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Spoken Arabic: Egyptian


Admission requirements

Successful completion of MSA 4 and Arabic Texts 1 & 2, or a comparable level – to be endorsed by the examination committee.


This course aims at helping students prepare for some of the situations that they may encounter during their stay in Cairo in the second semester. Using different situational interactions as the starting point, students are introduced to vocabulary and structures of Egyptian Arabic. Students are also introduced to the Egyptian culture and aspects of similarity and difference between Egyptian Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students should start using short memorized phrases to interact in simple predictable situations. Students will be able to understand and express basic information about familiar topics like self, family, likes or dislikes. The course focuses on situations such as shopping, describing places and objects, requesting and giving directions.

Mode of instruction

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Classroom participation is determined by how much a student is actively engaged in the learning process in the classroom. Is (s)he trying to communicate in Arabic in class? Are they on-task of the various activities, are they cooperative with their colleagues to help the group learn?

Course load

5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hrs
Lectures (13 x 2) 26
Preparation and homework 104
(Preparation for and) Test 10

Assessment method and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Homework assignments 30%
Classroom participation 20%
Quizzes 15%
Project 15%
Final exam 30%

Quizzes and final exam

There are three quizzes, one at the end of each unit of the book. These quizzes focus on vocabulary, grammar and listening skills in specific units. The final exam covers all units and consists of listening, grammar, and vocabulary questions.


Most of the homework assignments are assigned via BlackBoard. There will also be assignments to hand-in in class. No late assignments will be accepted.


Students who do not receive a passing mark for the final exam may take a resit exam.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.




  • Abbas al-Tonsi, Laila al-Sawi, &Suzanne Massoud , (2010) Kalaam Gamiil: An Intensive Course in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic: Volume American University Press. Cairo, Egypt. ISBN 9789774163159.

  • Additional material as deemed appropriate by instructor


Registration in uSis.



Course rules

  • The use of cell phones is not allowed in the class. If you have an emergency and must receive a call, speak with me at the beginning of the class, set your phone to vibrate, sit next to the door, exit the room quietly when the call comes, and re-enter quietly after you finish your call.

  • All students are expected to maintain professional behavior in the classroom setting. It is the staff responsibility to enforce responsible classroom behaviors, and I will do so as mandated by university regulations.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

Note on the teaching language

Since students in this class have completed one Arabic year, they are expected at the end of the semester, hopefully, to deal with a fully Arabic Class; this will help you improve your language.
For that reason, the main language in this course is the Egyptian Colloquial. We will refer to MSA to get the idea more clear or to make connection between MSA and Colloquial. When needed, English is used in order to ensure your totally understanding.