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Modern Standard Arabic - Complete

Course Syllabus

The following table is meant to give the student a high level view of the topics to be covered and is not exhaustive – e.g. many topics are covered in the course that are not included in the syllabus below.

We will always endeavour to customize the course by including / omitting additional topics to suit your exact requirements.

The Modern Standard Arabic course is suitable for those wanting a very strong grounding in literature. It includes chapters involving Islamic textual analysis and ancient literature. It also includes very practical application of Arabic in a modern spoken context.

Please note that Level 1 of the Modern Standard Arabic Course includes most topics of the Speak Arabic and Business Arabic courses. However, Levels 2 and 3 below are more advanced levels (including literature) that go beyond these courses.


Topic Title

Topic Details

Level 1a

Arabic Alphabet

Alphabet names and sounds, pronunciation of letters including distinction of Sun and Moon Letters

Short Vowels

Short vowels that enable pronunciation of the Arabic letters

Long Vowels

Long vowels that lengthen the pronunciation of the short vowels

Tanween and Shaddah

Tanween – the doubling of short vowels
Shaddah – the doubling of a letter and emphasis

Joining of letters and writing

The joining of Arabic letters in various positions – isolate, beginning, middle and end including ‘unique’ non-joining letters

Interrogative Articles, pronouns and prepositions

Introduction to some basic words including:

  • Questioning articles – e.g. when, where etc
  • Demonstrative Pronouns – this, that etc
  • Prepositions and Adverbs – Upon, under, on etc

Simple sentences with basic vocabulary




Level 1b

Acquaintance (and introducing one’s self)

Introduce yourself to others

Basic conversations – asking about someone’s name, nationality, job

Common cultural Arabic greetings

At the airport 1

Check in at the airport arrival hall

Talk to the passport officer, explain the reason for travel, and your address in the destination country

At the airport 2

Fill in the arrival card, writing your name, nationality, date and place of birth, and reason of visit.

At the hotel

Talk to the hotel receptionist

Reserve a room

Raising queries / concerns about your room – air conditioning, bathroom, hotel charges, registration forms etc

In the restaurant

Ordering food at the restaurant

Understanding the menu and types of food

Paying the bill and discussion with the waiter and cashier

In the bank

Talking to the exchange employee

Completing an exchange transaction

Understanding names of currencies and exchange details

With people

Understanding common interactions with Arab people

Short story about “Joha” a folkloric personality and his famous donkey

At the clinic’s 1

Making a reservation at a clinic

Expressing a pain or problem to the doctor, understanding how to discuss treatment

At the clinic’s 2

Continuation of doctor visitation scenario

Discussion on recovery from illness

Referring to different parts of the body

The family

Talking about various members of your family

Describing the personality, occupation and attributes of family members

Revisional exercises

Exercises on what has been learnt so far

At the street

How to ask for directions

How to take a bus, taxi or train

Purchasing tickets for travel and asking about prices, stations and routes

At the post office

How to talk to a postal worker about sending mail, buying stamps, writing the address etc

At the office of telegram and telephone

How to write a telegram

Holding a conversation with the call centre employee

Asking to make an international phone call and making payment

The time

Learn how to express different units and phrases relating to time including hours, days, weeks, months, seasons and conversations revolving around these aspects

At the market 1

Learn the names of fruits and vegetables, conversations involving shopping at the market

At the market 2

Continuation of conversations with the grocer and the butcher. Enhanced vocabulary of essential dairy and meat products.

At the police station

Informing police of the loss of a passport including location

Discussing a possible theft

How to read an Arabic newspaper

Understanding the sections of an Arabic newspaper – Politics, Economy, Sport, TV, etc.

A reading of an Arabic newspaper

Practice reading real Arabic articles in different sections of a newspaper including headlines and main paragraphs including politics, advertisements, sports etc.

Arabic seasons

Talk about the weather in the four seasons

Learn the weather types and expressions describing the weather through conversational practice


Exercises on what has been learnt so far

Looking for a flat

Practice a scenario where you are searching for a flat

Understand how to read advertisements, talk to the real estate agent about the flat description and rent

The rent contract of a flat

Breakdown of a rental contract

Understanding how to complete a basic rental contract and understand it’s terms – e.g. furniture, bills, included services etc

Arabic language

Conversation about learning the Arabic language

Basic analysis of different colloquial dialects

Analysis of potential problems faced in learning and how to deal with such scenarios

Level 2

Invitation to study

General revision on what has been studied in book 1

The geography of the Arabic homeland

(geographical perspective)

Conversation about the situation of the Arabic homeland on the geographic map – boundaries, language, currencies, date / time systems used, etc.

The political and administrative regimes of the Arabic homeland

Conversation about the different governmental regimes in the Arabic homeland; kingdom, republic, union of emirates, union of sultanates, etc. and the different administrative authorities, i.e. the different ministries (ministry of Education, ministry of foreign affairs, police, etc.

The geography of the Arabic homeland (cultural perspective)

Conversation about three main powers in the governmental system in the Arabic homeland; the legislative power, the judicial power, and the executive power, religion, culture and economy in the Arab world.

