This paper highlights the need for a critical understanding of the concept of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as it is used in textbooks and curricula of Arabic as a foreign language in Western universities. Despite the lack of a widely agreed-upon definition of Modern Standard Arabic, in the teaching practice MSA is portrayed as a unified, written and spoken variety. This contribution shows that MSA presents itself as a tool deriving from a defensive Arab stance which refuses the Western ‘orientalist’ characterization of Arabic as a fragmented language. The concept of proficiency underlying MSA-based educational materials and teaching practices appears to us to be the manifestation of a new ideology which results from an Arab-Western collaboration, i.e. a ‘neo-orientalist’ approach. We argue that by considering diglossia as a cultural artifice of Western colonialism, MSA-centered teaching practices efface the complex sociolinguistic landscape of contemporary Arabic communication. This contribution urges the adoption of educational practices based on a more realistic representation of contemporary Arabic and its complexity.

Modern Standard Arabic and the Teaching of Arabic as a Foreign Language. Some Cultural and Linguistic Considerations, 2016.

Modern Standard Arabic and the Teaching of Arabic as a Foreign Language. Some Cultural and Linguistic Considerations

GIOLFO, MANUELA ELISA;
2016-01-01

Abstract

This paper highlights the need for a critical understanding of the concept of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as it is used in textbooks and curricula of Arabic as a foreign language in Western universities. Despite the lack of a widely agreed-upon definition of Modern Standard Arabic, in the teaching practice MSA is portrayed as a unified, written and spoken variety. This contribution shows that MSA presents itself as a tool deriving from a defensive Arab stance which refuses the Western ‘orientalist’ characterization of Arabic as a fragmented language. The concept of proficiency underlying MSA-based educational materials and teaching practices appears to us to be the manifestation of a new ideology which results from an Arab-Western collaboration, i.e. a ‘neo-orientalist’ approach. We argue that by considering diglossia as a cultural artifice of Western colonialism, MSA-centered teaching practices efface the complex sociolinguistic landscape of contemporary Arabic communication. This contribution urges the adoption of educational practices based on a more realistic representation of contemporary Arabic and its complexity.
Inglese
Quaderni di Palazzo Serra 29
263
288
9788888626659
ITA
Dipartimento di Lingue e Culture Moderne, Università degli Studi di Genova
Online
Settore L-OR/12 - Lingua e Letteratura Araba
2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10808/36511
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