Teaching Arabic Literature to Foreign Language Learners as a Medium to Bridge Cultural Gap

Huda Al-Tamimi,


Abstract


Teaching literature to foreign language learners provide, amongst others, helping students to understand and appreciate other cultures different from their own. To determine how desirable outcomes can be achieved in using Arabic as a foreign language classroom, this article provides a review of the relevant scholarly literature concerning teaching literature to foreign language learners in general and as a medium to bridge the gap between cultures in particular. Based on the author’s experiences using Arabic to demonstrate the role literature classes can play in improving students’ cultural-linguistic competence, this article argues that effective communication requires language proficiency and cultural competence in equal measures. It shows that it is impossible to achieve functional fluency in one without similar achievement in the other. If done well, the study of literature will lead to increased empathy with and respect for the language community, improve students’ motivation and make them more effective communicators in the target language.


Keywords


Arabic; Literature; Foreign language learners; Culture; Language; Teaching; Competence; Norms and expectations

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