The Importance of Being Diglottic
Colloquial Arabic Teaching at Ca’ Foscari
Since the ’70s Ca’ Foscari teachers have been facing the challenge of diglossia that typifies the Arab world where the oral use of Standard Arabic is reserved to specific situations, while colloquial varieties of the same language are used for ordinary conversations. Thus, learning Colloquial Arabic is a paramount need to communicate with native Arabic speakers. Moreover, diglottic proficiency is necessary to access several contemporary cultural outputs of the Arab world. This article describes the features of Arabic diglossia and instructional approaches meant to cope with the phenomenon. It then offers a brief account of Colloquial Arabic teaching at Ca’ Foscari, which has been a European vanguard in the field.