish between basic degrees of formality and informality in the Arabic language.
    4. Students will understand that there may be differences between cultural stereotypes and generalizations between the home and host culture.
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to understand basic statements, requests, descriptions, and questions in specific cultural contexts relevant to them (hosts’ interactions, Center interactions, studying, shopping, transportation, meals).
    2. Students will be able to use context to understand the gist of some basic spoken language they hear/listen to, including the media, conversations between others, and announcements.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to use some basic phrases appropriately in some everyday situations (home, the IES Abroad Center, and the community).
    2. Students will be able to express some basic needs by asking questions, and get what they need in uncomplicated, everyday situations.
  4. Reading
    1. Students will be able to identify and understand basic sentences.
    2. Students will be able to interpret main ideas in short passages and news headlines, but their understanding is often limited to the words or groups of words that they have seen in class.
  5. Writing
    1. With limited accuracy, students will be able to write short sentences and short paragraphs about themselves, their families, their friends, their likes and dislikes, and their daily routines.
    2. Students will be able to send basic emails, text messages, and fill out some basic forms.
Method of presentation: 

The course contents will be delivered by applying a communicative student-centered methodology. The first approximation to the contents will be through texts (written and oral). Students will work individually, in pairs  and in groups in order to acquire and to practice (in writing and orally) the new structures, functions and vocabulary. Also, homework will be assigned so that the students can practice, and clarify doubts.

There will be special assignments related to field study trips. The city of Rabat and its people are the perfect scenario for practicing the target language and learning about the ways people live. Therefore, we will draw on this setting to collect pieces of information for our class discussions and to develop a firsthand appreciation of the Arabic language. Information and communication technology will be very present in the classroom. Some assignments will involve internet research; others will involve blog posts, a podcast or twitter. The e-learning module Moodle will provide instructions, assignments, and ancillary materials and activities.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm Exam - 10%
  • Final Exam - 20%
  • Oral Exams (2 exams) - 10%
  • Quizzes (6 quizzes minimum on listening, speaking, reading, writing, intercultural communication) - 15%
  • Video/Oral presentation - 10%
  • Compositions - 15%
  • Field studies - 10%
  • Class participation - 10%




Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1


Alif Baa: Unit 1 +

  1. Functional: Talking about personal identity. Useful class language.
  2. Grammatical: Sounds and letters. Present tense
  3. Vocabulary: Nationalities. Class activities.
  4. Culture: Arabic speaking countries.

Alif Baa: Unit 2 +

  1. Functional : Talking about shopping. Asking for prices.
  1. Grammatical: Personal pronouns. , Interrogatives
  1. Vocabulary : Numerals (0-10), some shopping items, shops
  1. Cultural: Shopping in Morocco.
  • Interviewing classmates in order to know each other.
  • Asking and giving the motivations to study in Morocco.
  • Oral presentation about Arab
  • Speaking countries.
  • Internet research and oral
  • Presentation about Moroccan brands.
  • Making a shop catalogue with prices
  • Quiz
  • I.A, I.C, II.A,
  • III.A, IV.A
  • II.A, III.A
  • III.A, IV.A,
  • V.A
  • III. A, IV.A,
  • IV.B
  • III.B, V.A I.A,
  • I.B, I.C,
  • I.D, II.A, III.A,
  • III.B
  • II.A, III.A
  • III.A
  • V.A

Week 2


Alif Baa: Unit 3 +

  1. Functional : Talking about personal relationships and family. Describing people’s appearance.
  1. Grammatical: Adjectives (genre and number). Possessives
  1. Vocabulary : Occupations. Physical description
  1. Culture: Cultural Moroccan and Arab celebrities.

Alif Baa: Unit 4 +

  1. Functional : Giving personal information
  1. Grammatical : Reasons and finalities
  1. Vocabulary : Numerals (100-…). Quantities
  1. Cultural: Names and last names in Arabic. Addressing forms
  • Filling out a form with personal Information and interviewing a classmate.
  • Presenting student’s family to the class.
  • Composition
  • My favourite oroccan/Arab
  • celebrity.
  • Field trip: Shopping in Rabat.
  • Buying a gift for a classmate.
  • Comparing Arab names and last names with Americans.
  • Sharing personal information and interests and deciding a group name.
  • Quiz
  • I.B, I.C, I.D
  • II.A, III.A
  • II.A, III.A
  • V.A
  • I.D, I.E, III.A
  • I.B, I.D, III.A,
  • V. A
  • I.D, V.A
  • I.A, II.A, III.A
  • III. A, IV. A,
  • V.A

Week 3

Alif Baa: Unit 5 +

  1. Functional : Talking about daily activities. Asking and saying the time. Talking about schedules
  2. Grammatical : Present tense: regular and irregular verbs
  3. Vocabulary : Times and parts of the day. Daily activities.
  4. Cultural: Moroccan schedules.

