Academic Programs 

Introduction to Arabic Phonology and Script (LG-580)
Fall 2007

Students will master the writing system of standard Arabic, as well as the sounds of the language. A basic vocabulary of more than 100 words will be learned, and at the end of the term students will be able to engage in short, simple conversations. Both Levantine and Egyptian pronunciation will be covered. Assumes no prior knowledge of Arabic.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Mondays and Thursdays from 5:15 to 6:25 p.m., beginning September 13

Steven Blackburn
Faculty Associate in Semitic Scriptures

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9561


Course Syllabus


Alif-Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds by Brustad et al.
Al-Kitaab fi ta`allum al-`arabiyya by Brustad et al. (second semester)
Dictionary (not required): A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Wehr), edited by J M. Cowan

In this course students will be introduced to two modes of Arabic: the “Standard” language based on the Classical Arabic of the Qur’an, and a “colloquial” version spoken by the educated classes of Egypt.

No one can be said to “know” Arabic unless both types, “standard” and “colloquial,” have been mastered. This semester begins the lengthy process of doing just that.
Homework assignments will be graded; cumulatively they will account for 25% of the final grade. Chapter tests will also amount to 25%; attendance and class participation, 25%; the final exam in December will also amount to 25%. If you show steady improvement during a semester, then earlier, lower grades will happily be “forgotten” in averaging out your final mark.

While ANY syllabus is tentative, every effort will be made to adhere, at least vaguely, to the following schedule:

Thurs 9/13 Arabic – an Overview
9/17 & 9/20 Unit 1, Alif-Baa
9/24 & 9/27
Unit 2, Alif-Baa
10/1 & 10/4 Unit 3, Alif-Baa
10/8 & 10/11 Unit 4, Alif-Baa
Mon 10/15
Exam, Units 1-4
Thurs 10/18 Unit 5, Alif-Baa
10/20 & 10/25 Unit 6, Alif-Baa
10/28 & 11/1

Unit 7, Alif-Baa
11/5 & 11/8 Unit 8, Alif-Baa
Mon 11/12 Learning to Use an Arabic Dictionary
Thurs 11/15 Exam, Units 4-8
Mon 11/19

11/26 & 11/29 Unit 9, Alif-Baa
12/3 & 12/6
Unit 10, Alif-Baa
12/10 & 12/13 Review
Mon 12/17 Final Exam (Cumulative)

NB: When learning a language, it is (infinitely?) better to work a little each day than to cram on weekends or over large chunks of time. In other words, an hour each day of review and preparation during the week is to be preferred over spending the entirety of a Saturday or Sunday trying to catch-up.

Also, in learning a language, it is better to use your out-of-class time to work on material that has already been presented in class, rather than to “work ahead”. Working ahead risks internalizing faulty linguistic input: This is NOT a “teach yourself” course!

“I’m not here to hand out bad grades” is one of my mottos. Every effort will be made to keep you all up to speed, that being one of the luxuries of having a small class.
Most importantly: HAVE FUN! Even though Arabic is NOT an easy language, it CAN be enjoyable. I’ll try to make it that way; if you work, there is that much more chance of making it that way for yourself.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500