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About the Department of Arabic

The Department of Arabic at Middlebury focuses on the study of Arabic language, culture, and literature. We offer four years of Arabic language and culture courses as well as a wide variety of content courses on the Arab world.

Our content courses are offered both in English at the 200-level and in Arabic at the 400-level, and they cover a wide variety of topics and disciplines: literature, linguistics, cinema, gender studies, and issues of the environment in the Arab world. These content courses are typically cross-listed as electives for programs such as Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, as well as Environmental Studies. In our content courses, we introduce our students to original research published in journal articles and book chapters, as well as texts drawn from a wide range of sources.

Our language and culture sequence extends from the beginning to the advanced levels. In the first two years of their Arabic studies, our students focus on learning the variety of Arabic known as Modern Standard Arabic—the language typically used in the media, education, literature, religious texts, science, and other formal contexts. We also introduce our students to the basics of some vernacular Arabic dialects (typically Egyptian, Levantine, and Moroccan), so they are aware of the linguistic diversity in the Arab world, prior to their junior-year immersive experience with vernacular Arabic at the Middlebury study abroad sites in Amman (Jordan) and Rabat (Morocco).

For our Arabic language and culture curriculum, we adopt the widely used Al-Kitaab textbook series, supplemented by a wide range of additional authentic materials and activities created by the Arabic faculty, thereby providing our students with regular exposure to the language as it is used in the Arabic-speaking world.

In addition to taking Arabic during the academic year on the Vermont campus, our students also take advantage of three more Middlebury sites for Arabic study: The Middlebury Arabic School during the summer, the Middlebury School in Amman, Jordan, and the Middlebury School in Rabat, Morocco. All three programs adopt an immersion approach to language learning with strict observance of the Language Pledge, and, as a result, students typically experience a substantial improvement in their proficiency in Arabic as well as a deeper understanding of issues related to Arab culture.

While our language and culture classes are formal settings, Arabic faculty make sure to create a congenial atmosphere where all students get to use the language with their peers in a way conducive to collaborative learning. In addition, our students have the opportunity to attend weekly language lunch tables to chat in Arabic with each other and with their professors in an informal setting. The Arabic House, where the Arabic Teaching Assistant and five other students live while adhering to the Language Pledge, is another venue on campus that provides a great opportunity for our students to improve their Arabic proficiency and take part in a wide range of co-curricular activities. We also organize a wide range of guest lectures and music concerts, examples of which you can see on the News and Events page.

Department of Arabic

Voter Hall
381 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753