FSI Comparative Arabic Courses

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What are the FSI Comparative Arabic Courses?

These courses are designed to help people who already have a good command of one version of Arabic to convert to another.

The first course is based on Levantine Arabic, the Arabic of Palestine and Lebanon. It teaches you the differences between that dialect and the dialect spoken in Morocco, focusing on pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and social usage.

The second course is designed for those who have already studied either Levantine Arabic or Egyptian Arabic and who want to learn to communicate using the other.

How were the FSI Comparative Arabic Courses originally used?

These FSI Comparative Arabic courses were designed for US diplomatic staff who already had a good command of one version of Arabic and who needed to learn to speak another.

The courses are short and well-suited to self-study, so FSI students would have simply worked through the books themselves – although presumably, they would also have had access to an instructor to help them practice and to answer their questions.

How can you use these FSI Comparative Arabic Courses?

Both of these free comparative Arabic courses are presented in the format of a reference book rather than as a series of lessons. They are well-suited for autonomous study by anyone with the necessary level of Arabic, so to convert to another dialect, you can simply read through the materials.

The only difference is that you won’t have access to an FSI instructor – but if you can find a native speaker of the dialect you want to learn who can help you, he or she should be able to answer any questions that arise.

Note that unlike with many other FSI courses, FSI Comparative Arabic has no accompanying audio.

Taking it further

Of course, if you are using FSI Comparative Arabic to learn a new dialect of the language, you will also need to practice, so at the earliest opportunity, I urge you to take your new skills out into the real world to try them out.

If you have already studied one version of Arabic, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to switch to another, and when you start using your new Arabic dialect as part of your daily life, you will see how quick and easy it is to pick up.

From Eastern To Western Arabic

Levantine and Egyptian Arabic Comparative Study