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Arabic Beginners (Year 1) Short Course

Key information

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Covid-19 update: The learning doesn’t have to stop, join our online community. We will be delivering courses remotely until further notice. Live tutor support and virtual lessons will take place during advertised teaching hours. The classes are taught in small groups, so you’ll get lots of support from your tutor. Book now.

Learn at a moderate pace with our Arabic Beginners short course. Starting in October, you will progress through three modules over a one-year period.

Why choose this course?

Whether learning Arabic for travelling, working abroad or with foreign companies, the Arabic Beginners course will enable you to communicate confidently on a basic level in everyday situations, socialise and not feel out of place when visiting Arabic-speaking countries.

This Beginners Arabic short course is an introduction to the language and way of life in Arabic speaking countries. Challenging but rewarding, the course is perfectly suited to those looking to develop a basic command of Arabic.

The course consists of one evening class a week, for a total of 30 weeks; spread across three modules, which is ideal for those with various commitments or working full-time.

All of our language short courses are taught by qualified native speakers and delivered at City, University of London’s main campus, in the heart of the capital.

Course overview

The Arabic script is introduced letter by letter with grouping depending on the shape of the shell. Listening and speaking exercises in the class reinforce the relationship between letters learnt and their associated sound.

You will learn about Arabic media, how to make polite requests and express likes and dislikes, receive an introduction to food and drink; and learn to describe daily activities. By the end of the course, you will have an understanding of the structure of Arabic and will be able to speak, read, write and understand simple Arabic sentences.

Is it the right level for me?

If you have no prior knowledge of Arabic you must start with Module One, which takes place in October term.

If you have some basic knowledge of Arabic and you are already familiar with the content of Module One you may choose to enrol on Module Two or Module Three. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

If you are a complete beginner but you have missed October enrolment for the Arabic Beginners course you can join our Arabic Beginners Fast Track course in January or the Arabic Beginners Summer Intensive course in May.

Please make sure you have the correct level by using our online guidelines.

  • “ Top tutor highly recommended ”


    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Module 1

Topics covered

  • Alphabet and sounds;
  • Greetings and leave-taking;
  • Yourself and where you are from;
  • Professions;
  • Everyday objects.

Grammatical structures

  • The short and long Arabic vowels;
  • Masculine and feminine words (gender of nouns);
  • Simple sentences;
  • Case endings - the nominative case,
  • Nouns (singular) and adjective agreement;
  • Plural of words;
  • Possessive endings;
  • The letter Ta Marbouda and its sound;
  • Attaching a suffix to a word ending in Ta Marbouda;
  • Separate personal pronoun, subject and predicate;
  • Separate pronoun.

Learning objectives

  • Writing and reading the Alphabet as well their sounds (phonetics);
  • Introducing and identifying yourself and others;
  • Greeting people;
  • Saying good-bye;
  • Asking about well-being;
  • Talking about what you do;
  • Identifying places of origin and Arab countries, political system and capitals;
  • Describing everyday objects/ objects in classroom;
  • Making polite requests and asking questions;
  • Introduction to colloquial Arabic; phonological variations/ different hand writing.

Module 2

Topics covered

  • identifying and describing classroom surrounding and people;
  • identifying and describing University surroundings and facilities;
  • Eliciting information and providing answers using general and unique questions tools;
  • Describing family members; accommodation and study subjects.

Grammatical structures in context

  • Describing location using preposition أمام خلفَ تحتَ فوقَ بينَ بجانب على;
  • Enumerating items using وَ particle;
  • Introduction to demonstrative pronouns هذا هذه هُنا هُناك;
  • Using contrasting particle لكنْ;
  • Introduction to the nominal sentence and negating with ليس ;
  • Introduction to the definite article أل   ; and other definite and indefinite nouns
  • Assimilating and non-assimilating sound using Sun and Moon Letters;
  • Revisiting Nisba نسبة ;
  • Introduction to an elements of structure of Idafa إضافة  ;
  • Asking yes /no and content question; ؟ …هَل - أَ – كيف- مَن- ماذا- ما- أّينَ- كم
  • Secret of Arabic verb (Stem and Root) and how and when to use conjugation;
  • Learning how to form the unique dual nouns, number-noun agreement;
  • learning how to ask about Non- Rational (or non-human) nouns ما هيَ ؟;
  • Expressing admiration using ما شاء الله ma sha Alla;
  • Using vocative particle يا ;
  • Introduction to object of verbs;
  • Introduction to the function and benefit of pronouns of separation هذا هو... هذه هيَ...   .
  • Introduction to a distinct aspect of phonological variation in a colloquial Arabic;

Learning objectives

  • Being able to count;
  • Eliciting information;
  • Expressing admiration;
  • Cardinals numbers;
  • Describing a situation;
  • Giving your address;
  • Expressing regret or apology.

