Arabic Shades

The Shades of Arabic: What We Teach

The vastness of Arabic is manifest in the shades of the language. The main registers of the language are Formal and Colloquial. Both registers are further categorized- Formal Arabic into Classical and Modern Standard and Colloquial into multiple regional dialects.  An Arab university student will speak colloquial Arabic with family and friends, listen to and read the news in Modern Standard Arabic, and read Holy Books and older academic and literary works in Classical Arabic.  These registers resemble shades of the same color because of how much they share. Though dialects may vary significantly in pronunciation and vocabulary, they are related to each other and to Formal Arabic. Formal Arabic is understood throughout the Arab world. Thus the Arabic courses at UCI offer instruction in formal Arabic, which provides a solid foundation for all shades of Arabic.