Alif Baa: Unit 6 +

  1. Functional : Expressing likes and preferences about leisure time.
  2. Grammatical : Present tense: regular and irregular verbs
  1. Vocabulary : Leisure and hobbies.
  1. Cultural: Languages in Morocco



  • Interviewing a classmate peer about his schedules.
  • Writing a guide about United States schedules.
  • Comparing Moroccan and American schedules.
  • Writing a guide about places to go in Rrabat.
  • Interviewing a person outside the classroom about his/her leisure time.
  • Composition or Short film:
  • The daily life of an American student in Rabat.
  • Quiz

Week 4


Alif Baa: Unit 7 +

  1. Functional: Talking about food and eating habits. Asking in a bar and restaurant. Asking about products and ingredients
  2. Grammatical : Present Tense
  3. Vocabulary : Food. Meals and ingredients. Daily meals. Food habits
  4. Cultural: Moroccan food. Menus and meals in Morocco.

Alif Baa: Unit 8 +

  1. Functional:  Talking about daily activities.
  2. Grammatical : Present Tense
  3. Vocabulary : Times and day parts, Days and frequency  Language about a healthy living.
  4. Cultural: Daily activies in Morocco and America.
  • Role play: A dialogue in a restaurant or in a café.
  • Internet research and oral presentation about a typical SMoroccan dish.
  • Deciding if the student follows a healthy diet.
  • Interviewing a classmate and
  • Finding common daily habits.
  • Writing a guide to avoid stress.
  • Quiz
  • I.A, I.B, I.C,
  • II.A, III.B
  • III.A, IV.A,
  • IV.B, V.A
  • II.A, III.A,
  • IV.A
  • I.A, I.B, I.C,
  • I.D, I.E, II.A,
  • III.A, III.B
  • II.A, III.A
  • IV.B, V.A
  • I.E
  • III.A, IV.B,
  • V.A
  • V.A


Week 5


Alif Baa: Unit 9 +

  1. Functional:  Expressing location. Talking about cities. Comparing. Talking about climate.
  1. Grammatical: Superlatives and comparatives
  1. Vocabulary : Climate and seasons. Language to describe cities.
  1. Cultural: Moroccan cities: Fes and Shefshaouen

Alif Baa: Unit 10 +

  1. Functional: Expressing opinion, Expressing traveling movements.
  2. Grammatical: Present Tense (all forms), Demonstratives
  3. Vocabulary : Language of travelling and holidays. Transports.
  4. Cultural: traditional means of transport in Morocco
  • Comparing Barcelona with the
  • student city.
  • Digital and oral presentation
  • about a Rabat’s neighborhoods.
  • Composition
  • Your city or town.
  • Writing an email and making
  • suggestions to a friend who is visiting the student’s country.
  • Quiz


  • V.B
  • II. A, II.B,
  • III.A, IV.B
  • II.A, III.A,
  • IV.B
  • I.C, I.B, II.A,
  • III.B
  • IV.A, V.A
  • IV.B, V.A
  • I.D, I.E, III.A,
  • IV.B

Week 6


Al Kitab Fi Taalum Al Arabia

( Book 1): Unit 1 +

  1. Functional: Expressing obligation. Expressing recommendations. Describing and locating places
  2. Grammatical: adjectives
  3. Vocabulary : Weather.
  4. Cultural: Regions in Morocco

Al Kitab Fi Taalum Al Arabia ( Book 1): Unit 2

  1. Functional: Shopping for clothes and shoes.
  2. Grammatical: adjectives
  3. Vocabulary : Colors. Language of economical activities. Clothes.
  4. Cultural: Companies in the Arab speaking world.

Al Kitab Fi Taalum AlArabia (Book1): Unit 3

  1. Functional: Describing and locating places.
  2. Grammatical: Superlatives
  3. Vocabulary : Language about accommodations.
  4. Cultural: Holidays places in Morocco.
  5. Review

           Final Exam 

  • Looking for travel deals on the internet, choosing one and presenting it to the rest of the class
  • Role play: a dialogue in a shop.
  • Internet research about a Moroccan company and presenting the information to the class.
  • Looking for a rural cottage on the internet to spend some days and presenting it to the rest of the class.
  • Composition
  • The economy of the student’s country or state.
  • Oral Presentation
  • Practice Quiz


Required readings: 

The course is essentially based on materials from:

  • Mahmoud Al Batal, Kristeen Brustard et al,  Alif Baa (3rd  edition) 2014
  • IES Abroad extra materials