Module 3

Topics covered

  • Food and drink;
  • Daily routine and schedules;
  • Telling time;
  • Describing people;
  • Positions and activities;
  • The weather;
  • Past events;
  • Arabic print media.

Grammatical structures

  • Sequence;
  • the verb KANA;
  • comparing and contrasting;
  • partitive nouns;
  • giving a reason;
  • the imperative;
  • case of the noun;
  • attached pronoun to verb;
  • likes and dislikes;
  • plural of noun;
  • idafa structure;
  • verbal noun and past tense.

Learning objectives

  • Requesting and declining things politely;
  • Describing activities in the present, past and future;
  • Reporting what other people say;
  • Talking about the weather;
  • Describing daily activities;
  • Expressing contrast and reasons.



Prerequisite knowledge

Modules are taught at progressive levels, if you have no prior knowledge you must start at Module One in the autumn (October).

If you wish to join Module Two of the Arabic short course (in January), you must have completed Module One or be familiar with the content taught in Module One, specified in the What will I learn? section.

If you wish to enrol on Module Three of the short course (in April/May), you must have completed both Module One and Module Two or be familiar with the content taught in these two modules, found in the What will I learn? section.

Please check your level by using our online guidelines before enrolling.

English requirements

You will need to respond to instructions and read course documents in English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis of this Arabic short course is on listening and speaking. The lessons focus on language that is required in authentic situations.

Classroom activities will include:

  • role-playing;
  • classroom discussion;
  • pair and group work;
  • work on pronunciation and intonation;
  • grammar in context.

Listening to audio clips and watching videos are an important element in our lessons. More comprehensive grammar exercises and reading texts are generally set as homework.

Your progress will be assessed on an on-going basis through homework and performance in class. You will receive verbal feedback from your lecturer when appropriate and written feedback with your homework. All evaluation will take place in a relaxed and informal setting.

You will be encouraged to build your own Arabic Learning Portfolio (ALP). This will be discussed with your tutor.

There is no formal assessment and no qualification is issued at the end of the course, but you will be awarded an official City, University of London certificate on completion of the course. You must attend over 70 per cent of the classes to be eligible for the certificate.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Module One

Ahlan wa Sahlan Letters and Sounds of the Arabic Language

With Online Media Access the Online Interactive Exercises (Password inside the textbook)

By: Mahdi Alosh, Allen Clark

  • ISBN10 -0300214464
  • ISBN13 -9780300214468

Example of contents of module 1:

Modules Two and Three

Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners, Second Edition: With Online Media Access the Online Interactive Exercises (Password inside the textbook)

By: Mahdi Alosh, Revised by Allen Clark

  • Publication date 01 Nov 2015
  • ISBN10- 030021989X
  • ISBN13- 9780300219890

Example of contents of modules 2-3 through year 1,2 and 3

Tutor information

  • Ahmed EI-Shareif

    Ahmed EI-Shareif is a native Arabic speaker from Egypt. He obtained his Master of Arts in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from SOAS, University of London.  He also attended several workshops run by the Authors of Al-Kitaab in Texas University, USA and London.

    Ahmed currently teaches Arabic at City (CASS & LGP Modules) and SOAS. He previously taught at Suffolk College, Westminster University, International House London and Kings College London.

    Ahmed is an External Examiner for Pearson education, and Chartered Institute of Linguists. He also designs and runs training courses for the development of Arabic teachers abroad and in UK.

  • Arabi Shareif

    Arabi Shareif has been teaching for 10 years, after obtaining his certificate in teaching Arabic as a foreign language from SOAS in 2008. Arabi has taught at Universities such Kings College in London and also at several language schools.

    Arabi is working toward his MA in Academic Practice in Teaching at City, University of London. He is a native speaker of Arabic with a passion for Arabic language teaching, who teaches Modern Standard Arabic as well as Egyptian dialect.  Arabi studied Business at Ain Shams University and has a diploma in Computer Science from The American University in Cairo.

Next steps

This Arabic Short Evening Course for Lower Intermediate Students is a fantastic intermediate evening class for Arabic learners.…