Levantine Arabic I Spring 2024 Syllabus

FORLANGC 111LA Levantine Arabic I (half course)
Five College Center for World Languages
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Date span Assignment Self-assessment
Feb 5 to Feb 11

First session meets, go to session with Assignment 1 prepared.

Feb 19 to Feb 25

Assignment 2.

Feb 26 to Mar 3 Assignment 3.
Mar 4 to Mar 10 Assignment 4.
Mar 11 to Mar 17 Assignment 5.
Mar 18 to Mar 24

Spring Break - no sessions, no self-assessments.


Mar 25 to Mar 31

Review all material covered so far this semester. Conversation sessions meet for review. 

Apr 1 to Apr 7 Assignment 6.
Apr 8 to Apr 14 Assignment 7.
Apr 15 to Apr 21 Assignment 8.
Apr 22 to Apr 28 Assignment 9.
Apr 29 to May 5 Assignment 10.
Apr 29 to May 5

Review all assignments from this semester. Sessions meet. No homework due, self-assessments ARE due.

May 6 to May 10

End of the Semester

Final Oral Evaluations

Individual oral evaluations will be scheduled in this time period.
Do not make travel plans until you know the date and time of your individual oral evaluation. 
Graduating seniors need to see that home campus senior grade deadlines are met.

May 6 to May 12

Review of Study Guides 1-10
Tutorials and conversation sessions WILL meet this week for review

FORLANGC 111LA Levantine Arabic I (half course)
Course Description and Requirements

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Director: Janna White
Contact Information: fcmlp2@umass.edu or 413-542-5264

Course Goals

1) Elementary conversation skills in Levantine Arabic with an emphasis on common everyday situations;

2) Early intermediate listening comprehension skills in Levantine Arabic dialect;

3) Awareness of differences in pronunciation and usage among Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian speakers.


Course Requirements

  1. Thorough preparation and active participation based on the assigned texts and multimedia materials listed below;
  2. Four to five hours per week of independent study and review following the syllabus and study guides;
  3. Twelve weekly 1 hour conversation sessions led by a native-speaking conversation partner;
  4. Weekly self- assessments due at the end of each week (no later than 9:00 am the following Monday morning);
  5. Final oral evaluation given by a professor who is a specialist in the language being studied.



The prerequisite for Levantine I is one full year of Elementary Modern Standard Arabic in a course that included some basic skills in speaking and understanding either Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect or are in their second semester of the above with permission of the Language Center. Levantine Arabic I is designed for students who have only novice-level skills in speaking Formal Spoken Arabic or a dialect and who need to start at the very beginning with the Levantine dialect. Both Levantine Arabic I and Levantine Arabic II start at the beginning of the textbook, but Levantine Arabic II will move very quickly through the early chapters and Levantine I will go more slowly in order to solidify basic skills. Students who complete Levantine I will continue with Levantine II.


Course Materials

Syrian Colloquial Arabic, a functional course, by Mary-Jane Liddicoat, Richard Lennane, and Abdul Rahim. Available for purchase online at www.syrianarabic.com. Audio mp3 files are also available for download.

Levantine Arabic Study Guides - online at http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu/

LangMedia materials online at http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu/arabic/:

Levantine Arabic Audio and Video Materials -

“Levantine Arabic Audio Comparisons” and “Levantine Arabic Situation Videos”

LangMedia: Arabic in Jordan 

(Most Arabic in Jordan videos are in Palestinian dialect)

CultureTalk Arab Levant 

(Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian)

Course Preparation

  • The materials for each week should be prepared prior to the conversation section meeting for that week.
  • Students need to study in locations where they can “talk to themselves” and practice using the language in as many different ways as possible. Students need to imagine situations in which they would need or want to use the language and then practice formulating possible phrases and sentences that would be needed in that context. Practice questions and responses to questions. Make up sentences and make up dialogs. Practice vocabulary by making up sentences and phrases similar to those used in everyday interactions.  
  • Assignments from the CultureTalk videos are given to enhance listening comprehension. Students should listen to these videos multiple times, first trying to discern what is being said without consulting the Arabic transcript or the translation, then studying the transcript and translation before listening again. Students should be prepared to discuss the videos during conversation sessions and should choose some vocabulary to learn from each video that will facilitate discussion of the video. Students are responsible for the material learned from the CultureTalk videos and will be asked about them during their oral evaluation


10%: Attendance, preparation, and participation in all conversation sessions. Regular attendance is required in order to pass the course.

10%: On-time submission of weekly self-assessment reports due at the end of each week. We recommend students submit self-assessments immediately following the week’s conversation session. The self-assessments are due at the latest by 9:00 am on the following Monday.

80%: Final oral evaluation. The final oral evaluation must be passed in order to pass the course

Grading scale:  A (94-100); A- (90-93); B+ (87-89); B (84-86); B- (80-83); C+ (77-79); C (74-76); C- (70-73); D+ (67-69); D (64-66); F (63 or lower).


The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Five College Center for World Languages are committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students.  If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with UMass Disability Services (DS) or your home campus, you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course.  If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify the program director within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.  For further information, please visit Disability Services at https://www.umass.edu/disability/ or your home campus office of disability services. 

Academic Honesty Policy

Students must adhere to all University of Massachusetts Amherst and Five College policies regarding professional conduct and ethics, including policies covering non-discrimination, sexual harassment, and academic honesty. University of Massachusetts Amherst Academy Honesty Policy: Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University.  Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty.  Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty.  Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct.  Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible.  Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair.  Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent. More information about the Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures may be found online here: https://www.umass.edu/honesty/.

Importance of Communication

Practice communication skills similar to what you would need in a professional work or internship situation: check email twice per day; read email carefully and respond in a timely manner; contact the office by email or phone about questions or issues; take a proactive approach to solving any problems or issues that come up. Save fcmlp2@umass.edu in your address book to help ensure that important messages about your course do not end up in your spam folder.

Schedules and Schedule Changes

Regular Meeting Times

Regular conversation session meeting times are set at the beginning of the semester.  Students send schedule information to the conversation partner.  The conversation partner chooses a time that will work for all members of the group.  That time then becomes the regular meeting time for the semester and will remain consistent throughout the semester.  (See your syllabus attachment for details about the process of scheduling conversation sessions.)

Missed Sessions

Regular conversation session attendance and preparation constitutes 10% of your final grade.  Students who miss a regular meeting time do NOT get a make-up session.  Missing a conversation session is similar to missing a regular class session.  It is the responsibility of the student to spend extra time on the material to catch up after missing a session.  If you are ill, have a job or graduate school interview, or a religious holiday, you can be excused from the conversation session so that you are not penalized for missing a session.  Students who need excused absences should email the Center staff AND their conversation partners as early as possible.

Permanent Changes to the Regular Meeting Time

Conversation groups may change to a different regular meeting time during the semester if the conversation partner and all students in the group agree upon a new meeting time that works well for all involved.  Requests to change to a new time must be communicated to the Center office by the conversation partner.  The program staff will only approve the change after verifying with the conversation partner and each individual student that the change in time will work.

Extended Absences Due to Health or Personal Emergencies

Students who experience serious health problems or other personal emergencies need to consult with the health services and/or appropriate deans on their home campus.  If extended absences are necessary, the program director will work with the student and appropriate deans to determine the best course of action.