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An Intensive Arabic School: Your opinion ...
Thread poster: John Colangelo

John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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Jul 19, 2006

Dear Colleagues,

I am thinking of opening an intensive Arabic language school outside of the Arabic speaking world. Or, in other words, in the West. Basically, the idea is that the student gets from four to five hours of intensive teaching daily: reading, writing, speaking, cultural etc ... all in Arabic except for beginners who would be allowed to use their mother tongue during the first couple of weeks. The rest would all be in Arabic.

The students would also have at least two or three teachers so that they wouldn´t get bored. But I want your feed back as well. I want to know what you think of my idea and if you were interested in learning a language, would you be willing to travel to another western country to learn it.

Thank you for your time.


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poly
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which arabic? Jul 19, 2006

My initial question would be : which variant of Arabic would you offer? I'm very keen to learn more Arabic, and actually a class in a western country would be great for me. However, the main point that has stopped my language learning is the extreme differences among the variants. I have no way of choosing the variant of interest to me, because I have nothing swaying me in one direction or another. SO I left my studies at being marginally literate and conversational. I always feared I'd waste tons of time learning one variant intensely, only to be called upon to use it with another, noncompatible audience.

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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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Good question ... Jul 19, 2006

lepetitpoly wrote:

My initial question would be : which variant of Arabic would you offer? I'm very keen to learn more Arabic, and actually a class in a western country would be great for me. However, the main point that has stopped my language learning is the extreme differences among the variants. I have no way of choosing the variant of interest to me, because I have nothing swaying me in one direction or another. SO I left my studies at being marginally literate and conversational. I always feared I'd waste tons of time learning one variant intensely, only to be called upon to use it with another, noncompatible audience.



The program I was imagining would last a maximum of two years. The first year would of course be dedicated to MSA ( Modern Standard Arabic). Maybe in the third or fourth semester, I would offer dialects the students could choose from: Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan or Gulf. But that would be later on because learning it in the beginning would be counterproductive in my view.

But then again, I am also asking for your feedback. Maybe during those two years I wouldn´t teach dialect within the core curriculum. I would, however, and as an extra, offer it to my students if they were interested.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
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Intensive language learning programs Jul 19, 2006

John Colangelo wrote:
I am thinking of opening an intensive Arabic language school outside of the Arabic speaking world. Or, in other words, in the West. Basically, the idea is that the student gets from four to five hours of intensive teaching daily: reading, writing, speaking, cultural etc ... all in Arabic except for beginners who would be allowed to use their mother tongue during the first couple of weeks. The rest would all be in Arabic.

The students would also have at least two or three teachers so that they wouldn´t get bored. But I want your feed back as well. I want to know what you think of my idea and if you were interested in learning a language, would you be willing to travel to another western country to learn it.


John,

You should investigate the following two intensive language learning institutes/programs on how they do it. I've heard from 2 people who have attended Thunderbird's program 25 years ago and 10 years ago that it is excellent.

Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management
Customized Language and Culture Programs
http://www.thunderbird.edu/exec_ed/tlcp/cust_lang/index.htm

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
http://www.dliflc.edu/

Jeff


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
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MSA and Arabic dialects Jul 19, 2006

lepetitpoly wrote:

My initial question would be : which variant of Arabic would you offer? I'm very keen to learn more Arabic, and actually a class in a western country would be great for me. However, the main point that has stopped my language learning is the extreme differences among the variants. I have no way of choosing the variant of interest to me, because I have nothing swaying me in one direction or another. SO I left my studies at being marginally literate and conversational. I always feared I'd waste tons of time learning one variant intensely, only to be called upon to use it with another, noncompatible audience.


John Colangelo wrote:
The program I was imagining would last a maximum of two years. The first year would of course be dedicated to MSA ( Modern Standard Arabic). Maybe in the third or fourth semester, I would offer dialects the students could choose from: Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan or Gulf. But that would be later on because learning it in the beginning would be counterproductive in my view.

But then again, I am also asking for your feedback. Maybe during those two years I wouldn´t teach dialect within the core curriculum. I would, however, and as an extra, offer it to my students if they were interested.


MSA is definitely the variant to focus on.

One possible and valid approach to dealing with the dialects would be through an introductory course to Arabic dialects, and then separate optional modules on specific dialects.

