Issues in the field of language learning and teaching have changed tremendously since Arabic was introduced in this country almost fifty years ago. Recent years have witnessed a movement for change spearheaded by university students, their instructors, and decision-makers. A new generation of professors, who are professionally trained in linguistics and language acquisition and pedagogy, have been arguing openly for supplementing, if not replacing, the traditional philological programs where Arabic is taught either as a means for reading text or as a linguistic system per se. They believe that not only does this approach prevent students from realizing their full potentials in achieving communicative skills, it also goes against the results of the substantial amount of research in foreign language acquisition that has been conducted since the seventies. The demand is for more communicative programs where focus is not on reading but also on the rest of the four skills plus culture.
Furthermore, these professors seem to maintain Chomsky's theory and distinction between competence and performance. Competence, according to Chomsky, refers to the individual's knowledge of grammar and other aspects of language, while performance refers to actual use, i.e., realization of this knowledge. In his view, a theory of competence is equivalent to a theory of grammar and is concerned with linguistic rules that can generate and describe the grammatical sentences of a language. A theory of performance, on the other hand, focuses on the acceptability of sentences in speech production and is a theory of interaction between the theory of grammar and non-grammatical psychological factors that influence the individual language user.
The following is a list of the Arabic programs
at various colleges and universities in the USA. We have limited
the list only to those which have websites.
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