Arabic Beginner Sijal Institute for Arabic Language & Culture
Sijal provides expert language instruction to learners at all levels of Arabic. Based on best practices in foreign language pedagogy, the curriculum is comprehensive and relates to real-life situations. Students learn both Modern Standard Arabic/MSA (al-fuSHa) as well as colloquial Levantine Arabic (al-arabiyya al-mashriqiyya). This is the dialect spoken in Jordan, where Sijal is located, but also in Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon. Students with proficiency in colloquial Levantine Arabic are able to communicate across the Arab world.
The intensive curriculum offers the same content as a full academic year of university study and covers the same topics and breadth of material as the most rigorous courses. Unlike many Arabic programs (which focus solely on standard or formal Arabic), Sijal engages the diglossic aspect of Arabic, enabling students to learn and produce casual spoken Arabic as well as formal MSA by including both in the curriculum.
Sijal’s instructors build an environment in which the student is at the center of a highly interactive learning process. Throughout the program, students learn about and actively engage with practices and products of Arab cultures, using Arabic in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes. All language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar) are integrated into the full range of activities.
The curriculum is based on the best-selling series from Georgetown University Press, Al-Kitaab fii Tacallum al-cArabiyya (Brustad, Al-Batal, Al-Tonsi), the most widely used Arabic language textbooks in schools and universities in North America. These include online activities as well as extensive video and listening passages available on DVD and as audio files. The texts in the Al-Kitaab series are supplemented by selections from Arabic language media and the internet, academia, literature, and the arts. For Colloquial Arabic we use the Spoken Arabic for Foreigners: An Introduction to the Palestinian Dialect series, by Dr. Moin Halloun of Bethlehem University. 
Homework provides a crucial opportunity to reinforce skills as well as internalize new language structures and material. Instructors hold regular office hours to meet with students on an individual basis. In addition, an in-house bilingual tutor is available for questions and review after class to provide additional learning support.
Students are constantly immersed in Arabic within and outside the classroom. By using the colloquial Arabic they learn in class, students can successfully interact and build relationships with the local community around Sijal.
Core Objectives:
  • Build a strong foundation in all skills in Arabic (listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar)
  • Introduce cultural awareness
Students Can:
  • Read and write in Arabic
  • Use courteous and culturally appropriate expressions
  • Introduce and identify themselves
  • Command an active vocabulary of a few hundred words
  • Expand their vocabulary using the root/pattern system and the Arabic dictionary
  • Understand the fundamentals of Arab culture and society
  • Begin and maintain a simple conversation and exchange information on familiar topics (e.g., themselves, schooling, career and family) using accurate pronunciation and natural forms of expression
  • Connect basic sentences in order to provide information on familiar topics
  • Relate in some detail what they see, hear and read
  • Understand main ideas and some details when listening to sentences or short conversations and some media
  • Understand main ideas and many details in some texts containing familiar vocabulary in formal Arabic
  • Write a series of sentences in Arabic about a familiar topic or experience (e.g. a short passage on a familiar topic or a polite letter or informal note)
Levels Achieved: Successful students reach Intermediate Low on the ACTFL scale and between A1 - A2 on the CEFR scale.

Sijal is an institute of Arabic language and culture founded by scholars of Arab culture, history, and society. We offer outstanding instruction for students of Arabic at all levels. The Institute also acts as a hub of intellectual and cultural events, bringing together scholars, artists, and specialists across a broad range of expertise and disciplines, for seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and informal conversation.

The Institute is housed in a historic villa and gardens lying in the heart of the Rainbow Street cultural district of Amman, Jordan. From this inspiring setting, we host students of the Arabic language, post-graduates working on the Middle East, researchers, artists, and the local intellectual community in Jordan and Palestine. 

Surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in Amman, our students learn ‘Arabic in context’, benefiting from first-rate language instruction in line with the latest pedagogy, as well as cultural and historical literacy. Immersion is reinforced by our location in a pedestrian neighborhood packed with local galleries, restaurants, and cafés, and with residents of all ages and walks of life. Courses are enriched by a full calendar of events that take place at the Institute, providing students with the unique opportunity to interact with creative figures from the Arab world and beyond.

Our curriculum was carefully designed and closely overseen by advisors with extensive experience in Arabic instruction at New York University, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College. Qualified and approachable, our instructors craft personalized supervision in a friendly, open, and rigorous intellectual environment.

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