Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

TAFL Division

The TAFL Division receives students from various universities from all countries, as well as private students on fellowships granted by their universities, governments and organizations of academic exchange. Students study Arabic language, culture and heritage in its natural environment.


The mission of the TAFL Division at BAU is both cultural and academic: to spread the Arabic language beyond the borders of the Arab Region, and to strengthen academic relations between Beirut Arab University and universities worldwide.

TAFL Language Courses

Since Arabic is a diaglossic language where the written and the spoken language are different, both Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Lebanese are taught. Students can join three types of courses at different levels:

  • A one-academic year course (2 semesters). This follows the calendar of Beirut Arab University. Classes begin in September and end in June.
  • A one-semester course (15 weeks). This follows the calendar of Beirut Arab University. Classes begin in either September or February.
  • Intensive Summer Course (8) weeks. Classes begin in early July and last till the end of August.

Classes are for 10 hours per week, Monday to Thursday.

Aim of Courses

Courses aim at enhancing students’ proficiency in the four language skills of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. A rich variety of material is used covering Modern Standard Arabic, Colloquial Lebanese and other subjects.

Courses Offered

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)

This variety of Arabic is the official language that any educated Arab understands and uses in all Arab countries. It meets the needs of foreign learners who want to know the culture, religion and heritage of the Arab world. This is taught for 8 hours per week.

Lebanese Colloquial Arabic (LCA)

Through use with locals, the student is exposed to this variety daily. The student uses it in different situations such as shopping, in supermarkets, in transportation, watching movies, listening to songs and in everyday conversations It includes local anecdotes, idioms, proverbs and stories. This is taught for 2 hours per week.

Optional Courses

A one-to-one course in the subject area of the student’s choice offers an opportunity for students to explore their particular field of interest. The TAFL division provides the opportunity for students to attend courses offered by the university with their Lebanese colleagues. Courses vary and among others include Media, Sociology, History, Literature etc.

Levels and Skills

Based on a placement test, students are divided into the following four levels: Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each skill at any of the three levels has certain objectives to be attained.


  • Reading: Recognise vocabulary items in isolations and in short sentences.
  • Listening: Understand vocabulary, idiomatic expression and structural usage in real life dialogues.
  • Speaking: Gain controlled fluency in restricted range of structures, expressions and vocabulary.
  • Writing: Copy words and short sentences NASKH.

Pre- Intermediate

  • Reading: Read and comprehend basic facts and ideas in short simple texts.
  • Listening: Comprehend instructions and expressions related to social conventions and everyday needs.
  • Speaking: Communicate using short sentences. Express ideas clearly.
  • Writing: Write simple sentences.


  • Reading: Comprehend long passages of various organizational patterns.
  • Listening: Comprehend conversations and talks.
  • Speaking: Express oneself orally through conducting long conversations and forming complex sentences on various topics based on the repertoire gained during classes
  • Writing: Write short, simple letters and texts using advanced structures.
  • Arab Culture: Conduct short researches on various topics related to Arab and Islamic culture.


  • Reading: Gain familiarity with synonyms and figures of speech. Gain language usage, terminology, idioms and cultural references.
  • Listening: Comprehend the ideas expressed in continuous speech or conversations.
  • Speaking: Speak fluently on a number of topics with accuracy and confidence. Take part in general conversation. Talk with accuracy and confidence on a range of topics using the appropriate structural and stylistic forms.
  • Writing: Use idiomatic expressions and terminology with precision. Write essays and short papers. Develop creative writing.
  • Arab Culture: Read and comprehend texts from Arabic Literature. Conduct researches on Arab and Islamic culture.