Class: Modern Arabic Language Level I (Mondays/Wednesdays)

Mon, March 3, 2014 6:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Mondays | 6:30pm-8:30pm
Session: March 3 - May 19 (12-Week Session)
Tuition*: $495
Instructor: Michael Boyce

Wednesdays | 6:00pm-8:00pm
Session: March 5 - May 21 (12-Week Session)
Tuition*: $495
Instructor: Kirsten Beck

Private Lessons
Private Arabic Lessons Fees: $65/hour


Learning Arabic Through Cultural Immersion
The Arabic Language Studies Program at Alwan teaches Standard and Colloquial Arabic while exposing students to the linguistic and cultural dimensions of the language. From pop culture, food, and film to classical poetry, music, and short stories, these courses draw from the rich reservoir of Arabic language cultural products to reinforce Arabic grammar and vocabulary. By engaging with relevant cultural materials, students will encounter Arabic as a living language, mastering issues of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation within social contexts.


Classes are limited to a maximum of 6 students. At each level, a “text” (e.g., a poem, play, film, song) will be studied alongside the textbook or other materials supplied by the instructor to provide depth of culture engagement. Level I focuses on developing mastery of the Arabic alphabet and a vocabulary bank for practical communication skills. In Level II, students will be introduced to specific grammar concepts alongside an expanding bank of vocabulary to accommodate increasingly complex communication.

The first 6 weeks of instruction in Level I will be dedicated to learning the Arabic alphabet, focusing on Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) pronunciations, and to achieving basic conversation skills in Colloquial Arabic using texts that include Alif Baa, Mahmoud Darwish’s “To My Mother” and the “Mu’allaqa’ of Imru al-Qays. The second half of the course will focus on building confidence and speed with all aspects of the alphabet and expanding conversational skills in colloquial Arabic. Throughout the course, students will engage with the cultural dimensions of different greeting styles, discuss dialectical varieties, and learn about the living tradition of Arabic poetry, as well as delve into certain dimensions of Arabic music and cinema. Students will be invited to attend all Alwan events free of cost during their period of study.

Materials: Students will be required to obtain a copy of Alif Baa (3rd edition). All other materials will be supplied by the instructor.

Cultural Texts:
Mahmoud Darwish’s “To My Mother” and the “Mu‘allaqa” of Imru al-Qays.

Time Commitment:
The class meets 2 hours/week for 12 weeks. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 2 hours/week in preparation for class.

Level I is intended for students who have little or no background in the Arabic language.


KIRSTEN BECK: Alwan for the Arts Language & Culture Studies Program Coordinator and Arabic language instructor, Kirsten Beck has been teaching standard and colloquial Arabic for the past six years including introductory and intermediate undergraduate classes at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her BA in Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies and Mathematics at Barnard College in 2006 and her MA in Religious Studies at Columbia University. Currently residing in New York, she is pursuing her PhD in Middle Eastern literatures & cultures at the University of Texas. Her dissertation deals with the destabilization of knowledge in Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani's renowned tenth-century anthology, "Kitab al-Aghani" ("The Book of Songs"). Kirsten has also studied at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco and as a CASA Fellow at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

MICHAEL BOYCE: is a consummate student of Arabic who has dedicated the past six years of his life to learning the language and applying it through teaching and humanitarian work. He holds a Master’s in Arabic from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s in Modern Middle East Studies from Yale University. Michael speaks three dialects - Egyptian, Moroccan, and Levantine - as well as Modern Standard Arabic at “professionally proficient” levels according to the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute Examination. He taught Arabic as a teaching assistant at Hunter College of the City University of New York and through private tutoring. He especially likes to focus on issues in the language that relate to achieving nativeness such as pronunciation and “thinking like an Arabic speaker” i.e. developing native-like sentence structures. He has also worked extensively with Iraqi refugees, both in the resettlement department of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Damascus, Syria and for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project in Amman, Jordan.


* Discounts:
- 5% Discount with early enrollment/payment (Deadline Feb 26)
- 5% Discount for students who sign up to volunteer at Alwan
(Discounts do not apply to private lessons)

Payment: Students can pay by PayPal (see Registration Form), Personal Checks or Money Orders made out to Alwan Foundation.

Registration: Open until the first day of classes (no installment plans available), full payment due by first day of classes, with discounts for early enrollment/payment (Feb 26).


If students drop the class after the first session, they will be reimbursed 75% of the fees. No reimbursements will be made after attending the second class.

Late Registration
Late registration decisions are made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Class Coordinator. Students allowed to join the class after the first meeting will be charged the full tuition.

To register and pay for classes or private lessons for the spring semester, use this REGISTRATION FORM or contact:

Kirsten Beck
Program Coordinator, Arabic Language Instructor

Alwan for the Arts - 16 Beaver St, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10004 | Tel:917-396-8052


Alwan Signature Courses
Stay tuned for Alwan Signature Courses designed by artists, musicians, and cooks that provide unique perspectives on Arabic art, language, and culture.

Last updated: 2014-02-13 13:04:49

Learning Arabic Through Cultural Immersion
Learning Arabic Through Cultural Immersion

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

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