Continued instruction in colloquial (spoken) Arabic with a focus on oral and aural competencies, discussing aspects of the local culture, and working with media produced in the local variety of Arabic. Course may be repeated as the variety of Arabic may change.
A Diglossic Language
The Arabic language exists in a state of diglossia, meaning it exists in two forms: Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and local, colloquial varieties (or ‘dialects’). MSA is used as a lingua franca throughout the Arab world, being the language used in media, literature, business, politics, etc. However, native speakers of Arabic are true natives in their local colloquial varieties, using MSA only for formal written communication, and even more formal oral communication. Colloquial Arabic is then used for daily conversation, unofficial interpersonal communication and correspondence, and in film, music, and some forms of literature (and other arts). Colloquial Arabic thus acts as the vehicle of more localized cultural traditions and norms. In order to become proficient users of Arabic, learners need to be competent in the use of both MSA and a colloquial variety, which often differ drastically (cf. Vulgar Latin compared to modern Italic languages).
Conversational/Colloquial Arabic at SC
Presently, USC's Arabic program offers a "Conversational Arabic" course (ARAB 310) and a "Topics in Colloquial Arabic" course (ARAB 312). As it is rare for Arabic conversation to be conducted in MSA, a traditional conversation course is not applicable in an Arabic program, since conversational Arabic differs so drastically from MSA. ARAB 310 and 312 have traditionally been offered separately, but functionally taught the same, serving as an introduction to colloquial (spoken) Arabic. In order to better serve students, offering them more exposure and work with real spoken Arabic, colloquial Arabic needs not only to be taught separately, but also to be given an appropriate amount of time and focus as it is the variety of Arabic that students will find themselves using day to day. Moreover, there are several varieties of colloquial Arabic, though they are often categorized by country or region. For that reason, the variety taught would be the decision of the instructor and thus might vary from year to year. Presently, the goal is to alternate between the two most widely used and understood varieties: Levantine & Egyptian. (Students interested in other varieties would need to speak with the instructor or the program director to see what options best fit them.)
These changes (for both 310 and 312) would create a new year-long course on Colloquial Arabic (ARAB 310 & 311, changing 312 to 311). A two-semester series is important for students as a significant portion of the first semester would be going over the major differences between MSA and Colloquial. The second semester would offer more opportunities for exposure to, and use of, real spoken Arabic. The length of this series would also allow for more use of primary sources like film, music, and other media (i.e. a YouTube sketch series) and more opportunities for students to learn about and interact with a region-specific culture. As the courses could present multiple dialects, students would be able to repeat this course for credit (at the discretion of the instructor and the program) so they might be exposed to, and become proficient in, multiple varieties of Arabic. It is the opinion of the Arabic program that students should be exposed to, and working with, Colloquial Arabic as early as the second year. Thus, students will only be required to have completed 1 year (122 or equivalent) of MSA prior to taking this course.
The Departmental Curriculum Committee suggest the following changes be made and the proposal be resubmitted:
See the 10% rule: http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=52&navoid=1280#Attendance_Policy
One committee member wrote:
Same issue with the learning outcomes as with previous proposal--make sure you are using active verbs. Also, we need a week-by-week semester schedule (even if tentative). Let me know if you need a template or example.
In the fourth Learning Outcome change "working" to "work" and change "structure" to "structures".
Thank you for submitting your proposal to the Committee on Curricula & Courses. We have approved your proposal and are moving it forward to the Faculty Senate. It is recommended someone from the department attend the next Faculty Senate meeting in case there are questions from the floor regarding your proposal.
The committee did note that the syllabus used the phrase "Course Outcomes" needs to be changed to "Learning Outcomes". Please make sure it is included on the syllabus when the course is offered.
We appreciate your patience and commitment to undergraduate and graduate education.
John Gerdes, Chair803email@example.comFaculty Senate Committee on Curricula and Courses
Update will appear in the 1920 Undergraduate Bulletin to be published 2.15.19.