Wael Farouq, an Egyptian academic in Italy, says he has developed a method to help non-native speakers learn Arabic which includes using music.
He says the traditional curricula followed in most Italian universities have created a “false stereotype” that the Arabic language is hard to learn and impossible to master. But music and poetic prosody can help students from other cultures overcome difficulties in pronunciation and reading, he says.
Farouq has been a professor at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Milan, since 2013 and founded its Arabic Language Choir. He previously taught at the Arabic Language Institute at the American University in Cairo between 2001 and 2004.
“There is no major Italian university that does not provide its students, today, with the possibility of learning the Arabic language,” he told Al-Fanar Media.
But only a few universities in cities such as Milan, Naples, Rome and Venice have full departments of Arabic language and culture, he says, and few use modern scientific methods.