Arabic 1


First-semester course teaching the Arabic writing system, Modern Standard Arabic, the Egyptian and Levantine dialects, and Arab culture.


Elementary Arabic 1 is designed for first-semester Arabic learners who have no background in the Arabic language and wish to learn how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and speak the Egyptian and/or Levantine dialects. 

The course structure is designed to help motivated students read and write the Arabic language and learn about Arab culture. It consists of 2 Units that can be completed over a 14- or 15-week semester and can be adopted as a hybrid or an online course. Unit 1 consists of 5-themed lessons (5 weeks) that include videos on how to write the Arabic alphabet, while focusing on speaking functional Arabic and learning basic grammar. Unit 2 contains 4 Lessons (8-9 weeks) that delve into more contextualized themes with readings and dialogue videos shot in Egypt with Egyptian and Syrian actors to provide an authentic background. The videos are in MSA, Egyptian, and Levantine. No additional books or materials are needed for the course. 

Each lesson opens with a video that aims at teaching social interactions with a focus on the lesson’s theme. It includes audio-popup vocabulary, Quizlets, listening, speaking and writing exercises (Multiple Choice, Drag n Drop, Matching, Dictation, etc…), role plays, a writing prompt, culture, and an assessment. All can be submitted on Torus.

What students will learn

By the end of this course, students will know how to greet, introduce themselves and others, and describe their studies, work, family, feelings, food and beverages, living spaces, visits, travels, places, hobbies, and the weather. 

Learning objectives by module

By the end of Lesson 1, students will be able to:

  • Greet formally and informally, introduce yourself, tell where you are from, and respond to others.
  • Read and write the letters ا ب ت ث و ي .
  • Distinguish between the roles of the long vowels ا و ي and short vowels fatha َ, damma ُ, kasra ِ .
  • Use the subject pronouns “I and you (male, female, and plural).” 
  • Distinguish between the different types of physical and verbal greetings in the Arab world.
  • Locate the 22 Arab countries on the map.

By the end of Lesson 2, students will be able to:

  • Ask and respond to “How are you?” 
  • Read and write the letters ج ح خ د ذ ر ز
  • Count numbers 0-10
  • Become familiar with the significance of the cultural expressions that use the word “God” and the expressions that use numbers. 

By the end of Lesson 3, students will be able to:

  • Say that you are a student and where you study
  • Express your likes and what you like to drink
  • Read and write the letters س ش ص ض ط ظ
  • Count numbers 11-20
  • Learn about meals and visit etiquette.

By the end of Lesson 4, you will be able to:

  • Express feelings and preferences
  • Read and write the letters ع غ ف ق ك 
  • Count numbers 20-100 
  • Learn the effects of the short vowels shadda and sukuun on letters
  • Culture: Appreciate the aspects of diversity in the Arab world

By the end of Lesson 5, you will be able to:

  • Tell your age
  • Express possibility and obligation
  • Read and write the letters ل م ن هـ 
  • Learn the sound of tanween ً ٍ ٌ – taa’ marbouta ة and feminine markerhamza ء – alif madda آ
  • Use the subject pronouns: he, she, they
  • Use possessive pronouns
  • Distinguish between the different expressions with “Allah” (cont’d)

By the end of Lesson 6, you will be able to:

  • Use vocabulary related to school and work
  • Distinguish between definite and indefinite nouns الإسم المُعَرَّف و الإسم النكرة
  • Use present tense conjugation الفعل المضارع and its negation: Live, Work, Speak, Study, Want
  • Ask questions using different interrogative pronouns السؤال
  • Use adjectives الصفة, including ones with إضافة, 
  • Compare conversations in MSA and dialect, 
  • Appreciate the importance of high school national exams in college placement.

By the end of Lesson 7, you will be able to:

  • Use vocabulary on daily activities and hobbies
    • Use a variety of adverb
  • Use the particle أن
  • Construct an إضافة
  • Revisit possessive Pronouns ضمائر الملكية 
  • Use days of the week أيام الأسبوع
  • Form masculine plurals: regular and irregular جمع المذكَّر و جمع التكسير
  • Revisit interrogative pronouns الأسئلة 
  • Appreciate the role of social & sports clubs النادي. 

 By the end of lesson 8, you will be able to

  • Use vocabulary related to food, beverages, shopping, and ordering food 
  • Form the future tense المستقبل 
  • Form adjectives with human feminine plural الصفة و المؤنث 
  • Form adjectives with inanimate plural الصفة و جمع التكسير 
  • Analyze the structure of a nominal sentence and its negation الجملة الإسمية و النفي 
  • Analyze the structure of a verbal sentence and its negation الجملة الفعلية و النفي 
  • Form object pronouns ضمائر النصب 
  • Appreciate the culture of food shopping, restaurants, and the socio-economic significance of bread. 

By the end of Lesson 9, you will be able to:

  • Describe the weather, seasons, and travel 
  • Express opinion
  • Use the verb “to be” كان in the past
  • Express reason using بسبب – لأن 
  • Use the demonstrative هذا – هذه 
  • Learn the months of the year 
  • Count from numbers 20 to 100 
  • Appreciate the culture of tourism and travel

Course assessments, activities, and outline

Listed under “Description” above.

Other course details

Estimated time to complete: one semester. 

January 2024

Author: Nevine Abraham

System requirements

OLI system requirements, regardless of course:

  • internet access
  • an operating system that supports the latest browser update
  • the latest browser update (Chrome recommended; Firefox, Safari supported; Edge and Internet Explorer are supported but not recommended)
  • pop-ups enabled
  • cookies enabled

Some courses include exercises with exceptions to these requirements, such as technology that cannot be used on mobile devices.

This course’s system requirements:

  • If the student is working with an instructor in a distance-learning situation, chat environment and videoconferencing software.

Cost and payment options

$25 per student

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