From Arabic poetry (my country)

A famous Arabic poem taking about Arabic homeland, written by the Arabic poet Iliyya Abu Madhy

The Arabic lexicon

(the derivation)

The derivation system in the Arabic language; what the root of each word is, how the different derivatives are formed, what the main morphologic patterns are

The Arabic lexicon (how to use the Arabic dictionary)

Conversation about the different types of Arabic dictionaries, the difference between the alphabetical order, and the root order, and how look up a word in the Arabic dictionaries

Arabic calligraphy

Conversation about the Islamic Art of writing, the different types of handwriting: Naskh, Riq’ah, Persian, Ottoman, Kufic styles, history of the styles and current usage.

Social / Economic challenges of the Arab world

Discussing the social / economic crisis in the Arab world, the lack of cultivation of wealth, the shortage of food, and the increase of population.

A message in Arabic language

Writing formal and informal messages / letters in the Arabic language


Conversation about the first Arabic satellite, when it was launched, by whom it was created, how it serves communication, education, and entertainment.

From Arabic proverbs

Conversation about the Arabic ancient proverbs, a short story explaining the proverb, the famous book collecting proverbs and their stories (مجمع الأمثال) written by Al Maydany

The dialogue between peoples in the current era

Talking about the importance of removing barriers between nations in the current era and negotiation in order to solve common problems humanity faces such as nuclear proliferation, pollution, and open media and communication.

The north-south dialogue

Talking about the dialogue between northern and the southern nations in order to co-operate in different fields; economics, politics, culture, peace, etc. The dialogue between Europe and Arab countries, and the dialogue between Arabs and Africans

From the Arabic poetic theatre

A famous poetic play by well-known poet Ahmad Shawqy, Emir of poets in the nineteenth century

The past and present of Sana

Talking about Sana, the capital of Yemen, its historical face represented by the huge architecture, the different monuments (Islamic and pre-Islamic buildings) in the ancient city, comparing it with the modern face of city

How to describe things around you

Description is one of the functions of literature and language. The student will study the literary description in this lesson from texts of different Arabic novelists and from the Holy Qur’an.

Arabic press

Talking about the Arabic newspapers, governmental newspapers and opposition newspapers, types of political and social Articles, etc.

Reading the Arabic press

This is a practical lesson on how to read an Arabic newspaper. The student will analyse an Arabic newspaper and will read different Articles and use the dictionary to understand the new vocabulary

From punctuation rules

In this lesson, the student will learn the rules of writing Hamzah in Arabic, when it’s written on the Alif, on Waaw, on Yaa’, and when it’s written separately on the line.

Level 3

Invitation to study

Revision of what has been learnt in Level 2.

Merit of Arabic language

“Arabic language is the best language in the world” an ancient essay written by Abu Hatem Al Razy of the tenth century. The student will study the writer and the essay in detail, and will end the lesson by reading a poem of the modern poet Hafez Ibrahim.

Ibn Battuta turns around the ancient world

In this lesson, the student will study habits of ancient Indians, its markets of slaves, horses, camels, etc. in an essay from a book of Ibn Battuta, an ancient Arabic traveler of the 14th century. The lesson will be concluded by reading a poem of Imam Ash-Shaf’y.

“Hay Ibn Yaqdhan” A philosophical story by Ibn Tufail

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient philosophical (and religious) story about a child who was born in the desert and lost his family and is brought up by animals. When he becomes an adult he knows Allah (God) without needing knowledge from a human being. The story is written by the ancient philosopher Ibn Tufail (12th century)

Diving in search of pearls

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay “diving in search of pearls” written by Yahia ibn Masawayh (7th century) and the lesson will be concluded by reading an ancient poem of the pre-Islamic poet “Al A’sha” related to the same topic.

Fundamentals of Islamic education

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the fundamentals of Islamic education written by Ibn Sahnoon (8th century) and the lesson will be concluded by reading a poem of Ahmad Shawqy.

Types of Divine inspiration

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding types of Divine Inspiration by Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ash-Shamy (14th century) and the lesson will be concluded by reading a Sufi poem of the famous Sufi poet (Ibn Al Faridh)

Ibn Al Baytar talks about the characteristics of honey

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the characteristics of honey from a book of Ibn Al Baytar (11th century). The lesson will be concluded with a reading of an ancient Arabic poem.

A text of Issa Ibn Hisham called “Al Maqamah Al Dinarriyyah”

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient “Maqamah”. It’s a typical Arabic short story in special language. “Al Maqamah Al Dinarriyyah” is about some people in a game and the winner gets a Dinar (golden Arabic ancient currency)

The rights of the prisoner in Islam

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the rights of prisoners in Islam form an ancient book of Abu Yusuf (7th century) and the lesson concluded by a reading of an Ancient poem of Abu Firas Al Hamadany.

The prophet Yusuf Interprets the dream of the Pharaoh of Egypt


In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the interpretation of the prophet Yusuf of the famous dream of the Pharaoh of Egypt, from the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer and the lesson will be concluded by a reading of an ancient poem

The fundamentals of human civilization by Ibn Khaldon

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the fundamentals of human civilization from an ancient book of Ibn Khaldun (13th century), and the lesson will be concluded with reading an ancient poem

The definition of satiety

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the definition of satiety in the view point of different people (a Sufi, an Indian, an Arab, a philosopher, etc. from a book of Abu Hayyan Al Tawheedy

Human and animal in the court of Jinn

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding a trial of human and animal in the court of Jinn. The author of this text is not an individual writer, rather it is a group of writers called Ikhwan Al Safa who lived in 10th century and wrote many Articles against the government in that time.

The evidence that Allah loves his slave

In this lesson, the student will study an ancient essay regarding the evidence that Allah loves the man from

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