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Arabic Listening Examples

Distinguished

Example 1: ash-sheikh SaaleH

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A religious sermon involving interpretation of some suras from the Qur'an

Language Variety: Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic

Delivery: Fast Speed

What makes this listening passage representative of Distinguished Level discourse?

  1. High level of abstraction: The language used in this sermon is highly abstract as it deals with religious concepts such as:
    ،أخبار الأولين كيفية تفسير الجمل الإنشائية والجمل الخبرية في آيات القرآن ، عذاب الآخرة، رضا الله وسخطه
  2. Length and density: This clip is long and dense in terms of the language and religious references it contains and thus requires more than one "listen" from a Distinguished level listener to achieve in-depth comprehension.
  3. Organization: The organization of the text represents a real "challenge" for a non-native listener, yet, it is typical of religious sermons in Arabic in which the speaker keeps citing Qur'anic Suras and prophetic Hadiths in support of the main idea. The "main" idea in the text is not easily accessible but needs to be "inferred" through the text.
  4. Highly specialized vocabulary: The text reflects very highly specialized vocabulary that is heard only in religious discourse and in Classical Arabic texts. While a Distinguished level speaker (or a highly educated Arabic native speaker for this matter) will not be able to understand all these words, s/he has the ability to guess their meaning from context.
  5. Rich cultural reference: The text displays richness in cultural (particularly religious) reference because of the large number of suras the speaker cites from the Qur'an. In order to understand (and learn), a listener needs to process the language within this Islamic framework.
  6. Structural complexity: The text displays high levels of structural complexity due to the frequent citation of Qur'anic suras (e.g.  لَيعذّبنّ) and also the use of heavily subordinated structures such as:
    فإذا اقتدوا بمن سلف وكان لهم حظ من عطايا الله،فاجتمع خير الأولين وخير الآخرين فيهم، فكانوا أكمل جيل  وأمثل رعيل رضوان الله تعالى عليهم
  7. Complex rhetorical structures: Because of its reliance on Classical and Qur'anic Arabic, the text displays a large number of rhetorical structures involving that involve parallelism and sajc as in:
فلا العطية منها دلالة رضا ولا الحرمة منها دلالة سخط
أخبار من سلف وأنباء من غدر
وشاهد ومشهود قُتل أصحاب الأخدود النار ذات الوقود إذ هم عليها قعود

What can a Superior Level listener get from the passage?

Because of the highly "specialized" content and vocabulary of this text, a Superior level listener with limited exposure to Qur'anic and Classical Arabic may have difficulty understanding the text. S/he will require multiple listens and will be able to understand the generic, non-specialized chunks of the text (e.g., the history of أصحاب الأخدود, the part that deals with the question of whether Adam was created before Eve, Paradise is the best blessing, all human beings have sins).

Example 2: Redefining the Quran Textuality and Intertextuality

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Academic lecture on redefining textuality and intertextuality in the Qur'an

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic

Delivery: Normal speed

What makes this listening passage representative of Distinguished Level discourse?

  1. High level of abstraction: The lecture deals with a highly abstract topic and introduces a number of abstract concepts such as the difference between "text" and "discourse", "intertextuality",
    "قطعيّ الثبوت", "ظنيّ الدلالة", "قصديّة المؤلف", "المُخاتلة الدلاليّة", etc.
  2. Length and density: The text is both long and dense and requires multiple "listens" from a Distinguished level listener to comprehend the main idea and supporting details.
  3. Highly specialized vocabulary: The text contains highly specialized and low frequency vocabulary related to Qur'an, textuality, and discourse analysis such as:
    التّناص - خداع دلالي - سيميولوجي - القارئ الضمني - منظومة - القطعية والظنّية - المؤوّل - اللاهوت -هدى - بيان
  4. Rich cultural reference: In order to understand the details of the text, the listener needs to know the cultural references made in the text: The listener needs to know who السيوطي is, needs to have good grasp of the concept of الاجتهاد, and needs to know the Qur'an suras that were mentioned in the text.

What can a Superior Level listener get from the passage?