Jeff


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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Hey Jeff ... Jul 19, 2006

Jeff Allen wrote:

John Colangelo wrote:
I am thinking of opening an intensive Arabic language school outside of the Arabic speaking world. Or, in other words, in the West. Basically, the idea is that the student gets from four to five hours of intensive teaching daily: reading, writing, speaking, cultural etc ... all in Arabic except for beginners who would be allowed to use their mother tongue during the first couple of weeks. The rest would all be in Arabic.

The students would also have at least two or three teachers so that they wouldn´t get bored. But I want your feed back as well. I want to know what you think of my idea and if you were interested in learning a language, would you be willing to travel to another western country to learn it.


John,

You should investigate the following two intensive language learning institutes/programs on how they do it. I've heard from 2 people who have attended Thunderbird's program 25 years ago and 10 years ago that it is excellent.

Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management
Customized Language and Culture Programs
http://www.thunderbird.edu/exec_ed/tlcp/cust_lang/index.htm

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
http://www.dliflc.edu/

Jeff


Nice to see you in this neck of the woods. Actually, I am basing my idea on what I know from the Defense Language Institute and Middlebury. I add to this my almost 19 years experience in foreign language teaching so I have an idea of what they want. DFL gives something like 8 hours a day ( or at least that is what I heard). And I don´t think they the students would be able to put up with so many hours. I think minimum 4 and max 5 is fair.

P.S. I wanted to add something. these centers that you have quoted have huge amounts of money allocated to their budget. What we lack in money, we will have to make up in effort and dedication.

[Editado a las 2006-07-19 23:48]


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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That is a good idea... Jul 19, 2006

Jeff Allen wrote:

lepetitpoly wrote:

My initial question would be : which variant of Arabic would you offer? I'm very keen to learn more Arabic, and actually a class in a western country would be great for me. However, the main point that has stopped my language learning is the extreme differences among the variants. I have no way of choosing the variant of interest to me, because I have nothing swaying me in one direction or another. SO I left my studies at being marginally literate and conversational. I always feared I'd waste tons of time learning one variant intensely, only to be called upon to use it with another, noncompatible audience.


John Colangelo wrote:
The program I was imagining would last a maximum of two years. The first year would of course be dedicated to MSA ( Modern Standard Arabic). Maybe in the third or fourth semester, I would offer dialects the students could choose from: Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan or Gulf. But that would be later on because learning it in the beginning would be counterproductive in my view.

But then again, I am also asking for your feedback. Maybe during those two years I wouldn´t teach dialect within the core curriculum. I would, however, and as an extra, offer it to my students if they were interested.


MSA is definitely the variant to focus on.

One possible and valid approach to dealing with the dialects would be through an introductory course to Arabic dialects, and then separate optional modules on specific dialects.

Jeff


And it should be given in Arabic after the student has a solid base in MSA.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
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My two cents Jul 20, 2006

I do not understand Arabic, but I'd like to comment on the initial question: Would people want to move to a Western country to learn Arabic. Would I?
I wouldn't, because if you want to learn a new language fast you better spend all the time in the respective country, where the language is spoken, total immersion. Even 4 weeks let's say living and learning in an institute in Moscow or Petersburg will give you the ability to communicate quite fluently with Russian people, but if you can only communicate with your teachers even 6 months could be too short.
It's always much more effective if you can test your vocabulary in real situation with strangers than with a teacher playing in class.
And best of all of course is having good friends with whom you spend your evenings talking in the new language. Best of all of course a romance, but that might be a problem in some Arabic countries, I guess.
If I were to study Arabic from the beginning, I would take a University course first of all and stay where I am. It's so much cheaper. And I could engage a private teacher.
Regards
Heinrich


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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Hi Heinrich ... Jul 20, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I do not understand Arabic, but I'd like to comment on the initial question: Would people want to move to a Western country to learn Arabic. Would I?
I wouldn't, because if you want to learn a new language fast you better spend all the time in the respective country, where the language is spoken, total immersion. Even 4 weeks let's say living and learning in an institute in Moscow or Petersburg will give you the ability to communicate quite fluently with Russian people, but if you can only communicate with your teachers even 6 months could be too short.
It's always much more effective if you can test your vocabulary in real situation with strangers than with a teacher playing in class.
And best of all of course is having good friends with whom you spend your evenings talking in the new language. Best of all of course a romance, but that might be a problem in some Arabic countries, I guess.
If I were to study Arabic from the beginning, I would take a University course first of all and stay where I am. It's so much cheaper. And I could engage a private teacher.
Regards
Heinrich


That´s a good objection. But let me ask you a question: What if the school were in a beautiful city in Andalusia? Not only would you learn Arabic ( 5 hours a day) but if you didn´t already know Spanish you could learn it as well.

