Why learn Arabic?
Arabic is an important world language and the reasons to learn the language are countless.
- Arabic is one of the six official working languages of the United Nations.
- It is the mother tongue of some 325 million people.
- The Arabic speaking world and, in particular the Gulf states, are the fifth biggest trading partners for the EU.
- Arabic is a language considered to be of ‘critical importance’ by various government agencies around the world.
Bridging cultures with languages
The Arab world is considered to be a ‘high context’ culture (E. T. Hall). Personal relationships are very important. Arab business partners will appreciate and respect anybody who has taken the trouble to learn some basic Arabic. And yet many of the people inside businesses – on the ground – often do not have the necessary linguistic skills and cultural understanding to deal with the challenge of doing business in the Arab world.
ArabicOnline provides valuable business advice, notes on business etiquette and cultural information about doing business in the Arab world. ArabicOnline helps learners to avoid making basic and unnecessary mistakes.
Learning Arabic – the current situation
In recent years interest in learning Arabic has grown dramatically. However, many people wishing to learn Arabic fnd that there is an acute shortage of high quality, reliable and authoritative courses which teach Arabic as a Foreign Language and which are designed for European or Western learners.
Many existing courses of Arabic tend to attach importance first and foremost to vocabulary, structures and grammar. In other words, they adhere to traditional concepts and use outdated language learning methodologies. They often treat Arabic as a dead language, like Latin. They also frequently neglect the ever more important aspect of cultural awareness and fail to recognise that a learner needs to be culturally competent in order to understand a language and interact adequately.
This requires a different kind of course to the ones on offer.
Many online eLearning courses rarely progress beyond “books on screen”. These courses are frequently presentational. The learner needs to bring considerable cognitive and analytical skills to the job of learning a language. Few people have the time or academic skills to learn successfully with such products.
Furthermore, these courses, whether in print or online, are rarely based on the Common European Framework of Reference, and the syllabus of the course is often oriented towards general levels such as ‘beginner’
ArabicOnline treats Arabic as a dynamic, living language. The focus is on communicating in everyday situations.
Our approach to learning Arabic
The pedagogical approach of ArabicOnline can be described as a cognitive constructivist approach to learning, in particular language learning, which is combined with the currently available technology of desktop/laptop computers, tablet computers and smartphones. This approach sees learning, as does Common European Framework of Reference, as an active process and learners as active meaning makers.
Learners are guided by a task-based approach through a series of units, modules and steps to acquire Arabic and an awareness of Arabic culture.
The ArabicOnline approach is particular suited to non-academic learners and vocational learners who are not in full-time study. Learners can learn with Arabic script or with western script (transliteration). ArabicOnline is based on Levels A1/A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Modern Languages: the international benchmark for defining language proficiency levels and which is recognised throughout Europe.
Total immersion – e-ImmersionPlus
By delivering the Arabic course across multiple platforms and devices, the ArabicOnline team have created a situation that strives to emulate a total immersion situation of language learning. This situation is defined as e-immersionplus®, a concept developed and a term coined by the project team.
The e-immersionplus environment ensures that the content of the course is customised in such a way that the complete course, or parts of the course respectively, is accessible on desktop/laptop computers, on tablet computers and also on smartphones, each of these technological devices complementing the others. This will allow learners to have the contact time with Arabic that is needed for sustainable learning to take place.