A Superior level listener will likely be able to get some parts of the general idea of the text (e.g., the speaker presents a definition of "text" and "discourse", discusses the importance of context, and discusses narration in Qur'an in relation to the Old Testament. However, many of the supporting details will remain beyond her/his reach due to the high level of abstraction and specialization of the topic.

Example 3: Satire of Corruption

Rationale for Rating

Topic: The passage is from a satirical TV show. The passage is a satire of corruption in Iraq.

Language Variety: Mainly MSA with frequent interference of Iraqi dialect

Delivery: Normal speed

What makes this listening passage representative of Distinguished Level discourse?

The passage combines three folds of meaning that require a Distinguished Level ability to parse. The passage unfolds as follows:

  1. Reference to the arguments used by the governor of Najaf to reject the accusation of corruption.
  2. Use of sarcasm, paradoxical statements, incongruous metaphors, or comparisons to turn into ridicule each argument used by the governor. Examples:
على الرغم من أن الحكومة الديمقراطية الفدرالية المنتخبة سابقًا مقرها في بغداد فان ذلك لم يمنع ان محافظات النجف وذي قار ونينوى سلبت من العاصمة المراكز الأولى في الرشوة

لكن محافظ النجف بدلاً أن يشكر الهيئة على منحها النجف بطولة العالم في الرشوة باعتبار أن العراق هو حامل كأس الرشوة بين أمم الأرض

وقال المحافظ حفظه الله ورعاه

ومثل أي كابتن فريق كرة قدم فاشل

وهو يعني بلغة كرة القدم القاع عوجة وبلغة الطالب الراسب المعلم عداوة ويايا

وهو أمر يعني أن على الهيئة أن تستفتي مواطنين في الكونغرس الأمريكي أو في منظمة الوحدة الأفريقية أو متسلقي جبال الهملايا لكي يكون التقرير صحيحًا وموثقًا ومعتمدًا.

كل شيء مسيس فس العراق. حتى التلقيح ضد الجدري أو حتى استلام الجثث من قبل العدلي

حتى المقابر حتى المقابر لايتم دفن المرحوم فيها إلا بعد دفع رشاوى لعشرات الأشخاص بثواب المرحوم.

3. The presentation of implications about the extent of corruption, not only in Najaf Province, but throughout the Iraqi society, so the satire turns into sarcasm, and the denial into evidence of a wide-spread problem in the country. Two implications can be mentioned as examples: the reference to corruption in the sports community through the use of sports metaphors several times in the speech; the reference to corruption in the funeral services where the overwhelming toll of casualties provides opportunities for briberies.

4. Finally, as a conclusion, a cartoon is presented to mock the governor and to mock through him a widely used denial scheme used by Iraqi officials: blaming the charges of corruption on terrorists thus using the fight against terrorism to cover up corruption. Processing the implications of the cartoon is also part of Distinguished Level comprehension ability. The cartoon has two figurative components.

  • First, the octopus (reference to the World Cup and follow-up to the sports metaphor developed in the passage) discovers the winner in the competition of corruption.
    الأخطبوط هو اللي اكتشف أنه أكثر المحافظات فسادًا اتضح انه محافظة النجف
  • Second, the denunciation of the government's cover up of corruption by the association of the octopus with terrorism.
    أحد الموظفين يقلو للسيد المحافظ:" سيدي، لا تصدق. هذا الأخطبوط إرهابي

Superior vs Distinguished:

The passage provides an opportunity to distinguish Superior Level ability from that of Distinguished Level. The topic (corruption) and the fact that the text is a satire of corruption are accessible to Superior Level. But the rhetorical devices, the figures of speech, the register shift, the references and the implications of the passage may be beyond Superior Level ability.

Example 4: Function of Literature

Rationale for Rating

The passage illustrates the Distinguished Level descriptors for its high level of abstraction, the specialized language it uses, its rich cultural references, and its use of nuance and subtlety.

What makes this listening passage representative of Distinguished Level discourse?

The following is a summary of the intricate argument and the abstract concepts developed in the passage.

Both speakers, the anchorman and the writer interviewed, discuss the function of literature in reference to reality and to history.

