Departmental Guidelines and Goals
Educated people spend their lives pursuing growth in political, social and intellectual freedom. One kind of intellectual freedom requires us to break away from the notion that our native language is the most natural and apt means of expressing the full range of human experience. An education can start with the discovery that all words are purely conventional devices. They are nonetheless tools that stir emotions, articulate ideas, and establish relationships with others. Learning another language contributes to our education by intimately exploring cultural and linguistic concepts that broaden our understanding of what it means to be human in today's world.
Our basic courses offer the opportunity to begin acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for the eventual mastery of a language. When students take full advantage of that opportunity, they can use the target language in all subsequent courses. The Department emphasizes the use of the target language in most of its courses because students can best appreciate another culture from within its own mode of expression.
With a view toward career opportunities, the Department encourages integrating language study with a variety of other academic areas, such as history, philosophy, international studies, environmental studies, biology, economics, political science, and English. Courses in cultural studies and literature, aside from their intrinsic worth, also present multiple perspectives on other cultures and areas of intellectual experience.
A student who wants to spend a summer, a semester, or a year abroad with programs approved by Denison should consult members of the Department and the Office of Off-Campus Studies (see Off-Campus Programs). On-campus opportunities to improve their command of the language are provided by the Language and Culture Program, language tables, international films, club meetings, and similar activities sponsored by the Department. There are also subsidized field trips to museums and pertinent activities in cities across the country, and in some cases international travel.
Associate Professor Christine Armstrong, Chair
Associate Professor Hanada Al-Masri; Visiting Instructor Hisam ElAqad; Academic Administrative Assistant Liz Barringer-Smith
Additional Points of Interest
General Departmental Regulations
Students who want to fulfill the basic requirement in language by continuing one begun in secondary school will find it advantageous to begin their course work in the first year. The Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends that students complete their language requirement by the end of their sophomore year.
The Language Lab
An important asset of the department is the Language Lab with its 27 Macs, zone-free DVD player and document camera. It also has a VIA Connect PRO, which is a wireless collaboration and presentation solution that makes sharing and presenting easier for all computers in the room. The lab provides support for learning activities outside and inside the classroom, ranging from grammar drills to research and collaborative writing projects, as well as discussions of authentic materials published on the Internet. The area is designed not only for individualized instruction but also for group work and small seminars that use a variety of digital materials for class discussion.
Each semester the Department offers students exceptional opportunities for cultural enrichment in language study. These opportunities include, for example, off-campus trips to target-culture plays, movies and performances, as well as campus visits by native scholars and performers. In that way, experiences in target cultures become more readily available to our students. These opportunities are made possible through a most generous endowment bestowed on the Department of Modern Languages by the Patty Foresman Fund. The Department maintains a Modern Languages Facebook page where Denison community members can view upcoming events.
The Foresman Lounge
Located in the central hub of the department, it provides the Denison community with a space for a wide range of activities such as receptions, classes, and informal gatherings. This area has a kitchenette with a table and chairs for sharing lunch or a coffee with our faculty. It is also equipped with a wide range of technological devices to enrich our students’ learning experiences. This room has a 52-inch flat screen TV connected to cable; the TV is also connected to a zone-free DVD player and a document camera. The lounge has a ceiling-mounted data projector that connects to a networked Mac computer, the DVD player and document camera.
The Language and Culture Program
This exciting residential option gives students the opportunity to hone their language skills and participate in special cultural events. Students who choose this residential option will live in a small community of their peers who share their enthusiasm for language and culture studies. Extracurricular activities and programming in the Language House support language acquisition and permit a closer relationship with professors and language assistants from the Department of Modern Languages.
Although the Department of Modern Languages offers majors in French, German and Spanish, other languages are also offered for the purpose of general education and support of other college programs. Courses in Arabic are listed below.
ARAB 111 - Beginning Arabic I (4 Credit Hours)
This is an introductory course to Arabic language and culture. It assumes no previous knowledge of Arabic and provides a thorough grounding in the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It starts with the alphabet and the number system and builds the four skills gradually and systematically through carefully selected and organized materials focusing on specific, concrete and familiar topics such as self-identification, family, travel, food, renting an apartment, study, the weather, etc. This course follows the underlying philosophy of the integrated approach to Arabic language instruction and culture. It is based on the integration of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and spoken dialectical Arabic (Levantine) in a way that reflects the actual use of language by its native speakers. Overall, the course aims at improving students’ linguistic knowledge from Novice-low to Novice-high level, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.
ARAB 112 - Beginning Arabic II (4 Credit Hours)
This sequential course aims at further developing the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Themes covered during the course of the semester include: food, shopping, study and education, jobs, health, transportation, weather, sports & hobbies, and touristic places (Jordan, Palestine). The course continues to follow the philosophy of the integrated approach to Arabic language instruction and culture. Overall, the course aims at improving students’ linguistic knowledge from Novice-high to Intermediate-low level, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The course fulfills the GE language requirement (K).
