Date of Graduation

Spring 2011

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Randy Dillon

Keywords

prejudice, U.S. American students, competence, motivation, Arabic

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

The goal of this study was to explore the linguistic and cultural challenges faced by U.S. American students who are studying the Arabic language. A specific goal was to examine the students' perceived changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards the Arab culture as a result of being in the Arabic language courses. Due to the misconceptions about the Arabs in the post 9-11 world, the researcher interviewed U.S. American students to find out if U.S. American society holds any prejudice towards the students of Arabic. A constant comparative analysis of the participants' answers allowed for the emergence of six themes: the linguistic challenges, the cultural challenges, the perceived changes in attitudes, the perceived changes in knowledge, the perceived changes in skills, and the willingness to learn the language and its culture. Intercultural communication competence theory was applied to gain a deeper understanding of the relationships among culture, language, and communication. Data indicated that not all U.S. American families and friends are against studying Arabic. Some families and friends encourage the students to study the Arabic language to be more aware of the Arab culture. Most of the students had positive attitudes before and after taking Arabic. The results confirmed that Arabic is seen as an essential language to learn for cultural understanding in the U.S. This study is a first step in a long-term research program discovering how both language and culture play an important role in minimizing misunderstandings between Arabs and the U.S. American people.

Copyright

© Moulay Abdelkarim Moukrime

Campus Only

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