Academic journal article Education

A Program Based on the Pragmatic Theory to Develop Grammatical Structure Comprehension Skills for Foreign Learners of Arabic

Academic journal article Education

A Program Based on the Pragmatic Theory to Develop Grammatical Structure Comprehension Skills for Foreign Learners of Arabic

Article excerpt


Teaching Arabic language to foreigners has an importance which shows that this language is currently one of the main six languages in the world. It is one of the languages in which the United Nations' documents are written. Arabic is taught in many parts of the world, especially in the United States. It is also the language of Qur'an, and so it has been associated with Islam and its teachings. Accordingly, non-Arab Muslims who wish to study Islam; envoys who desire to study in Arab schools; and foreigners who are willing to contact Arabs regarding economical, political, cultural, or other affairs need Arabic. (Abbadi, 2011; Al-Ali & Olaimat, 2012; Younos & Al-Shaykh, 2003).

Arabic consists of phonemes, morphemes, words, structures, sentences, and semantic fields. A structure is the combination of two or more words according to relation justifying this combination. Grammatical structures are important for foreign learners of Arabic since they help these learners to comprehend words, and to correctly pronounce and write them. They also help foreign learners to use language correctly in speaking, reading and writing; and develop thinking skills, and positive values and attitudes of these learners. (Bresnan, 1992; El Khafaifi, 2005; Palmer, 2008).

Grammatical structure comprehension is thus important for foreign learners of Arabic since it helps them to comprehend sentences, to specify sentence components and types, to infer the meaning conveyed by these sentences, and to differentiate between nominal sentence components (theme and rheme) and verbal sentence components (verb and subject). Grammatical structure comprehension also helps foreign learners in understanding the text as a whole, and in structurally and grammatically analyzing it. (olga, 2001).

There are stages for grammatical structure comprehension represented in the knowledge of structures and vocabulary's dictionary meaning; knowledge of the morphological structure of words; comprehension of the semantic significance of sentence structure; comprehension of the context of the sentence; specifying the components of the sentence; knowledge of the relations among words; knowledge of the Arabic case marks of words; knowledge of the grammatical terms' meanings; and knowledge of the functions of articles and prepositions. (Turner, 1995).

The most important grammatical comprehension skills are: specifying the componets of the sentence, and its predicates; determining the grammatical functions of words from context; specifying the types of sentences; forming sentences in accordance with the nominal and verbal sentence structures and differentiating between the two structures; specifying the types of verbs; distinguishing the types of followers using different verbs in sentences; using various conjunctions such as those of question, negation, condition, exception, possession, preposition, etc.; specifying the types of grammatical styles; and using different numbers in linguistic structures.

According to the importance of grammatical structure comprehension skills for foreign learners of Arabic, these skills should be developed through a program based on the Pragmatic theory since this theory is concerned with the discoursal interaction in the speech situation. This is followed by knowledge of all the linguistic and discoursal data related to the structure; especially the connotations and semantic fields resulting from the contextual usage. This data includes the speaker's beliefs intentions, personality, cultural make-up, and other participants in the linguistic situation. It also includes external circumstances such as time, place, social phenomena related to language; as well as the knowledge shared among the speakers and the effect of the spoken text on both (Chapman, 2012; Dalache, 1993; Forston, 2013).

The Pragmatic theory goes back to the Prague school which concerns language functions in communication and the functions performed by language levels (Gouvard, 1998). …

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