  1. The more complex the reality experienced by the writer, the richer and more complex his work: deep suffering leads to deep writing.
  2. But literature does not simply reflect the complexity of reality; it re-creates it by reorganizing it as the verses recited by the anchorman show:
و أنني كنت ما يسترو لدونت صمتي فوق الهواء

وأقنعت ريح الخماسين أن ترفق بالصحراء

وأعدت صياغة هذه الأعاصير، بعثرت هذا السحاب قليلاً

لتعبر حزمة ضوء نوافذ سجن قديم وتلهو قليلاً مع السجناء

لو أنني كنت ما يسترو لوحدت أغنية الأنبياء

3. The reorganization of the reality produces a new reality that is the opposite of the historical one as the above verses indicate and the writer does also in his novels where he depicts a world for the Palestinians, thus giving them back the country they have lost.

كنت أحب أن أقدم فلسطين خالية تمامًا من اليهود قد تكون شخصية يهودية موجودة، لكن إذا وضعتها في داخل رواية هي تأخذ البعد الرمزي وبالتالي تأخذ بعد... شرعية الحضور في الحياة لأنها أخذتها في شرعية الحضور في الرواية

4. Literature bestows legitimacy to reality because it grants it recognition and confirmation, so the writer uses this privilege of writing in two ways: by legitimizing some (in this case, the Palestinians), and delegitimizing others (in this case the enemy of the Palestinians).

أنا كنت متقصد، متقصد ذلك، لا أريد أن تقرأ، يقرأ وجود أي شخصية يهودية في داخل العمل ... عنما ذهب إلى هناك كان ابن شهيد قتل على اليد الانجليز واليهود بين قوسين. وبالتالي ليس من المنطقي أن تلتقي هذه الشخصية بشخصيات يهودية، لأنه أصلاً المسألة في تلك الفترة قائمة على الصراع وليست قائمة على اللقاء

5. Literature is therefore not neutral. For the writer interviewed, it has to use its power to side with justice and to prevent the unfair reality from prevailing for good. Failing to do so is betraying its mission and even negating itself:

إذا تخلت الكتابة عن سؤال العدالة، أنا بعتقد ستتخلى عن نفسها. هناك قضية عادلة للشعب الفلسطيني، هناك وطن أخذ وللفلسطيني الحق في هذا الوطن كاملاً. الأساسي في الحكاية الفلسطينية أن الفلسطيني خسر وطنه. هناك الآن مسألة أكبر في اعتقادي هي ألا يخسر نفسه. إذا خسر نفسه فأنا اعتقد انه سيخسر وطنه إلى الأبد. ولذلك أنا متشبث في فكرة المقارعة… والعدالة بكل أشكالها

What can a Superior Level listener get from the passage?

Some peripheral details about the biography of the writer and from the novel mentioned in the passage, but the core of the argument requires comprehension ability above that of the Superior Level.

Example 5: Poetry: Hymn to the Rain

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A recitation of the "Rain Song", a poem by the Iraqi poet Badr Shair As-Syyaab (1926-1964)

Language Variety: Classical Arabic

Delivery: Recitation

What makes this listening passage representative of Distinguished Level discourse?

  1. High level of abstraction: The language used in this poem is highly abstract in the sense that it contains symbolic expressions related to topics including love and homeland.
  2. Length and density: This clip is long and dense in terms of the language, symbols, and cultural references.
  3. Highly specialized vocabulary: The poem contains many less commonly used words and many words are used in the meanings that are not commonly found in expository texts, like السحر : قبل الصبح، شفيف : شديد. While a Distinguished level speaker or highly educated Arabic native speaker may not immediately comprehend some lexical items, these words will not affect his/her ability to understand the overall meaning and appreciate/enjoy the poem.
  4. Rich cultural reference: The text displays rich cultural references specific to Iraq in terms of natural environment and political situation at the time when the poem was written (early sixties). A Distinguished level listener locates these references within the appropriate cultural framework in order to both comprehend and appreciate the images presented in the poem.
  5. Structural complexity: Uncommon and complex structures specific to the genre of free verse poetry
  6. Genre: Free Verse Poetry. To achieve in-depth comprehension and appreciation of the poem and the style of recitation, the listener needs to be familiar with Arabic poetry. This poem is considered to be one of the first poems in free verse in Arabic literature. To appreciate its content and organization, the listener needs to be acquainted both with old and contemporary poetry.

