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Study Arabic As A Second Language

807 words - 4 pages

The Middle Eastern Studies department in the University of Texas at Austin teaches many languages which are spoken in Middle East like Turkish, Hebrew, and Urdu, but Arabic is the largest program. Arabic study programs are funded by the government and attached to many schools in the Middle East such as in Egypt and Jordan. It offers bachelor's, master's, and PhD degrees as well as professional certifications, yet the unique PhD program offered is to teach Arabic for non-native speakers. In this department, Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi published the textbook "Al-kitaab", which is used "nationally and internationally" for teaching Arabic. In one of the top five teaching Arabic program in the nation, as an Arabic speaker and English learner, I meet Brian and Jim, who are undergraduate American students, at the Union Building at least once a week to exchange language and discover more about other's culture. I found that the improvement of their Arabic skills is remarkable. As a result, I decided to have an interview with them and asked them about their experience.
In the beginning of the interview, Brian explained why he studies Arabic by telling his experience in the Middle East in the US military. He found the aspects of Arabic are entirely different from other languages he knew, for example, English and German. The language and the culture are inseparable, and it is difficult to learn Arabic without understanding the culture; therefore, he decided to study Arabic because, "You learn two things at once." However, Jim, who is energetic and speaking fast, has not been to Arab world, but he attended military college for one year and left it for a personal reason. While he was in the military college, he discovered that, "There are needs for communication." Consequently, in the fall 2012, which is after he left the college, he decided to re-enlist in the US military after he earns a bachelor's degree in Arabic study because it is unique and rare.
After the reasons for studying Arabic, I asked them about the first impression that they had in the first Arabic class. In Jim's situation, the first day with his Arabic teacher, Aza, was unforgettable. He described how the language is different from English in an excited voice. He said it has different aspects and the letters...

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