A beginner’s introduction to Arabic language and culture

Module details

  • Offered to 1st & 2nd Years
  • Monday or Tuesday 16.00-18.00 (depending on year of study)
  • Planned delivery: On campus (South Kensington)
  • 2 term module worth 7.5 ECTS
  • Not available as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

A communicative module for absolute beginners offering an introduction to the language and culture of the Arabic-speaking countries.

This module aims to:

  • Give students with no previous knowledge of Arabic an introduction to the everyday language spoken in the Arabic speaking countries including a fairly wide range of vocabulary and basic structures
  • To develop all the fundamental language skills, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • To offer students insight into culture and daily life in the Arabic-speaking countries

By the end of the module, students should have reached approximately the A1+ level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

To be eligible for this module you need to have no previous experience in learning Arabic. 

Please note: This module is currently undergoing minor modifications and is therefore subject to change. 

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

Mosque ArchwayThis module will equip you with the ability to:

  • Interact in a simple way in predictable everyday situations, using high-frequency vocabulary items and simple grammar structures
  • Provide simple information about self, family and immediate surroundings
  • Ask and answer simple questions on familiar topics
  • Read and understand simple descriptions of people and things, menus, notices and posters in catalogues
  • Write simple texts such as a postcard, and fill in simple forms with personal details

Indicative core content


Basic linguistic structures to include:

  • articles: definite/indefinite (0);
  • demonstratives;
  • nouns and adjectives;
  • ‘al-nisba’ adjectives;
  • subject pronouns; gender and number of nouns and adjectives;
  • the simple nominal (descriptive) sentence;
  • interrogatives (question words);
  • negation (negative particles);
  • plural patterns: masculine, feminine and ‘broken’ forms;
  • colour terms: gender;
  • prepositions;
  • adverbs of time and frequency;
  • the possessive pronouns;
  • the possessive; structure;
  • the preposition ‘3inda’ (to have);
  • the past ‘complete’ tense;
  • the present ‘incomplete’ tense


  • The Arabic writing system
  • Family and relations
  • Positions and locations
  • Basic mathematics
  • Quantities, sums and measurements
  • Jobs, professions and workplaces
  • Describing people, places and objects
  • Geography of the Arab world;
  • Countries, nationalities and people
  • The climate
  • Past and present activities

Learning and teaching approach

Weekly in-class activities cover reading, writing, listening and speaking. Learning will involve pair work, group work, and individual tasks and will include critical evaluation of texts, audio and video material. A range of weekly homework tasks give you the opportunity to revise and consolidate knowledge and skills.

All pieces of coursework are marked and returned within two weeks. Detailed feedback is provided for each individual section of the coursework, giving the correct answer along with suggestions for improvement.  Generic feedback on each individual piece of coursework is also provided in class.


  • Coursework: Listening comprehension, grammar and writing tasks (approx. 120 words) (10%)
  • Examination: 1-hour Written Exam including reading comprehension, grammar and writing tasks (approx. 200 words) (20%)
  • Practical: 5-minute Oral test (10%)
  • Examination: 1-hour Written Exam including reading comprehension, grammar and writing tasks (approx. 220 words) (20%)
  • Practical: 10-minute End-of-module Oral Exam (40%)

Key information

  • 7.5 ECTS points awarded on successful completion of the module.
  • Available to take for credit towards your degree where your department allows. Also available for extra-credit.
  • You must be prepared to attend all classes and and undertake approximately 3 hours of private study each week in addition to the assessment.

Coursebook: Wightwick, J and Gaafar M (2007), Mastering Arabic, Palgrave Macmillan, 3rd edition, ISBN: 9781137380456, supported by additional materials

Relevant websites:

"I have really enjoyed learning Arabic, and I think my lecturer can take a lot of credit for this. She was so good at motivating us to learn and I can't believe how much she taught us in just two terms. I hope to have her as my lecturer again next year for Arabic level 2."
"[The teacher was] very enthusiastic and encouraged speaking which is perhaps the most challenging part to keep up with outside lessons."