What can a Superior Level listener get from the passage?

Because of the highly symbolic nature of this poem, its rich cultural references, and a specific way of recitation, a Superior level listener with limited exposure to Arabic poetry will not be able to understand the poem as a whole, and may only understand some isolated words and phrases.


Superior

Example 1: US and Iran Nuclear Issue

Rationale for Rating

Topic: The US and the Iranian nuclear program

Length: 2:30

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic

Delivery: Normal speed

Text Type: Audio of a televised interview

What makes this listening passage representative of Superior Level discourse?

  1. High level of abstraction: The passage is an interview with an expert on Iranian politics in the wake of a conciliatory message from the American president to the Iranians. After commenting on the message, the interviewee analyzes the points of agreement between Iran and the US and the points of disagreement. He finally gives his own assessment of the future of the relationship between the two countries. A Superior Level listener has to be able to distinguish the points made in the analysis from those made in the assessment. In other words, the passage presents two supported opinion performances that the listener needs to process one after the other, separated by the connector and the phrase: لكن أنا قناعتي أن
  2. Speech at the Superior Level uses precise, often specialized vocabulary: The interview being about the Iranian nuclear program comprises specialized language about nuclear enrichment to illustrate how both sides differ over the issue. Understanding the process of enrichment is crucial to understanding the conflict at hand:
الولايات المتحدة ترى أن استخدام إيران للبرنامج السلمي النووي يعني ما في إشكالية فيه، الإشكالية تكمن في أنه يجب ألا تقوم إيران بعمل دورة كاملة للتخصيب، لأنه الدورة الكاملة للتخصيب سوف تمكن إيران من المضي قدمًا في عسكرة هذا البرنامج وتحويله إلى برنامج عسكري وتسليحي

3. Rich cultural reference: This passage illustrates the extent to which Superior level passages may be loaded with cultural references. There are references to internal American politics and to the Iranian internal politics. The interviewee assumes that the listener is able to understand both sets of references. In addition, the interviewee refers to the historical relationship between the U.S. and Iran to support his idea about the potential for agreement between the two.

4. The Superior level listener can follow linguistically complex extended discourse: The complexity of this passage lies in the final twist in the interviewee's argument: the call for dialogue can only serve the interest of Iran because it enables it to buy the time needed to achieve its nuclear ambitions. The interviewee seems to argue for dialogue during most of the interview to conclude that the dialogue is counterproductive. After a long analysis of the potential for dialogue between Iran and the US, the interviewee changes suddenly course and contends:

لكن أنا قناعتي أن هناك تباين كبير ما بين مطالب الإدارة الأمريكية في التنازلات الإيرانية وقدرة إيران على التنازل لأن الجناح المتشدد في إيران يرى أن من مصلحته التسويف، استخدام خط أطول في المفاوضات والنقاش حتى يصل إلى مرحلة أفضل بالنسبة له فيما يتعلق ببرنامج التخصيب حتى تكون أمر واقع

5. Superior listeners can understand not only what is said, but sometimes what is left unsaid, such as inferences: An example of "the unsaid" that a Superior Level listener can draw from the interviewee's discourse is the need for the US to use means other than dialogue to deal effectively with Iran's ambitions (for instance, force) and the military nature of Iran's ambitions (contrary to its claims, its objective is to develop nuclear weapons).

What can an Advanced Level listener get from the passage?

The Advanced Level listener is likely to identify the reference to Obama, his call for dialogue with the Iranians and his presidential campaign's promises. The Advanced Level listener is also able to understand that the passage is about the Iranian nuclear program. Most of the historical and cultural references are beyond the Advanced Level listening abilities. The twist in the interviewee's argument and its implications are also beyond the Advanced Level.

Example 2: Security and Development

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Security and development

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic

Length: 1:03

Delivery: Normal speed

Text Type: Audio of a TV interview with an Egyptian analyst

What makes this listening passage representative of Superior Level discourse?

