93589 - Arabic Language and Literature 1

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Ilaria Cicola

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-OR/12

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Ravenna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Mediterranean Societies and Cultures: Institutions, Security, Environment (cod. 5696)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This course aims to give the student a basic competence in both Arabic language and Literature. At the end of the course students will acquire bsic knowledge and skills that would make him able to understand the principal literary typologies in both prose and poetry. Students will be able to understand and problematise various topics not only from a literary point of view, but from an historical, political and cultural perspective also, so to better understand the wide and diversified arab-muslim reality.

Course contents

The course will be divided into two parts, which will be strictly interconnected: Arabic Language, and History of Arabic Literature.

Arabic Language

Students will be taught basics of Classical Arabic Language (CLA) and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in reading, writing, phonetics, morphology, syntax and vocabulary, so as to develop the necessary skills for an effective use of CLA/MSA in simple communication tasks, such as translating/producing short written texts and bunderstanding/producing” short oral texts. Basic grammar: main forms of nominal declension; first conjugation form of verbs (both in perfect and present tenses); so-called "deaf" and "weak" verbs. .

Some basic notions of history and sociolinguistic of the Arabic language, with special focus on the themes of diglossia and linguistic variation.

History of Literature
An introduction to the history of Arabic literature will be provided, from pre-Islamic times (VI-VII centuries) to the first Abbasid period (VIII-IX centuries). The following items will be paid special attention: relationship between civilization, religion and literature; social representations on gender, religious diversity and ethnic diversity as reflected in literary works. Moreover, literature will be analised in the context of the Mediterranean culture (its role, how it was influenced by other cultures, its evolution).



Arabic Language

  1. DARGHMOUNI, Sana, Kalima/Parola, Le Monnier Università, 2019
  2. VECCIA VAGLIERI, Laura, Grammatica teorica-praticadella Lingua Araba, vol. I, Roma, Istituto per l'Oriente.
  3. MION, Giuliano, La lingua araba, Roma: Carocci, 2007
  4. Audiovisual materials from the Online Experimental Course "Sabily (Open Source), Lessons 1 to 10.

Arabic Literature:

  1. AMALDI, Daniela, Storia della letteratura araba classica, Bologna: Zanichelli, 2004 pp.1-190
  2. Corano, Introduction by Alessandro Bausani, BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli, 2006.



Arabic Language

  1.  ANGHELESCU, Nadia, Linguaggio e cultura nella civiltà araba, (translation by Michele Vallaro), Torino: Silvio Zamorani Editore, 1993.

N.B.: Non-attending Students are kindly invited to contact the Teacher in order to agree on times and ways for carrying out their individual "context analysis" (see below, Section "Teaching Methods") and, if needed, to define personalized bibliographical suggestions in the light of their own individual learning project.


Suggested Readings For "Beginners":

1. For those who have no prior knowledge of the history of the Arab world, reading of the following handbook is strongly recommended:

SILVERSTEIN, Adam J., Islamic history. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 (Italian translation: Adam J. Silverstein, Breve storia dell'Islam, Rome: Carocci, 2013).

2. For the language part, no preliminary knowledge is required. However, anyone who wants to get an overview of the main issues related to the study of the Arabic language and the main features of this language is invited to fully read the text by Giuliano MION mentioned above.

Teaching methods

Arabic Language

An original teaching methodology is proposed. The grammatical approach which is "traditional" in academic teaching of Arabic language, mainly oriented to develop student's passive skills in written communication (translation from Arabic into Italian), is combined with the mostly inductive and mimetic approach proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Learning / Teaching / Assessment).

The latter's guidelines have been of course reviewed according to the peculiar characteristics of the Arabic language and the special objectives of the course.


In compliace with the guidelines provided by the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the operational methodology will be further developed on the basis of a thorough “context analysis”. This will be aimed at identifying each student's individual educational needs, as well as their previous linguistic skills (included in languages other than Arabic), their own favored learning style, in order to build didactic projects as individualized as possible.

Assessment methods

Final Exam Structure

The final exam consists of two tests: a written one, with use of the dictionary, and an oral one.

Both the written and the oral test will be evaluated on a scale of thirty. The final mark of the exam will result from the arithmetic average of the results of the written test and the oral exam.

The written exam

The written exam will assess the student’s command of Arabic language, at the level required by the Course, with reference to the following main skills:

  1. Understanding written messages in Arabic;
  2. Translating written messages from Arabic into Italian
  3. Producing written messages in Arabic.

For these reasons, the student will be submitted some different tests (concerning the abovementioned different skills ( translating a short text from Arabic into Italian or vice versa; comprehension tests; completing sentences; conjugating verbs etc.). Time of the written exam: 3 hours.

The written exam being preliminary to the oral exam, students getting a mark lower than 18/30 will not be admitted to the oral exam.

The oral exam

The oral exam will assess the student's command of the material studied in the course. The student will be asked to provide a linguistic and historical commentary on selected texts among those analysed by the teacher during the course and will be judged on his/her ability to summarise and critically discuss topics raised in the course, making use of the exam bibliography and the course tools provided.

The assessment will thus consider the student's:
- competence in commenting on the selected texts, i.e. in identifying, translating and contextualizing them;
- knowledge and understanding of the topics covered;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Assestments will be awarded following this principles:


(28-30 cum laude)

  • the students can to provide a full-fledged linguistic and historical commentary of the selected texts
  • the students shows an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures
  • the students displays a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology



  • the student has memorized the main points of the course material
  • the students is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary,
  • the student displays an average command of the appropriate terminology



  • the students knows very sparsely the exam material
  • the students is able to summarise and provide a general critical commentary,
  • the student displays a limited command of the appropriate terminology


  • the students displays significant errors in his understanding the exam material
  • the student fails to grasp the overall outlines of the subject
  • the student displays a poor command of the appropriate terminology

Teaching tools

Textbooks will be integrated with a wide range of other tools, mostly relying on Arabic sources (audiovisual, press, literary texts, as well as religious, legal, economic and political texts).

Office hours

See the website of Ilaria Cicola