Prerequisite(s): ARAB 111.
ARAB 199 - Introductory Topics in Arabic (1-4 Credit Hours)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
ARAB 211 - Intermediate Arabic I (4 Credit Hours)
This is an intermediate level course in Arabic. The course follows the same philosophy of integrating Modern Standard Arabic and spoken Arabic to reflect the language as used by native speakers. The course continues building upon the linguistic foundations started in ARAB 111, and ARAB 112 and aims at developing the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing through two graded levels: for the first half of the semester, students study topics centered around their daily lives and activities. The second half of the semester takes students to a more advanced level where they start discussing topics moved away from the self and get closer to topics of a general nature like the history and geography of the Arab world, education, etc. In this course students will read longer passages (250-350 word), write on the paragraph level, listen to longer texts, and produce longer conversations. In addition, the course continues the practice of introducing Arab society, history, and culture. Overall, the course aims at improving students’ linguistic knowledge from to Intermediate- low to Intermediate-mid level, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The course fulfills the GE requirement for humanities (U) and the language requirement for Global Commerce, International Studies and Middle East and North African Studies (MENA).
Prerequisite(s): ARAB 112.
ARAB 212 - Intermediate Arabic II (4 Credit Hours)
This course continues building upon the linguistic foundations. It aims at developing a higher level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Arabic through the extensive use of graded materials on a wide variety of topics. The material covered is theme-based. This increases both quality and quantity of students’ vocabulary and provides more fluency and facility in understanding the language and communicating with it. The themes covered include: Arab cities, Arabic language, food & drinks, health, sports, travelling & transportation and weather. Overall, the course aims at improving students’ linguistic knowledge from Intermediate-mid to Intermediate- high level, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The course fulfills the GE requirement for humanities (U) and the language requirement for Global Commerce, International Studies and Middle East and North African Studies (MENA).
Prerequisite(s): ARAB 211.
ARAB 213 - Conversational Arabic (4 Credit Hours)
This course offers intensive practice in conversational skills in Arabic (both MSA and Dialectical). It aims at expanding students’ vocabulary and increasing their linguistic fluency and accuracy through a wide range of topics that gradually move from personal life and daily routines through one’s interests and surroundings to discussing community-related news and events. The course provides ample opportunities to intensively practice the language, narrate in the three time frames (past, present and future) and activate the vast amount of vocabulary accumulated over the course of four semesters of learning Arabic (around 1800 words). Such practice will be done through daily briefings, discussions, oral presentations, reporting on audiovisual materials and Arabic movies, in addition to supplementary authentic Internet-based material to deepen students’ understanding of Arab cultures. At the end of the course, students’ oral proficiency will develop from Intermediate Mid to Advanced low ACTFL levels. This course fulfills the GE requirement for humanities (U) and the Oral competency requirement (R).
Prerequisite(s): ARAB 212 or placement.
ARAB 299 - Intermediate Topics in Arabic (1-4 Credit Hours)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
ARAB 300 - Special Topics in Arabic (4 Credit Hours)
This course will further develop students' linguistic skills in both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and spoken Arabic. Specific topics will vary according to the interests of students and faculty.
Prerequisite(s): ARAB 211 or equivalent.
ARAB 311 - Advanced Arabic I (4 Credit Hours)
This is an advanced Arabic course that requires the completion of Intermediate Arabic II (ARAB 212) as its prerequisite. While this course continues to build upon the linguistic skills of ARAB 212, Advanced Arabic I (ARAB 311) primarily focuses on developing fluency in oral expression with the hope to reach to a native-like pronunciation (using educated spoken Arabic) and demonstrating accurate use of grammatical structures of Modern Standard Arabic. The material used for this course is chosen in such a way that develops students’ linguistic skills across two proficiency levels: For the first half of the semester, student will be dealing with topics at the intermediate high level including: law, politics in the Arab World, Palestine, military affairs, environment, and animals in the Arab World. For the second half of the semester, students’ proficiency level will be developed so as to handle topics at the advanced level Topics are presented through authentic and unedited Arabic language materials and include: minorities in the Arab World, Arab Americans, Arabic Language, health and sports. Overall, the course aims at improving students’ linguistic knowledge from Intermediate-high to Advanced-mid level, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. This course fulfills the GE requirement for humanities (U) and the Oral competency requirement (R).
ARAB 315 - Culture of the Arab World (4 Credit Hours)
The Arab world is composed of immensely varied cultures. This survey course (offered in English) aims at covering a broad spectrum of all aspects of Arab life from religion and society to social norms to communication styles. It also touches on its history, geography, language, economy, and environmental challenges. The course also addresses the relationship between the Arab world and the West and issues like stereotyping (on both sides), anti-Americanism and Islamic fundamentalism. Since the course holds a fundamental approach, previous knowledge is not required. This course fulfills the GE requirement for humanities (U).
ARAB 361 - Directed Study (1-4 Credit Hours)
ARAB 362 - Directed Study (1-4 Credit Hours)