Another issue to take into account: Many people don´t want to go to the Arab world or can´t for whatever reason.

[Editado a las 2006-07-20 08:00]


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
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A lot of European countries where Arabic is already spoken! Jul 20, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
I wouldn't, because if you want to learn a new language fast you better spend all the time in the respective country, where the language is spoken, total immersion.

Well, here in the Netherlands and in Germany and in a bunch of other European countries are enough Arabic speaking people for total immersion, Heinrich.
When I lived in Düsseldorf as a student I tried to follow a course for beginners at the university. For fun and because I liked to communicate with all the people from Marocco, Algeria, Syria, etc. I The young Dutch female teacher was good I suppose, but I was very very bad. She started with writing (wow it's calligraphy). It was too challenging for me. I really would have preferred to start with the very basics when being polite.
I felt really a looser listening to Turkish people who had no problems with the pronounciation. So I stopped after a few lessons.
But I like the idea of an Arabic language school very much and Granada would be a fine place.:-) But I think that it could work out even in Germany. In the Volkshochschule Düsseldorf (adult education center) they offer 13 Arabic courses at all levels.

But has it to be a language school only? Why not offering something like a cultural center? With film, music, cooking etc. etc. for total immersion even for people who do not want to learn the language, but to learn more about arabic culture.

Best regards
Steffi

[Edited at 2006-07-20 20:47]


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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Hey Steffi ... Jul 20, 2006

Tuliparola wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
I wouldn't, because if you want to learn a new language fast you better spend all the time in the respective country, where the language is spoken, total immersion.

Well, here in the Netherlands and in Germany and in a bunch of other European countries are enough Arabic speaking people for total immersion, Heinrich.
When I lived in Düsseldorf as a student I tried to follow a course for beginners at the university. For fun and because I liked to communicate with all the people from Marocco, Algeria, Syria, etc. I The young Dutch female teacher was good I suppose, but I was very very bad. She started with writing (wow it's calligraphy). It was too challenging for me. I really would have preferred to start with the very basics when being polite.
I felt really a looser listening to Turkish people who had no problems with the pronounciation. So I stopped after a few lessons.
But I like the idea of an Arabic language school very much and Granada would be a fine place.:-) But I think that it could work out even in Germany. In the Volkshochschule Düsseldorf (adult education center) they offer 13 Arabic courses at all levels.

But has it to be a language school only? Why not offering something like a cultural center? With film, music, cooking etc. etc. for total immersion even for people who do not want to learn the language, but to learn more about arabic culture.

Best regards
Steffi

[Edited at 2006-07-20 20:47]


How are ya? A cultural center would be interesting but we have to start off don´t we?


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xxxSaifa
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Andalucia is a great place Jul 25, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I'd like to comment on the initial question: Would people want to move to a Western country to learn Arabic. Would I?


I would. For some reasons: I may be able to afford a small holiday in another EU country but not a bigger travel in Africa or Asia.


If I were to study Arabic from the beginning, I would take a University course first of all and stay where I am. It's so much cheaper. And I could engage a private teacher.


In some countries, universities are so crowded or the level of the language courses is so low that you could not imagine going there to learn a language.
To engage a private teacher is a nice idea, it is what I did as I was leaving in Germany (I was learning Arabic, she was learning German), but here, I really have no idea whom I could be able to ask me to teach something else than a Moroccan dialect which I do not want to learn.

Andalusia is the best place in Europe to open your school. A lot of Spanish people need / want to learn Arabic.
For different reasons, Córdoba may be a better place than Granada.

For those who want to check the progess they have made after a couple of weeks, they can take the jetfoil to Tanger and spend a week-end there.

Good luck!


