Literal Arabic

Arab linguistic communities practice two varieties of Arabic, one essentially written, known as literary Arabic, the other essentially spoken, known as dialectal Arabic, which varies from country to country. It is these two varieties of language which, inseparably, make up their identity.

Inalco is the only institution in France to offer a Bachelor's degree in Arabic, including courses in Arabic language and civilization.

Discover the language

Dialectal Arabic and literal Arabic

Immediate communication, the kind that involves the voice and the presence of the other - in front of you, at the end of the phone - is dialectal Arabic, specific to each region. It allows you to open up to the living, moving pulse of the street in the Arab world. It's fundamental to everyday life. Knowledge of it is a prerequisite for any serious learning of Arabic. But when it comes to communicating in writing - or delivering official speeches - in the press or in publishing, it's another variety of Arabic, literal Arabic, that's used. Literal Arabic enables communication across time, from one generation to the next: learning literal Arabic gives access to texts dating back more than a millennium and a half. It enables communication across space: from the Gulf to the Ocean, as the cliché goes, and, with the Internet, across the world.

A prestigious heritage

The written language, Literal Arabic, has known various states of language. Originally, it was a transdialectal language of ancient Arabia that enjoyed immense fortune thanks to a major linguistic event: the advent of a sacred text, the Koran. But literal Arabic is not just a mythical language, the language of origins and the sacred. It is the language of a written memory, of the prestigious classical heritage.

A modern international language

It is above all the written language of the present: it has undergone a prodigious expansion and profound change of face over the last century, thanks to the press, mass publications and the access of large sections of the population to education, in Arab societies. It is the living language of modern Arab culture. Literal Arabic should be compared with the great vehicular languages of the modern world, whose use is essential for economic, exchange and cultural purposes. Literal Arabic is a major international language, adopted, for example, by Interpol as the 4th international language, after English, French and Spanish.

Studying Literal Arabic at Inalco

A complete training in Arabic language and civilization

Inalco is the only establishment in France to offer a complete and advanced Bachelor's degree in Arabic in all registers of the language including courses in Arabic language and civilization. Our courses are designed to introduce you to all the multifaceted aspects of Arabic: modern language, classical language, classical heritage, language of the press and economy, modern literature, dialectal Arabic - with a very wide range of languages on offer that is set to grow, including Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Syrian-Lebanese, Yemeni and Egyptian - as well as a brand-new course in Maltese. High standards are set in Arabic language, civilization (history, geography, sociology and anthropology), linguistics and literature.

Training courses

If you're a beginner, these are the diplôme d'initiation (literal Arabic), the diplôme intensif, the licence d'arabe oriental, the licence d'arabe maghrébin.
If you already have a good level in literal Arabic (250 hours of Arabic courses) and have mastered the grammatical notions of the 1st volume of Luc Deheuvels' Manuel d'arabe moderne: licence d'arabe.

If you are unsure of your level, we organize orientation tests.

From the 2nd year of the Arabic bachelor's degree, students can also choose one of 5 professionalizing courses: international business, intercultural communication and training, didactics of world languages and French as a foreign language, international relations, multilingual digital processing.

Literal Arabic courses:
Licence and Master LLCER - Middle East-Maghreb - literal Arabic (or dialectal)
Double degree Arabic - Hebrew
MOOC "Arabic language contact kit"

Career opportunities

Public service, teaching and diplomacy, international organizations and the voluntary sector, translation and interpreting, international trade, tourism, multilingual engineering, publishing, journalism and communication.