A New Approach To Teaching Arabic Grammarby Abdallah Nacereddine, Abd Allah Nasir Al-Din
Abdallah Nacereddine first taught Arabic in the United States before moving to Switzerland, where he led Arabic language courses at the League of Arab States and in conjunction with the Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce. He directed his own Institute for Arabic Language Teaching in Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, and Zurich, and taught Arabic at the United Nations in Geneva for over twenty-two years. At present, he is teaching at the International Labour Office. His teaching materials are the result of this experience and have been thoroughly tested in class.
One of the first Arabic grammar books was published in the 13th century, under the title al-Alfia (didactic treatise in one thousand lines), by Ibn Malek (600-673 A.H. / 1203-1274 A.D.). Since that time, Arabic grammar has not changed at all. In 1636, Thomas Erpenius published his definitive work, Grammatica Arabica, in Latin at Leiden. He followed a methodology which suited the European mind and adopted a specific terminology, which had to be applied by every non Arabic-speaking grammarian. Following this, several Arabic grammar books were published in different languages. Contrary to the grammar of other languages which have continued to evolve, Arabic grammar has remained unchanged.
There are already a certain number of Arabic grammar books. What then is the point of publishing yet another?
From his childhood, the author studied Arabic grammar, mainly from the al-Alfia treatise. He started to teach it in exactly the same archaic manner that he had learnt it. It was when he began to teach Arabic at the United Nations in Geneva to non-Arabic speakers in a multicultural context that he had to learn a new teaching method and its terminology. He therefore started to follow the European methodology for teaching Arabic grammar and to use its terminology.
The Arabic grammar books in different languages which he studied were useful. However, he found it difficult to apply them in his classes, because they were intended, in reality, for teachers, for scholars, as it were, and not in general for students or people of an average educational level. He had to readapt this methodology for his own teaching needs. He undertook to publish a new Arabic grammar book, not only as a teacher of Arabic, but also as a student of several other languages, while continuing to increase his knowledge of the Arabic language. This enabled him to make comparisons between these languages and Arabic.
Without adding anything new, his book offers a new presentation and approach to make Arabic grammar more accessible to and within the reach of everyone. It is a book produced for the students and, in a sense, by the students, as the author had to find the replies to all the questions they raised and the explanations which he could not find elsewhere.
The examples used by the ancient grammarians and reverted to by modern ones were often of a violent character. It was certainly not the fault of the grammarians, but the violent educational character of the period which produced this. All the examples in this book are more pacific, more jovial and more practical.
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