Department of Applied Language Studies | Short Courses


Short Learning Programme (SLP)


About this course

Beginner Conversational Arabic will introduce you to a foreign language that opens doors to new communication, culture and opportunities.

The course serves an entry into Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and explores a language that is spoken by millions in Africa, the Middle East and in many global hubs.

Whilst the course adopts a second language acquisition approach to teaching and learning, you may use your study of Arabic to connect with local and international cultures, explore religious texts or other Arabic literature, or prepare for your next trip to a country where Arabic is spoken.

Irrespective of the intention to study Arabic, you will find that this course will offer insight and accommodate your personal goals for exploring this language.

Who should attend?

This course is ideal for anyone wishing to enter the world of Arabic - with absolutely no background in the language.


How will this course help you?

Speaking an additional language will broaden your general sense of communication and how you relate to others. Learning to speak Arabic will allow you to connect and interact with native speakers of the language, find your way in a country where Arabic is spoken, or discover and explore Arabic texts and literature.


What will you learn?


Learning Outcomes

A delegate of this course should be able to:

  • understand dialects, intonation and pronunciation variations;
  • recognise the five common interrogative particles;
  • identify core vocabulary used in specific daily contexts; 
  • understand  and apply nominalisation and gender in Arabic;
  • construct an adjectival phrase;
  • construct a simple nominal sentence;
  • use prepositions;
  • do greetings and introductions;
  • ask for travel assistance;
  • ask and answer basic questions; and,
  • describe ailments.


The following will be covered in this course:

  • Letters of the Arabic alphabet with associated sounds
  • Exploring vocabulary and model conversations for daily contexts
  • Nominalisation
  • Adjectival phrases
  • Nominal sentences
  • Prepositions
  • Interrogative particles


How will this course be taught?

Blended (face-to-face + limited online)

Primarily, this course will be taught using face-to-face instruction and self-paced learning (readings, tasks and activities, and online/home-based learning). You will be welcomed into a small group of delegates and taught by a qualified and experienced facilitator.

The face-to-face sessions will be interactive and the facilitator will engage with all delegates. Group numbers will be kept to a minimum to ensure increased delegate engagement during facilitation. The facilitator will utilise the face-to-face sessions to present the course content and interact with you by completing class-based activities and tasks that will apply your knowledge.

You will also be given access to our online learning platform so that you have access to course resources and be able to complete certain activities. 

Completely Online

The solely online option of this course will be taught via live (real-time) classes facilitated in virtual classrooms on the University's online learning platform.

Delegates completing this course via the solely online option will be required to attend the live class (or access the recording thereof) and engage as per the online delivery requirements.

The solely online option will require access to the internet, a computer, a headset microphone and available storage for learning material and resources.

For more information about studying a DALS Short Course online, CLICK HERE.

The primary language of teaching and learning (LOTL) of this course will be English (instruction), with occassional switching to Arabic for learning purposes.

All Arabic text in this specific course will be rendered in both Arabic script and transliterated text.

It is recommended that you also study Read and Write Arabic if you are unable to read and write in Arabic. The ability to read and write Arabic is a requirement for more advanced levels of conversational Arabic.


How will you be assessed?

Assessment will occur in the form of four written (transliterated or Arabic scripted) assignments, one listening and comprehension test and a short prepared speech at the end of the course. In the written assignments, delegates will be required to answer short questions, construct sentences and complete model conversations. The listening test will occur towards the end of the course where delegates will have to answer questions about the content and translate a short piece thereof to English. The short prepared speech will take place in the final week of the course and delegates will be required to deliver a concise self-introduction in Arabic. Delegates completing the course via the online mode option will be required to submit a video recording of them delivering the prepared speech.


Learning Support

Your learning will be supported by a qualified and experienced facilitator. A dedicated administrative assistant will be assigned to assist you with any administrative matters. A tutor will be assigned when group numbers are high and the facilitator requires assistance in supporting your learning.


How will this course be delivered?

This course can be offered in the following modes of delivery:


Mode A: Part-time

Duration: 8 weeks, part-time (1 weekday evening face-to-face session [17:30-19:30] weekly)

Requires 3 hours weekly: 2-hour face-to-face session* + 2 hours self-paced learning


Mode D: Online

Duration: 8 weeks, part-time (1 weekday evening live online session in a virtual classroom [18:00-19:00] weekly)

Requires 3 hours weekly: 1-hour live online session + 2 hours self-paced learning and practice


*Face-to-face sessions will be offered at one of the University Port Elizabeth campuses unless arranged otherwise and stated explicitly.

Kindly check the provisional schedule to see if this course will be offered soon and the applicable mode of delivery.  If this course is not included in the schedule, you are still encouraged to apply.


Course Fee and Payment Details

The course fee is based on the mode of delivery:

R3450* - Mode A - Part-time

*This is an estimate and is based on delivery at one of the Port Elizabeth campuses.

R2950  - Mode D - Online

You may pay for this course via the following methods:

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Payment at the University cashiers
  • Credit card payment (we will contact you to authorise the transaction)

Kindly wait for provisional acceptance and a reference number before paying for this course.


Admission Requirements

A delegate:

  1. has to be older than 16;
  2. has to be able to communicate in the language of teaching and learning (LOTL) of this course; and,
  3. should have completed a relevant level of education deemed suitable for entry into this course (usually a high school qualification).

No prior knowledge is required for entry into this course. The ability to read Arabic script is not a requirement for admission.


Course Completion Requirements

In order to complete this course successfully, delegates have to attend the face-to-face/online sessions, complete assigned activities, and complete and submit the final course assessments.



This course has been accredited by the Unit of Continuing Education of the University in accordance with the regulations of the Council of Higher Education (CHE), South Africa.

Upon meeting the requirements and successfully completing this course, you will be awarded a Certificate issued by Nelson Mandela University.

Delegates who complete their courses online or via distance learning (where applicable) will receive both a digital and hardcopy of their certificates.

A certificate of completion will be awarded to delegates who attended the course and completed the final assessment.

A certificate of attendance will be awarded to delegates who attended at least 70% of the total notional hours of the course but did not complete the final assessment.


Suggested study path

Should you wish to study more than one DALS short course, then we recommend that you complete the following:

  1. Beginner Conversational Arabic + Read & Write Arabic
  2. Intermediate Conversational Arabic (in development)
  3. Advanced Conversational Arabic (in development)


How to Apply

If you would like to apply, then simply check when this course might be scheduled for delivery and then click on the APPLY link.

If there is an upcoming scheduled offering and sufficient delegates have applied and been provisionally accepted, and your application is also successful, then you will receive a confirmation to pay and register for the course.

You will be required to pay the course fee within 5 business days of being provisionally accepted. 

The DALS SLP payment and cancellation policy applies.

You may also submit an enquiry with your expression of interest.  Should an opportunity arise, then you will be invited to apply.


Provisional Schedule

Kindly visit the SCHEDULE to see if this course will be offered soon.

If this course does not appear on the schedule, you are still encouraged to apply as it will be offered once the minimum number of delegates have been provisionally accepted and have confirmed their registration.

Applying and being provisionally accepted will reserve your space in one of our face-to-face groups.

Companies or organisations sending private groups (of at least 10 delegates in a single group) are not subjected to the provisional schedule. Special arrangements will be made for corporate registrations.

Other courses you might be interested in

You might be interested in the following courses:

  • Read and Write Arabic
  • Intermediate Conversational Arabic (in development)
  • Advanced Conversational Arabic (in development)

See all the DALS Short Courses here.