Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
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An official language of the United Nations, an estimated 300 million people are native speakers Arabic. Moreover, because it the language of the Quran, approximately one billion Muslims around the world use Arabic in some religious capacity. In other words, Arabic performs two functions: communicative and religious. Many Americans today are interested in learning Arabic, as it opens up opportunities for work in 22 countries (the members of the Arab League). But, most importantly, young Americans learn Arabic (among other languages) because language is the key to any cultural exchange and understanding. Lastly, Arabic is a language of a civilization. Historically speaking, Arabic is one of a few languages that spread as a medium of intellectual thought, as well as a lingua franca.

Please go to the Course Descriptions page for a list of courses, course descriptions and prerequisites, and go to Schedule of Courses for course scheduling information for each semester, including class times and locations.

We offer a major and minor in Arabic. Learn more about degree requirements.

Arabic Fulbright Teaching Assistant 2018-2019

Ms. Fatima Alaiwi, from Bahrain is our program’s Fulbright Teaching Assistant for 2018-2019.

She will be holding a weekly tea hour at the International Center (room 302) every Thursday from September 6-December 6, 2018, between 2:00-3:00 p.m. All Arabic students are welcome to participate.

She also holds office hours every Tuesday between 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Wells B-430. Students are encouraged to go see her to get extra practice with the Arabic. Her email is: fatima_bh@msn.com.

Blurring Boundaries Symposium250x250-i-collab-bug_reverseMSU.png

The Arabic Program hosted a symposium on "Blurring Boundaries: Arabic Identities Across the Mediterranean," organized by Dr. Camelia Suleiman (Arabic) and Dr. Marc Bernstein (Hebrew), November 1-3, 2017. Visit this web page for event resources.

A podcast discussion about the symposium is available from iCollaborate.

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Ayman Mohamed

Mohamed.jpgDr. Ayman Mohamed, who specializes in the acquisition of Arabic as second language is leading the move in the offering of first and second year Arabic into hybrid classes. Students have a four day schedule in class, and their fifth day is online practicing. The hybrid project in the Arabic Program was launched in Fall 2016 for first year Arabic and extended in Fall 2017 to second year Arabic classes. It consists of one online hour to replace one class meeting. The online modules reinforce vocabulary, grammar, reading and listening through web-based material that motivates input-processing and guided output. The self-paced structure of the online module allows learners to adjust their performance and make good use of their language resources at their convenience. The hybrid project is  well-suited within the flipped classroom philosophy. One of its major benefits is that it allows the teacher to expose students to a wide variety of authentic material and bring their awareness that language exists outside of the textbook and class worksheets. The Arabic Program would like to thank Dr. Bill Van Patten from the Spanish Program, who is considered an authority in second language acquisition, and who has been generous with his time and expertise, and helped the program with the theoretical underpinning of the hybrid curriculum.

Student Interning with NGOs: Alexis Puente

Picture 3.jpgAlexis is double majoring in international relations and Arabic at Michigan State University. Alexis lived in Jordan for almost ten months spending time traveling throughout the Middle East and interning at NGOs. Alexis traveled to the United Arab Emirates, Palestine and extensively within Jordan. Currently Alexis is an Arabic Tutor for James Madison College and a Policy Intern at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan. After Alexis graduates she plans to pursue a PhD in International Development.

Arabic Students Working with Syrian Refugees

Crossing both cultural and language barriers, two MSU Arabic classes are gaining true conversational experience through the creation of an Arabic language conversation program that pairs students with Arabic-speaking refugees from Syria.

CAL News: Arabic Students and Syrian Refugees

Arabic Student Wins Gliozzo Award

FeehaHasan.jpgThe Arabic Program congratulates Feeha Hasan for getting the 2018 Gliozzo award from Muslim Studies. Feeha Hasan is a senior studying Nutritional Sciences and Arabic with a minor in Health Promotion. Her interest lies in studying how marginalization specifically impacts the Muslim world by focusing on the importance of the Arabic language within communities that are marginalized by ethnicity for economic and political gain.


