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Keywords:

  • Arabic dialects;
  • destination preferences;
  • factors influencing learner attitudes;
  • language learner attitudes;
  • study abroad

Abstract

This study explored the impact of short-term study abroad on the language attitudes of college-level learners of Arabic in the United States. It investigated students' destination preferences in various Arabic-speaking countries, their attitudes toward learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and regional dialects, and the factors that they perceived as influencing their attitudes. Survey responses from 371 participants indicated that learning Arabic in the Arab world favorably impacted students' attitudes toward dialect learning and sociolinguistic awareness. Students in this sample rejected learning MSA exclusively, believed that learning any dialect was important, and they became open to learning multiple dialects, including those that are less commonly taught. Respondents attributed this attitude shift to the change in their learning context, i.e., learning Arabic in an Arab country.