  1. High level of abstraction: The passage is an interview about an abstract topic, which is the relationship between security and development. The speech is a supported opinion without reference to a particular current event. The basic argument a Superior Level listener is expected to draw from the interview is the idea that the excessive security concerns of Arab societies hinder their economic development.
  2. At this level, listeners can follow linguistically complex extended discourse: The interviewee develops a coherent and complete extended discourse to answer the initial question of the reporter about what hinders the development of Arab societies. From the onset, the interviewee states his opinion about security being an obstacle to development, then presents a series of points to support his opinion, and concludes by discussing the concept of security itself.
  3. Rich cultural reference: The interviewee makes reference to two sets of examples that the listener is supposed to recall and understand how they support the central argument: reference to history about how other nations have developed independently from security, and reference to the present situation of Arab societies where "security", or police-based concept of society, prevails. The interviewee does not give details, assuming that the listener is able understand both sets of references.
  4. Superior listeners can make inferences: The interviewee concludes his speech by using an implication that a Superior Level is expected to understand: the interviewee contends implicitly that the Arabs' focus on security defeats its own purpose in the sense that without development there is no real security. Non-developed societies are vulnerable societies. So development is a prerequisite to security. This is an example of a reading-between-the lines meaning.

What can an Advanced Level listener get from the passage?

Since no facts are mentioned, an Advanced Level listener will likely only understand lexical items such as:

أمني-الأمن- الصراع في المنطقة-الخوف-عناصر القوة-السوق المحلّي

The Advanced Level listener is not expected to understand the main argument or the supporting references or the final implication.

Example 3: In vitro fertilization

Rationale for Rating

Topic: In vitro fertilization to prevent a genetic form of cancer

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic

Length: 2:31

Delivery: Normal speed

Text Type: Audio from a televised debate

What makes this listening passage representative of Superior Level discourse?

  1. Speech in a standard dialect on a wide range of familiar subjects and others that may be unfamiliar but not entirely unknown. This debate in standard Lebanese is an illustration of speech about unfamiliar topics, meaning topics not from the immediate areas of interest of the listener. In this case, the topics are cloning and in vitro fertilization.
     
  2. Speech at the Superior Level uses precise often specialized vocabulary. Because of its topics, the speech of the debate is full of specialized vocabulary.
الاستنساخ، خلية ممكن تنتج جنين، تخصيب بويضة، أنا عم شوف شو عم يُستعمل لنصال لها النتيجة، هالأجنة تبين إنه بيحملو إمكانية إنه ينصابو بالمستقبل بسرطان الثدي إمكانية مش أكيد، حتى لو استأصلنا الأمور الوراثية، يمكن اليوم أنا عم بلش حضّر
لمرض وراثي بكرة ببين بعد مية سنة بعيلتي، استعملت كلمة بريّح وبريّح الأشخاص مش مسألة ترييح الأشخاص، اذا بتقلي أنا بشيل اليوم مرض وراثي، العمل الأخلاقي هو كل شي النية والآلية والنتائج المباشرة والبعيدة

3. Listeners at this level can follow linguistically complex extended discourse such as that founding in academic and professional settings, in lectures, speeches and reports. The passage unfolds in the form of a debate between professionals, structured around arguments (in this case, the scientific approach to human cells and how it is evolving in the sense that any cell can now produce an embryo) and counter-arguments (in this case, the moral requirement to treat all cells as human entities and to preserve them as such, even potentially deficient cells). The listener has to be able to associate each argument with its counter-argument and understand how they relate to each other. For instance, bringing relief to specific individuals (the physicians' approach) VS undermining the moral values of humanity (the priest approach).

4. Superior Level speech may contain idioms, colloquialisms, and multiple registers. The passage provides a good illustration of the intervention of colloquialisms in the Superior level speech and the blending of registers, here in the form of Lebanese dialect mixed with MSA to the point that it becomes impossible to disentangle them from each other. The following is an example of this mixing and the use of colloquialisms:

لذلك لازم نتطور مع العلم، لازم نتأقلم مع العلم، الواحد لازم يكون مفتوح للعلم ويغير فكرة يلي كان عنا ياها مثلاً من العشرينات وبالتلاتينات، لازم نتقدم مثل ما عم يتقدم العلم، ما في العلم يتقدم ونحنا بعدنا قاعدين ورا. استعملت كلمة بريّح وبريّح الأشخاص، ما فينا كمان... مش مسألة ترييح الأشخاص، في مسألة اليوم بتخص الإنسانية اذا بتقلي أنا بشيل اليوم مرض وراثي، أنا بقلك أنا ضده؟!

