Publication Date

Winter 1-14-2021


For many years, instructors and scholars of the Arabic language in American high- er education schools have debated two pedagogical questions: (1) whether or not non-standardized Arabic varieties, Spoken Arabic, should be integrated with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in the foreign Arabic classroom, and if so, (2) what that integration should look like (see Al-Batal, 2017). One of the prominent claims of those favoring MSA in the classroom is that MSA is the more prestigious language variety and therefore better represents Arabic literature, religious tradition and culture (Ryding, 1995:226) However, in the last two decades there has been an evolving pedagogical trend that aims to break the firewall of separation be- tween these varieties and to call for a new vision that integrates both varieties in the Arabic classroom (Al-Batal, 2017b). One of the main arguments of this new trend is that it reflects the sociolinguistic changes taking place in Arabic speaking countries and is therefore more responsive to the students’ learning needs. In this study, I aim to build on this argument and make a case for flexibility in teaching that allows for both Spoken Arabic varieties and the students’ L1 in the Arabic L2 classroom. This study aims to validate the findings of previous studies in which the L1 was found to be an important tool and resource with which to build proficiency in the L2 classroom. Using the L1, specifically English, alongside spoken Arabic in the Arabic L2 classroom, reflects the sociolinguistic dynamics of the Arab world where English as a global language is widely used both online and in everyday Arabic conversation. The study suggests a model that is based on the communicative approach which focuses on activating vocabulary and building proficiency in Spoken Arabic with the help of the L1 language.


Revista de Educación de la Universidad de Granada



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Languages, Cultures & Linguistics