Projects Intro

rana and nada working on saifi cirriculum saifi project preparation

Since it was founded in 2008, Saifi has always been focused on linguistic research and curriculum development because of the lack of comprehensive, systematic, classroom-ready curriculums available on the market. The Urban Arabic curriculum is the result of this. It embodies ten-of-thousands of classroom hours, years' worth of student questions, and the most up-to-date linguistic research in Arabic. The most fundamental concepts (like "noun") and building blocks (like the shape of letters) have been rethought and analyzed with the Arabic learner in mind.

We have found that the most clear and simple explanation often comes through a complicated process of combining and dividing the assumptions that we have about the Arabic language.

  • For example, why are letters taught in the order "alif – baa – taa..."? We thought this was silly, especially since alif is one of the more difficult Arabic letters to understand (it is not itself a consonant, it is a long vowel and it provides the seat for the consonant "hamzeh").
  • Another example is the "active participle", which is the traditional term used for what in Arabic is called the إسم فعل. We decided to use its Arabic meaning "Agent-noun" because it is actually more accurate, and does away with the confusion created by calling it a "participle", which is a verb-adjective hybrid – it also makes use of the concept of "agent" ("فاعل"), the doer/actor contained within the conjugation of a word, which has an important distinction from "subject" ("مبتدا"), which is the topic of a sentence in Urban Arabic.

We have already published one Urban Arabic book, an experience that forced us to realize that we are truly charting unknown territory, and that this is likely going to a project that never ends. There will be mistakes and inconsistencies, and we apologize for the frustration that may cause, but language is a living thing and it can sometime be hard to handle so we ask for your forgiveness and for your feedback so that we can continue making Urban Arabic better.