Towards Cultural Proficiency in Arabic1


  • Mahmoud Al-Batal

    1. Emory University (GA)
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      Mahmoud Al-Batal (Ph. D., University of Michigan) is Assistant Professor of Arabic at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

  • 1

    An earlier version of this paper was presented in November 1987 at the Tkenty-First Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association in Baltimore. I would like to thank the two anonymous Foreign Language Annals readers for their valuable comments.


ABSTRACT  The teaching of culture in the Arabic language curriculum has been sporadic, peripheral and overshadowed by a strong emphasis on developing grammatical competence in students. The literature of foreign language education, however, reveals a continuously growing interest in making culture an active component of the foreign language curriculum and provides ample techniques to help achieve this goal. The present paper addresses itself to the question of teaching culture in Arabic. Its purpose is to 1) examine the current status of teaching culture in the Arabic language curriculum, 2) discuss a number of objectives for the teaching of culture in Arabic, 3) examine means by which these cultural objectives can be fulfilled, and 4) discuss some of the particular difficulties involved in teaching culture in A rabic. This paper also includes a number of examples of the techniques that can be used to introduce culture teaching into the Arabic language classroom.