TTEARROA1U Language Course: Arabic: From Scratch to the Qur'an
The Religious Roots of Europe
The course is a 10 ECTS crash course in classical Arabic. It is a demanding language to learn in just one semester, so please be prepared to work at it. The reward is getting to know the basics of Arabic grammar, enough to make sense of difficult texts like the Qur'an. Please make sure not to fall behind. Work through the exercises thoroughly, and only proceed when you grasp an exercise and remember the grammar.
The course is taught in the 'flipped classroom' style, which means that all the basics of the grammar are taught by video, and therefore contact with the teacher can be used for asking questions etc. rather than spending time on grammar lectures. You will have to watch the grammar lessons several times, and pause the video frequently as you digest the compact information given there.
Teaching: Week 5-18. There will be a break in week 15 (Easter).
Week by week
Week of 1 February. Start the course by reading the Wikipedia entry on Arabic language: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language. Then watch the first five video lessons on http://ehrensvard.dk/?Arabic, and complete the accompanying exercises (i.e. exercises 1-3).
Week of 8 February. This week’s work consists of watching lessons 6-10 and completing exercises 4-8.
Week of 15 February. Watch lessons 11-13 and complete exercises 8-11
Week of 22 February. Watch lessons 14-16 and complete exercises 12-14
Week of 1 March. Watch lessons 18-19 and complete exercises 16-17
Week of 8 March. Watch lessons 20-21 and complete exercises 18-19
Week of 15 March. Watch lessons 22 and complete exercise 20
Week of 22 March. Watch lesson 23 and read, translate and analyze Sura 12, verse 1-4; Sura 12 is the so-called Joseph sura. Our syllabus consists of the first half of this sura, which is six and a half pages in Brünnow-Fischer's Chrestomathy (full publisher details below). A great thing about it is that it includes a dictionary of just the words used in the book.
Week of 29 March. Compact seminar; face-to-face Arabic class in Copenhagen. Repetition of
Week of 5 April. Watch lesson 23 again and read, translate, and analyze Sura 12, verse 5-11
Week of 12 April. Easter break
Week of 19 April. Read, translate and analyze Sura 12, verse 12-20
Week of 26 April. Read, translate and analyze Sura 12, verse 21-25
Week of 3 May. Read, translate and analyze Sura 12, verse 26-32
Responsible teacher and institution
Martin Ehrensvärd, Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen
Syllabus and exam
The syllabus for the exam is the first half of Sure 12, The Joseph Sure, in the Qur'an, pp 132-138 in the above-mentioned Chrestomathy (i.e. Rudolf-Ernst Brünnow and August Fischer, Chrestomathy of Classical Arabic Prose Literature). This book includes vocabulary, so you don't absolutely need a dictionary. However, The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic is a fantastic dictionary, even for classical texts (due to the similarity of the classical and modern written language). Note that the Chrestomathy uses Arabic numerals for the page numbers. You can find the numerals in §25 in Fischer’s grammar.
As for the Qur'an, there is a very useful, albeit not always exact word-by-word translation and grammatical analysis found at http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp It gives you all the relevant info including pronunciation, literal translation, meaning, syntax, morphology.
For the exam you will be asked to transliterate, translate and linguistically comment upon a text from the syllabus. The text will be a few verses long. You will receive the text on May 9 at noon and should hand in your paper by email to me on before May 10 at noon.
The textbook is a work in progress and is found on http://ehrensvard.dk/?Arabic in the form of a bunch of exercises organized by lesson number; there is also a pdf where all of the small pdf files are combined in one large file.
Wolfdietrich Fischer, 'A Grammar of Classical Arabic' (Yale University Press 2002; note that the original German version can be used as well).
Rudolf-Ernst Brünnow and August Fischer, 'Chrestomathy of Classical Arabic Prose Literature' (Harrasowitz 2008 - Older German versions can be used as well).
Reading Arabic aloud
You will receive mp3 files of Martin Ehrensvärd reading all of the exercises in Arabic. Please refer to these as you practice your own reading.
- 10 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written assignment