Modern Standard Arabic responds to the challenges of both professional praxis and academic training by using enhanced technical components. It is therefore available in the traditional style of the printed book as well as an e-edition for laptops, netbooks, or tablet PC where all audio files and drills can be activated by mouse click or on the touch screen. The e-Edition and additional material are available on the companion website Both publications are identical in their content.

There is an answer key with the solutions for those exercises and drills with only one correct solution. The correct answers become visible in red color by moving the mouse to the place where the answer should be written.

Vocabulary and grammar are based on frequency analysis and communication requirements. The original texts were selected from various fields such as history, society, religion, politics, sports, science and culture. This course is not about teaching what is rare and unnecessary, but rather focuses the fundamental aspects of communication.

Students will learn how to master different situations of communication. Therefore special attention is given to repetitive and recurring expressions of both the written and spoken language, such as greetings, wishes, addresses, introductions, feelings, apologies as well as proverbs and stereotypical phrases. In addition, cultural, religious and historical information is conveyed in order to achieve cultural competence.

Common Arabic linguistic terminology is used throughout the book enabling students to enroll in language courses in the Arab world and exploit other Arabic language sources.

Since no one speaks Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as their native language and communication is strongly influenced by local dialects, students must be proficient in comprehending expressions, phrases and entire conversations in the dialect. Thus, Contemporary Arabic follows a new approach of incorporating Arabic dialects. Starting with lesson 4 all conversational texts are recorded in MSA as well as the dialects of four main regions:

A. Iraq/Gulf/Arabian Peninsula B. Syria/Lebanon/Palestine C. Egypt D. Maghreb

While maintaining the original content, special features of the respective dialect are incorporated in order to express the content adequately. Gradually, students learn to follow conversations in the dialect. However, it is not intended that students will actively speak the dialect. The objective is for students to express themselves in a variant of Arabic that is close to the language of educated Arabic speakers or Educated Arabic (لُغَةُ الْمُثَقَّفِينَ). Once they know their area of specialization or preferred region it is easy to add one of the provided dialect variants to the training in MSA.

Using Contemporary Arabic enables the student to reach Level A2 after finishing lesson 12 and Levels B1 – B2 after lesson 24 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This compares to Novice High and Advanced High according to the rating scale of the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Our special gratitude goes to Abdessamad Karmoun and Andy Wermke for their support in creating the e-edition. Comments, critical remarks and suggestions are greatly appreciated in order to include them in improved future editions.


Leipzig 2012 Eckehard Schulz and Sebastian Maisel