Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Arabic Grows at Middlebury Program

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Arabic Grows at Middlebury Program

Article excerpt

"Prompted partially by the terrorist attacks ot September 11, 2001, the number of students at U.S. colleges who are enrolled in Arabic language courses nearly doubled from late 1998 through 2002. It's the fastest growth rate for any foreign language during that period and there's no sign that interest is waning. About 100 Americans traveled to rural Vermont this summer to study Arabic in one of the world's best-known language programs. Middlebury College is world-renowned for its intensive summer language program, and this season the demand for Arabic training far exceeded that of the other eight languages being offered. Arabic literature, taught by Ahmad Karout from Damascus, Syria, is one of the classes taught in Middlebury's full immersion language and culture program. Even outside of class, students are surrounded by Arabic, and English is neither heard nor seen. All posted signs and memos are written in Arabic, and students are required at all times to communicate only in Arabic, even in the cafeteria. The director of the Middlebury Arabic program, Mahmoud Abdalla, says this seamless use of Arabic from classroom to cafeteria to dormitory is an ideal way to learn, 'What students study here for nine weeks, equals nine months,' said Mahmoud Abdalla. …

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