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Arabic Studies


Ahlan wa-sahlan.

Welcome to Arabic at Hunter College. Here at Hunter we teach the Arabic that is used on a daily basis by more than two hundred million people, from Morocco in the West of the Arab World to Oman in the East. Arabic can broadly be divided into local spoken dialects and fusha, "the eloquent language." The former is the spoken language of everyday life and the latter is the language of the media and academia and formal occasions. Its contemporary version is sometimes called "Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)." To as great an extent as possible we teach our students to speak spoken Arabic and to read, write, and understand MSA. The dialect that we focus on is the one spoken in Egypt, the most widely spoken and understood dialect in the Arab World. We teach both spoken Arabic and MSA via a communicative approach. In other words, instead of focusing on the translation of written texts, we teach our students how to read, speak, write and aurally comprehend the language as it is actually used by native speakers, using authentic texts whenever possible.

At Hunter we firmly believe in the bond between language and culture. Thus we always strive to expose students to the cultural side of the Arab world in our language classes, in extracurricular activities, and in culture courses offered in English. We like to consider culture a fifth skill in addition to the four mentioned above. Outside of the Arab World itself, New York is arguably the best place to be for exposure to Arab culture. We keep our students abreast of local cultural and academic events related to Arabic or the Arab World. At Hunter we hold weekly Arabic hours (Wednesdays from 1:10 to 3) where students can practice their spoken Arabic and get help with their homework. We also offer a number of cultural events in conjunction with the student-run Middle East Studies Club.

The successful completion of 4 semesters of Arabic at Hunter or the equivalent fulfills Hunter College’s language requirement. The Head of the Arabic Program can also test students who feel they have the equivalent amount of Arabic and would like to be exempt from the language requirement.


For more information on the Arabic program at Hunter please contact Professor Christopher Stone (1303 Hunter West) at 212-650-3138 or

If you are looking for information on the Arabic program at Hunter between January 2013 and January 2014, please contact Professor Alex Elinson (1304 Hunter West) at (212) 772-5044 or

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