Tasks for Linguistic Complexity in Arabic

Project Director: Mahmoud Azaz (University of Arizona)
In partnership with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Graduate College at the University of Arizona.

Research in instructed SLA has highlighted the role of teacher-learner interaction in challenging learners to create complex meanings with their existent language resources (Gass & Mackey, 2007). Crucial to fostering learners’ proficiency through interaction is the use of well-designed language tasks that scaffold learners to structure and sequence language that is lexically more diverse and syntactically more complex (Ellis, 2003). Unfortunately this knowledge from SLA research does not always directly translate to sound pedagogical approaches. In the particular case of Arabic, enrollments have doubled after the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011; however, because of its long history as a LCTL, there is a lack of materials informed by data-driven research (Al-Batal, 2007; Bergman, 2009).

To address these deficiencies, the Tasks for Linguistic Complexity in Arabic project will:

  • Conduct research on the emergence of linguistic complexity in oral performance in Arabic in beginning and intermediate learners and report on findings by compiling a learner corpus of spoken language;
  • Develop, pilot, and refine a set of sample task-based lesson plans for Arabic, with translated versions that can serve a model for other languages, and a guide with pedagogical strategies based on the research;
  • Disseminate these materials in a language pedagogy workshop in Spring 2022 (for which travel funding will be available) and as digital resources on the CERCLL web site.

Materials forthcoming during the 2021-2022 academic year.