Spoken Literary Arabic - An Introduction to the language through the Arabian Nights

Spoken Literary Arabic - An Introduction to the language through the Arabian Nights

*I only agree to teach this course if two or more students sign up.

Course Description: Broken plurals, hollow verbs, absolute states, and... the source! What on earth do these things have to do with a language? Better yet, how can YOU use them? Here's an invitation to find out. The language of the One Thousand and One Nights, deriving from Classical Arabic, is a universe of its own: intricate yet elegant, polyphonic and harmonious. Just as Latin and Greek, Arabic, one of the major literary languages of the world, is sometimes considered grammatically complex and difficult to learn. For this reason, it is often taught in purely grammatical terms without the required amounts of proper spoken practice. Through the lens of the Arabian Nights, this course aims at offering a different approach, based on natural methods of language acquisition (TPR and storytelling) and the instructor's extensive experience teaching Greek and Latin as spoken languages. The goal of this introduction is to equip students with enough tools to grasp basic stories in Arabic about kings, thieves, genies and talking animals, through conversation. We will work our way through basic verb and noun morphology and syntax and core vocabulary. The texts used in class will be (very) abridged versions of longer stories found in the classic endless story cycle from the Middle Ages.


Textbook: Instructor will provide materials.

Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Wednesdays, 9:00a.m. U.S. Eastern Time


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Roberto Salazar

Roberto Salazar is an experienced polyglot language coach and nomadic classicist, with a passion for teaching Latin and Greek as spoken languages, and an impossible desire to speak all tongues imaginable, and to teach them to those who want to learn them. 

He has taught Latin, Greek, Arabic, German and more in different places around the world, including various Paideia programs, online and on site.  A former fellow of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, where he studied Classics and Philosophy, he's currently writing a PhD dissertation on the reception of Greek tragedy in the Arab World, Modern Greece and Latin America. He has also done research on European Classical Reception and Neo-Latin. 

He has published fiction translations into French and Spanish from various languages including Swedish. In 2017, he was the head literary curator for the French-Colombian Year. 

That's probably why he's still scrambling to complete his PhD at the University of Versailles. 

He currently lives between Athens, Cairo and Saint Denis, France.