[Edited at 2006-07-25 15:00]


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
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أهلا Chademu Jul 25, 2006

chademu wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I'd like to comment on the initial question: Would people want to move to a Western country to learn Arabic. Would I?


I would. For some reasons: I may be able to afford a small holiday in another EU country but not a bigger travel in Africa or Asia.


If I were to study Arabic from the beginning, I would take a University course first of all and stay where I am. It's so much cheaper. And I could engage a private teacher.


In some countries, universities are so crowded or the level of the language courses is so low that you could not imagine going there to learn a language.
To engage a private teacher is a nice idea, it is what I did as I was leaving in Germany (I was learning Arabic, she was learning German), but here, I really have no idea whom I could be able to ask me to teach something else than a Moroccan dialect which I do not want to learn.

Andalusia is the best place in Europe to open your school. A lot of Spanish people need / want to learn Arabic.
For different reasons, Córdoba may be a better place than Granada.

For those who want to check the progess they have made after a couple of weeks, they can take the jetfoil to Tanger and spend a week-end there.

Good luck!


[Edited at 2006-07-25 15:00]


That's right and while I am trying to sincerely open the school let me just say that Morocco offers excellent intensive courses in Rabat and Fex. Those courses teach both classical Arabic as well as dialect.

This weekend in Granada I met a Moroccan fellow who had been living in Valencia. We spoke the whole time in classical Arabic and he spoke it beautifully. At University which he still hasn't finished yet, he is studying English Philology. And he was the perfect example of the progress made in the program of Arabization in Morocco.


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xxxSaifa
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Moroccan of the 2nd generation could be your clients? Jul 26, 2006

John Colangelo wrote:

That's right and while I am trying to sincerely open the school let me just say that Morocco offers excellent intensive courses in Rabat and Fex. Those courses teach both classical Arabic as well as dialect.


That is interessant to hear, John. At my level, I prefer going on with classic Arabic, and if I had to choose one day for a dialect, I am certain I will choose Levantine, as I have relations to Jordan.

Of course I live so near to Morocco that I will cross the estrecho one day, but in order to be understood there I suppose it will be easier with French. (I may try with classical Arabic but I will probably not understand the answer...)


This weekend in Granada I met a Moroccan fellow who had been living in Valencia. We spoke the whole time in classical Arabic and he spoke it beautifully.


I am sure a lot of people in Morocco can express themselves in classical Arabic. Unfortunately, the Moroccan people I am dealing with every day and are very nice did generally not study very long: they are selling bath suits and shawarma here, some of them can speak their dialect but not read the Arabic letters, as they grew up here.
May be some of these people of the 2nd generation could become some of your clients?

About Granada: certainly a beautiful city, but a bit too cold in the winter.
If you want to open your school all year, I think there are better places here than Granada...


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Marieke Brands  Identity Verified
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Good idea! Jul 27, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I do not understand Arabic, but I'd like to comment on the initial question: Would people want to move to a Western country to learn Arabic. Would I?
I wouldn't, because if you want to learn a new language fast you better spend all the time in the respective country, where the language is spoken, total immersion. Even 4 weeks let's say living and learning in an institute in Moscow or Petersburg will give you the ability to communicate quite fluently with Russian people, but if you can only communicate with your teachers even 6 months could be too short.
It's always much more effective if you can test your vocabulary in real situation with strangers than with a teacher playing in class.
And best of all of course is having good friends with whom you spend your evenings talking in the new language. Best of all of course a romance, but that might be a problem in some Arabic countries, I guess.
If I were to study Arabic from the beginning, I would take a University course first of all and stay where I am. It's so much cheaper. And I could engage a private teacher.
Regards
Heinrich



I'm very keen on learning Arabic! I've completed two courses now and can read and write (although not excellent..) and have quite a lot of knowledge about the grammar - the 10 forms and so on. But, as I live in an Arabic country, I don't have the chance to speak it while English is more widely spoken! I would choose a country like Syria or so to learn Arabic, it supposed to have the most beautiful and correct Arabic. As strange as it sounds, I can't find a decent Arabic course here while the Arabs really don't mind you don't speak their language.
I think it would be great asset to set up an Arabic culture & language center in the West, while Arabic is an important language in the world.
Good luck.


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