5. At this level, the speech uses complex grammatical structures. The challenge presented by the grammatical structures of the speech of both speakers lies in the fact that many sentences remain incomplete because the speakers move abruptly from one idea to another thus letting the listener make the connections or filling in the blanks. For instance:

الواحد لازم يكون مفتوح للعلم ويوخد ويوخد ...ويغير فكرة يلي كان عنا ياها حتى لو استأصلنا الأمور الوراثية…هالأمور الوراثية كيف إجت أصلاً هل يا ترى أنا اليوم باستئصال الأمور الوراثية، هل يا ترى... استعملت كلمة بريّح
What can a Advanced Level listener get from the passage?

An Advanced Level listener would find it very difficult to follow the arguments used by both speakers and how they relate to each other. This listener may be able to catch some sporadic lexical items such as:

العلم يتقدم- مرض وراثي- الأمور الوراثية- سرطان الثدي- الإنسانية- النية –النتيجة

The issues discussed by the speakers and the language they use are both beyond the ability of the Advanced Level listener, and outside the realm of Advanced Level proficiency.

Example 4: Egyptian Housing Rights

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Action of the Egyptian Center for Housing Rights in helping Egyptian citizens deal with housing problems

Language Variety: Egyptian Arabic

Length: 3:09

Delivery: Normal speed

Text Type: Investigative report on an Arab TV channel

What makes this listening passage representative of Superior Level discourse?

  1. Content of the passage: The report deals with a concrete issue, housing, at an abstract level. It discusses the problem from two perspectives requiring Superior Level comprehension ability: a legal perspective and a political perspective. On the one hand, the report discusses whether housing is a basic right of people (an entitlement); on the other hand, it discusses the impact of government policies on people's housing situation.
     
  2. Linguistically complex extended discourse:The passage is an example of a complex extended discourse unfolding as a series of notions and supporting details. The first notion is the right of people to proper compensations if their homes are taken away or demolished. The second notion is the relationship between housing situation and violent behavior of people. The third notion is the disparity in government policies between support to the private sector and lack of support to people's housing needs. The fourth notion is the definition of the role of government with regard to its citizens, whether it is to control or sanction them, or to serve them.
     
  3. Organization: The passage is organized in four parts, each part about one of the above notions. The main speaker, the manager of the Center, intervenes in each part of the report thus tying them up together, while other speakers may intervene in one of the parts.
     
  4. Understanding of more complex structures: The report presents a series of complex sentences with connectors and embedded clauses. The following is an example of a complex sentence that expands in 8 consecutive and connected phases (each phrase may compound two or more clauses connected by و or أو ) to express one idea, which is why the Center was established:
لما كان في إخلاءات قصرية كتير وهدم للمنازل (1) بسب وجود خطط حكومية تنماوية (2) كان في كتير منازل بتهدم والمواطنين ما بيخدوش أي تعويضات أو سكن مناسب (3) فدا أثارني جدًا وخلاني أفكر (4): هل في في القانون الدولي شيء ممكن يدافع عن حقوق هؤلاء المواطنين ولا لأ؟ (5) وبالفعل تم وضع استراتيجية ورؤيا لكيفية إنشاء مركز يدافع عن حقوق السكن في مصر (6) ويللي كان في صعوبة شديدة جدًا أنه حتى مؤسسات حقوق الإنسان تتقبل الفكرة (7) لأنه دايمًا كان الشغل على الحقوق السياسية والمدنية وليس الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية (8).

