Arabic is a language spoken throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It is also widely read in South Asia and Africa because of the influence of Islam, whose scripture, the Quran, has had a far-reaching effect on religious thought since the seventh century A.D.
A knowledge of Classical Arabic opens the way to understanding a world civilisation that has produced important literature in historical writing, poetry and philosophy.
Arabic belongs to the Semitic family of languages, whose long history embraces ancient languages of the Near East such as Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, and modern ones like Amharic, the written and spoken tongue of present-day Ethiopia.
Unlike English, the Arabic alphabet is written in a cursive script from right to left and has no vowels as such. Consequently it can be a difficult language to learn in the early stages. Once mastered, however, it will allow you to penetrate an important branch of world literature and the everyday life of the Middle East.
The following modules aim to introduce students to the study of Arabic and its cultural and religious background:
- RT 1203 Elementary Arabic I
- RT 1204 Elementary Arabic II
- RT 1310 Arabic Texts I
- RT 1311 Arabic Texts II