Spoken Arabic is commonly taught as a second language using the Latin script. The Polis Institute is one of the first academic institutions in the world where Spoken Arabic is taught fully in Arabic and written only in Arabic script. The first course of Absolute Beginners includes teaching the alphabet, while candidates for other levels are required to know the script. This methodology facilitates an authentic and direct approach to the language, and is a more natural way of introduction to Modern Standard Arabic.
Modern Standard Arabic is derived from the Classical Arabic, and now remains the official, written and formal spoken Arabic language that is taught in schools, universities, and used by the media.
Arabic is the language of 22 Member States of UNESCO, a language with more than 422 million speakers in the Arab world (World Arabic Language Day, UNESCO, 18th December, 2012).
All courses are taught using The Polis Method which immerses students in the target language from the very first class which allows learning in a more natural way. The Polis Method focuses on total immersion and speech fluency and we believe helps students acquire the language quicker than the traditional grammar translation method.
WHAT IS ARABIC?
The Arabic language can be divided into three varieties:
- Classical Arabic: considered to be the language of pre-Islamic and Islamic period.
- Modern Standard Arabic (MSA): derived from the Classical Arabic ,this is the official Arabic language that is taught in schools, universities, used by the media, etc.
- Spoken Arabic: known also as Dialectal or Colloquial Arabic, constitutes the everyday spoken language with all its regional varieties.
Consequently, Arabic Language exists in a state of diglossia where its two separate registers (written and spoken) are used in different situations in life.
We offer both Spoken Arabic and MSA courses at Polis.
SO WHERE TO START: MSA OR SPOKEN ARABIC?
The answer depends on the academic or practical needs of the student. Starting with MSA, for instance, won't help the student hold a conversation in the street, but will help the student to read texts in formal Arabic.
In fact, most of our students need Arabic for practical daily use, and attend the Spoken Arabic courses.
STUDYING SPOKEN ARABIC AT POLIS
The Spoken Arabic taught at Polis is the Palestinian Urban Arabic used in the central area of the country (Jerusalem), along with some explanations of dialectal issues and differences. The advantage of the Palestinian dialect is its closeness to the formal Arabic in pronunciation and vocabulary, a fact that makes it intelligible in other Arabic speaking areas.
WHY STUDY SPOKEN ARABIC?
A new phenomenon is invading the Arabic Language! Starting recently, Spoken Arabic is being written for the first time, mostly thanks to technological innovations. Until now, Spoken Arabic has been taught using the Latin script. In Polis, however, Spoken Arabic is taught in Arabic and written in Arabic. The first course of Absolute Beginners includes teaching the alphabet, and candidates for other levels are required to know the script, Otherwise, they must study it by themselves or ask for private lessons in order to join the courses. Learning the script facilitates an authentic and direct approach to the language, and is a more natural way of introduction into the MSA.
Spring Semester pre-registration
Spoken Arabic Fall
Fluency in Arabic
MA in Near Eastern Languages
One-Year Program in Near Eastern Languages
Meet the Students
I found the Spoken Arabic class to be very challenging as I came in an absolute beginner with no previous knowledge. Initially I found the immersive method was overwhelming but that made me extra motivated to study everyday. Tthe books were very easy to understand and helpful for reviewing content and the daily homework and weekly exams helped enforce what I learned each day. Since Polis, I can understand more Arabic, and I can express myself, as well as read and write. I would recommend Polis to others, their method is very effective. You can see that the structure of the class has been thought about carefully. I also appreciated that we learned the Arabic alphabet in order to write everything we were learning.
I work with a lot of native Arabic speakers in Jerusalem, and I also have some Arabic speaking friends. I thought it would be helpful for my job and everyday life if I took some classes to gain a stronger command of the language. Polis is a very professional institution, with a solid and well known reputation. I had a positive experience at Polis, the lessons were very lively and never boring, and I had a good dynamic with my classmates and teacher. I would recommend Polis to others. Full immersion in the language and its traditions is the best way to learn. It is also very helpful to interact with native speakers and study in a place where you have the opportunity to apply your knowledge outside the classroom.
Rotem Ben Shalom
Arabic is a language I am constantly surrounded by in Israel and I wanted to be able to communicate with more people. I really enjoyed the dynamic and small size of the class. It allowed for us to advance in the lessons quickly and have a lot of fun. While at Polis my understanding of the Arabic language improved immensely. After only 3 months I now can read and write, my vocabulary has significantly increased, and I can hold simple conversations. I would recommend Polis to others with desire to have a strong command of Arabic. The full immersion method they use has proven effective. The fact the teacher speaks only in Arabic and doesn’t translate is crucial in the learning process.
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