5. This speech typically deals with abstract topics: Abstract language related to legal and political topics abounds in the passage. For instance:

إخلاءات قصربة، خطط حكومية تنماوية، طبقًا للقانون المصري القضايا خاصة قضايا السكن بتعد بالخمس سنوات والست سنوات في المحكمة وفي النهاية المتضرر هو المواطن، علاقة نوع السكن بالعنف الاجتماعي، هل نوعية السكن بتؤدي لنوعية من العنف الاجتماعي مختلفة لو المكان مكان ما فوش مشكلات إسكان؟ السياسة العامة للدولة، حق الانتفاع، لا يصح إنه الحكومة تبقى هي المالكة لأراضي الدولة، في إشكالية كبير بتقابلني، بالأساس مش عارف إنه لي حق، هويعتقد لأنه باني على أرض الدولة هو مجرم هو مش مجرم، من هي الدولة؟ الدولة ليست الحكومة

6. Rich in cultural references: Cultural references to the situation in Egypt with regard to housing and development policies are essential parts of the points made by the speakers. For instance:

خطط حكومية تنماوية، مؤسسات حقوق الإنسان، القانون المصري، بدرومات، بلوكات حكومية سكنية، إخلاء إداري، حالات إنسانية، مطلقات مثلاً، الخصخصة، إعادة الهيكلة، بتوجه الدولة اللي صرفت مليارات على الساحل الشمالي وامتنعت عن البناء لإسكان الفئات الفقيرة، حتى بالأسعار اللي بتديها للمستثمرين

7. Using colloquialisms and shifting registers are two common features of the Superior Level Arabic speech: The passage uses formal Egyptian where dialect is tightly blended with MSA as indicated in the above examples of abstract language and cultural references. But sometimes segments of informal language appear, bringing into the passage colloquialism and register shifts that require Superior Level comprehension ability. An example is the statement made by an Egyptian citizen about his plight over housing:

بتقولولي ما فيش وبعد سنة بتقولولي ما فيش طب إدوني التأشيرة دي أخبط علوزير لأنه مش إله دا موظف. أخبط عليه ما يرديش يفتحلي وياخد مني الورقة أروح لمجلس الوزرا، أروح لأي حد، أقلو تعال شوف، عايني عالطبيعة أنا نايم في الشارع وعيالي نايمين عند حماتي.

What can a Advanced Level listener get from the passage?

An Advanced Level listener can have access to the facts without understanding the points the speakers are trying to make. He/she is able to understand that the report deals with housing problems in Egypt and that some homes are being demolished by the government thus leaving people without appropriate housing.

What an Advanced Level listener may not get are the two main arguments of the passage: the legal argument about people's rights and the political argument about government policies disregarding people's needs and favoring private investors. The particular economic situation in Egyptian and the relationship between citizens and government may also be beyond the realm of Advanced Level listener.

The complexity of the structures is also beyond Advanced Level ability.

Example 5: Hijaab in Saudi Arabia

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A new stance of a Saudi religious figure about the hijaab issue

Language Variety: A mixture of Modern Standard Arabic, Levantine and Saudi Arabic

Length: 1:50

Delivery: Normal speed, with moments of accelerated speech

Text Type: Interview on an Arab TV channel

What makes this listening passage representative of Superior Level discourse?

  1. Content: The passage is from a TV interview with a Saudi commentator about statements made by a well-known Saudi religious figure regarding the hijaab issue. The passage entails two major challenges that clearly require Superior Level listening ability: on the one hand, the passage is an interview about another interview, so the main speaker presents the argument of another main speaker (Sheikh Al-Ghamdy) while expressing also his own point of view thus requiring the listener to process at once two intertwining discourses; on the other hand, the passage deals with a highly abstract topic, which is the controversy over the hijaab that Muslim women are supposed to wear, and in general with wide-spread misconceptions about Islam.
     
  2. Organization: The organization of the passage is not straightforward. The passage is organized as a question and an answer to the question. But the answer extends beyond the initial question to include the opinion of the interviewee about Al-Ghamdi new stance, and to add a long segment about other Islamic "truths" that are misrepresented or unrecognized.
     