MSU Arabic Student Nominated for Truman Scholarship

sumaya-malas_lg.jpegSumaya Malas, a junior majoring in comparative cultures and politics, as well as Arabic and international relations, has been nominated for a Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship Foundation recognizes students for exceptional leadership potential who are committed to affecting change through public service by providing them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students. Read the story here.

Student Establishes Children’s Library in Morocco

Arabic, English, and Secondary Education student Stephanie Saba is completing a one-year language intensive program in Meknes, Morocco, where she is making a difference in the lives of children who visit the Library of the Grand Mosque.

Saba is one of 23 students chosen to participate in 2016-2017 Arabic Flagship Program offered through the American Council for International Education.

As part of this highly competitive program, students are expected to immerse themselves in the culture of Morocco by living with host families and choosing an internship that aligns with their course studies. Saba, a lover of languages, is interning at the Library of the Grand Mosque. Read more about Stephanie Saba's story on the College of Arts and Letters article.

Arabic Student Honored with the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award

The Arabic Program congratulates Paige Henderson on receiving the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in Arabic at the award ceremony of the Linguistics and Languages Department on April 28, 2017. Paige is graduating with double majors in Arabic Studies and Engineering. She will also pursue further learning of Arabic in Jordan this summer.


MSU Senior may be the next - and youngest - mayor of Detroit

On behalf of the Arabic Program at MSU, we would like to extend a warm congratulations and best wishes to Myya Jones, an MSU senior majoring in management with minors in African American and African studies (AAAS) and Arabic. Myya is running for Mayor of Detroit later this year. You can read her story here. She’s seen the good and bad of her city, and once she graduates this May she plans to return to her hometown to enact positive change as its new mayor. Since first announcing her bid for mayor via Twitter in early January, Myya has gained widespread notoriety as the youngest ever to run for mayor of Detroit at just 22 years old. In high school, Myya became involved in community service work with hopes of helping her city. It wasn’t until she came to MSU that she found a passion for politics. As president of the Black Student Alliance (BSA), Myya has represented MSU’s black student community and worked with ally programs to advocate for cultural sensitivity and diversity training for faculty, staff and police, among others. She believes that diverse groups of people require diverse representation – “As organizations and individuals start to dedicate more resources and training to empowering underrepresented groups to go into policy and government, I am taking my own stand,” Myya writes.

Arabic Student Receives Prestigious Mitchell Scholarship

On behalf of the Arabic Program at MSU, we would like to congratulate Margaret Born, an Honors College senior majoring in comparative cultures and politics in James Madison College, and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters, one being one of the two MSU recipients' of the prestigious Mitchell Scholarship. Born who grew up in Mozambique commented on her interest in Arabic and her experience at MSU. She stated: "The influence of the Arab world is still so strong in Mozambique, where I grew up. I was inspired to learn the language because it was objectively beautiful, because it connected me to a deeper history within my home country, and because I wanted very much to explore North Africa in my career. In addition, Arabic has given me a completely different perspective on my existence. That may sound dramatic, but the language lends itself to a perspective of constant gratitude. I find myself slipping in an 'alhamdulillah' to express my good fortune at eating well or seeing the sunshine. When I was most nervous about the results of my final Mitchell interview, I whispered 'inshallah' to my mother because it captured all of my nervous optimism, my total lack of control, and the knowledge that things will work out in the end either way. When I got the good news, my friends inundated me with wishes for 'elf elf mabruuk!'--they heaped upon my shoulders a thousand thousand blessings and happy wishes. Studying Arabic has connected me to a greater appreciation for the small things, an ease in expressing my love and support for those around me, and a profound gratitude for the many ways in which I have been impossibly fortunate."

Born will be receiving a Master's degree in International Development, Environment, and Conflict. She hopes to return to the African continent and work in the predominantly overpopulated and underserved refugee camps.

She commented: "As the world's countries move farther towards exclusion and insulation, it's critical that we ensure that life on the ground is as conducive to health, happiness, and growth as it can possibly be after conflict and trauma."