Iraqi the Focus of Arabic Dialects Class

by B.J. Koubaroulis

Iraqi the Focus of Arabic Dialects Class

George Mason University offers ARAB 380, a class that explores the different dialects of the Arabic language. In fall 2009, the class will focus on Iraqi.

"Iraqi in particular is the dialect that concerns many Americans these days," said Sana Hilmi, Arabic coordinator. "Iraq is the hot spot. A lot of my students either went or will be going for few months; and they would like to learn this dialect. It is a dialect that needs to be studied because of the many linguistic changes and derivations we have."

In ARAB 380 students will study of the structure of one Arabic dialect with comparison to Modern Standard Arabic and the classical Fus-ha. The course includes study of literature, proverbs, and culture associated with that dialect.

Many students who travel abroad experience "language culture shock," said Hilmi. "They will not sound anything close to the spoken language. This is because what they have learned is what they should write and what they should use in a formal setting."

ARAB 380 will cover Iraqi proverbs, riddles, jokes, folklore stories and songs and will look at the different ethnic groups in Iraq with focuses on the Baghdadi Dialect. Hilmi will also introduce many guest-teachers, including one who teaches Iraqi at Georgetown, to talk about the dialect of the south which is close to the Gulf Dialect.

"Besides the language, I think this course will also give students a lot of insight into the Iraqi people, culture, and customs," Hilmi said.