Arabic Class for Soldiers Emphasizes Culture, People

A new language class specifically designed for U.S. soldiers begins this week at The University of Texas at Arlington.

An Arabic language course taught by Arabic and French Lecturer Najia Alameddin will run for five weeks beginning Wednesday. The Summer Session II course is filled with cadets from the university’s ROTC program.

“The goal is to teach the language in order for new soldiers to communicate with the Arabic world,” Alameddin said. “We want to equip them so they can go anywhere and be able to communicate with those around them.”

The course was developed after officials in the Department of Modern Languages and Military Science identified a need for UT Arlington students headed to serve the United States in the Middle East. Alameddin said the intense course is designed to improve language proficiency, speaking, listening, reading and writing among students.

A 2011 graduate from UT Arlington with a master’s degree in modern languages, Alameddin said she hopes to infuse as many of the elements of Middle Eastern culture into the course as she can. She said she’ll share her experiences growing up in Lebanon and look at the differences between modern Arabic, regional colloquialisms and classical writings.

“You cannot understand the language without understanding the culture and society,” she said. “My goal is to try and give them a little bit of the very rich culture that exists in these countries. It will enhance the way they approach the language. … It’s not about teaching just the alphabet; this is more about introducing the culture and opening their horizon a bit.”

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