The Arabic language (اللغة العربية transliterated al-lughah al-‘Arabiyyah), or simply Arabic (عربي العربية transliterated ‘Arabiyyah), is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic.
Arabic is the native language of over 500 million people in the Middle East, West Asia and North Africa and one of six official languages of the United Nations. It is also the language of an ancient civilisation, which has contributed to human knowledge. Arabic grammar was first codified in the 7th century and is the liturgical language of Islam. Because of its liturgical role, Arabic has lent many words to other Islamic languages, akin to the role Latin had in Western European languages. Since the Middle Ages, Arabic has also been a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. Its influence is strongly felt on such languages as Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Indonesian and Malay among others. And many European languages still preserve hundreds of words from Arabic origin in various fields of knowledge. Arabic is also the living medium of a contemporary dynamic literature and culture. Its rich and magnificent poetry, classical and modern, is especially captivating.
About the Arabic program
Arabic courses can be undertaken as single courses or as either a major or a minor at a range of proficiency levels. Arabic courses can also be included in the Centre's postgraduate coursework, and as an adjunct to research for MPhil and PhD.
Courses in Arabic use Modern Standard Arabic as the language of teaching
First year Arabic assumes no previous knowledge of the language. It covers the Arabic script and sound system, basic grammar rules. The method of teaching is based on an audio-visual and audio-lingual approach, which is designed to develop the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in an integrated way through the use of dialogues in realistic situations, class interaction and oral and written drills. Grammar is explained in its functional aspect using basic structures of Arabic.
Later courses cover more detailed presentation of functions of the language; oral syntax and morphology, reading of texts and writing compositions.
In the third year, students will have the opportunity to develop a number of conversational and written skills including proficiency in written structures of moderate complexity.
Students who successfully complete their third year of Arabic may then undertake further Arabic studies which include modern literary genres, classical poetry, religious and historical texts.
The Centre determines the language stream in which a student is to enrol, regardless of the degree program. Placement is based on HSC results or its equivalent, an evaluation of students’ prior exposure to Arabic, academic transcripts, or a placement test.