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12/02/2017 - 07:00hs

University offers specialization in Arabic

Enrolments will open soon for a postgraduate course in Arabic language at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Classes will run from March to December.

São Paulo – From February 13 to 17, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) will accept enrolments for a postgraduate course in Arabic lasting from March to December.

After a two-year hiatus, the specialization in Arabic Language has returned, with 15 seats available. According to the postgraduate programs coordinator and assistant professor Suely Lima, a degree in Arabic Language is preferable, but not a must.

“It is a language-oriented course. People who are in other fields may encounter difficulties regarding the research work required,” the professor explains. She claims that the focus is on the structure of Arabic, and that contents will include morphology and syntax.

The goal is to train students so they can teach Arabic to Portuguese speakers. When asked about the existing demand for Arabic teachers in Brazil, Lima says that “demand is not strong, but whatever little demand there is, it is still hard to cater to.”

She points out efforts by the likes of the Lebanese consulate in Rio de Janeiro, which offers an Arabic course and maintains Escola Libanesa (the Lebanese School), whose subjects include Arabic. “The good students are all incorporated,” she said, meaning that graduates become teachers.

Lima also lists the biggest problems encountered by Brazilians in learning Arabic. “The main issue is the alphabet. The student needs to learn the alphabet all over again. That’s usually the first issue. The phonemes are also different, but none of that is insurmountable,” she notes.

Learning Arabic in Brazil differs from learning English, for instance, because material such as movies, TV shows and songs on the radio are not available in Arabic. “The only way to find those is online,” she says.

Student selection for the UFRJ postgraduate course includes a written exam in which candidates will be required to translate a text from Arabic into Portuguese; an interview; and curriculum analysis.

For additional information go to www.letras.ufrj.br/pgletras/CursosLatoSensu2017.html.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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