Research on Arabic as a heritage, critical, and foreign language in the US context has enriched the field of language acquisition and other fields (Albirini 2018; Benmamoun 2015). Most of that research studied each group of students (heritage, non-heritage/foreign) in isolation. However, Arabic classrooms in the US are populated by diverse students including those from heritage backgrounds and those who have a mere interest in studying the Arabic language on its own merits. Therefore, to provide a more inclusive account of the types of linguistic practices/needs of those students, this qualitative study surveyed 17 college Arabic (non-)heritage students who attend Arabic classes in the US. The results suggest that these students would like to have Arabic textbooks that linguistic variation within Arabic as reflected in the environments that they live in (i.e., the US setting). Other results showed that the new technologies such as the internet and social media have provided the students with more venues of practice and that their Arabic textbooks should benefit from the students’ digital literacies in ways that accommodate their diverse linguistic and digital identities. The results of this study inform an Arabic textbook project that we are currently developing and will have implications for the development of Arabic curricula that serve the needs of diverse Arabic (non)-heritage learners in the US as well as to teachers of Arabic in immigrant and foreign contexts.
Amer El-Ahraf, Chapman University & Coastline College, United States
Reda Mohammed, Case Western Reserve University, United States