  3. This speech typically deals with abstract topics: The most prevalent Superior Level feature of the passage is its overload of abstract language. For instance:
تحدث على انه الاختلاط وانه الحجاب أيضًا مفاهيم خاطئة تكرست عند الناس بحكم العادة وبحكم التحذيرات المتواجدة دائمًا لدى الناس، بينما الشيخ رمزي سرد عدة أدلة صحيحة وعدة أدلة موثقة انه الحجاب لا يجب إلا على أمهات المؤمنين عليهم السلام هناك حقائق أخرى مغيبة بالمجتمع بحكم العادة أو بحكم الأخذ عليها أحيانًا سلطة معينة تحكم عليك بأن تكون بهذا الوضع فيعتادها الناس فلما يأتي قضية التغيير دائمًا يكون هناك ردة فعل سلبية حيال الموضوع هذا وتكون هناك دائمًا ردود أفعال غير متوقعة

4. Understanding of more complex structures: The complexity of the interviewee's sentences stems from the fact that they intertwine and overlap several times, each time repeating a word or a phrase from a previous clause and adding a new clause or phrase with or without indicating how they connect together, as in the following examples:

تحدث على انه الاختلاط وانه الحجاب أيضًا مفاهيم خاطئة تكرست عند الناس بحكم العادة وبحكم التحذيرات المتواجدة دائمًا لدى الناس، هناك تكرس مفهموم انه والله الاختلاط محرّم وانه الحجاب فرض لازم السيدة تعمل به الحقيقة هذه الغائبة تفتح باب كبير جدًا إنه هناك حقائق كثيرة مغيبة في المجتمع بحكم العادة أو بحكم الأخذعليها فلما يأتي قضية التغيير دائمًا يكون هناك ردة فعل سلبية حيال الموضوع هذا وتكون هناك دائمًا ردود أفعال غير متوقعة ما في ليبريالية وغيرها من محاسن الإسلام فهو في الإسلام على أكمل وجه وإن جهله البعض أو كان سببًا في خفاء حسنه

5. Rich in cultural references: Cultural references in connection with the topic discussed (the Hijab) are embedded in the interviewee's discourse from beginning to end. For instance, references to the position held by Sheikh Al-Ghamdi in the Saudi religious community, to the gender separation and the veil of women in effect in Saudi Arabia, to the reasons behind people's belief that the gender separation and the veil are Muslim obligations, to the evidence Al-Ghamdi presented to prove otherwise, to other misconceptions about Islam that Al-Ghamdi exposes contending for instance that liberalism is compatible with Islam. All these issues are referred to in the passage without explicit explanation, assuming that the listener should know what they mean.

6. Superior listeners can understand not only what is said, but sometimes what is left unsaid, such as inferences. The interviewee's discourse is rich in implications. For instance, the implication that political power not religion imposes on people to behave a certain way in the name of religion, so authorities either are ignorant of what religion really is, or purposely use religion to mislead people. Also the implication that religion is used to discredit certain notions of modern life (for instance freedom) while these notions are in sync with religion.

What can an Advanced Level listener get from the passage?

An Advanced High listener may understand what the topic is (the hijab) and the fact that there is controversy around it, but probably would not get the primary argument of Sheikh Al-Ghamdi or the comments made by the interviewee. Delivery of the text (speed and pronunciation) might be challenging also.


Advanced

Example 1: Amazigh Music

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Amazigh music and culture

Length: 1:46

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: Mainly generic vocabulary and expressions related music and culture

(-الغناء، الصوت، الموسيقى، الغناء، الرقص)
and to descriptive functions:
بيتميز – يتقاسمون - أبرز ما يميز - جزء لا يتجزأ - يتمازج

Structural complexity: Simple structures, sentences starting with فيه and هناك, connectors used are mainly أما, و, and لكن. There are no complex embedded sentences.

Language Variety: Contains segments of both MSA (written text read aloud, inflected), and Syrian Arabic.

General organization: Clear and predictable. In the introduction, the main idea is presented (description of a hotel – an example of old houses being turned into hotels). In the rest of the text, each new idea is followed by an example of elaboration.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy Advanced High: Will fully understand the text. May not comprehend the names of different Amazigh people and languages (Tarifit, Tamazight, etc.) unless familiar with them.

Advanced Mid: Will understand the main idea and most supporting details. May not comprehend some names, and less commonly used words such as البساط, etc.

Advanced Low: Will fully understand the first part of the text related to music, and may not understand all the details of the text related to the recognition of the Amazigh people and their integration in the country.

What can a Intermediate-High Level listener get from the passage? Intermediate-High recognizes that there are three types of Amazigh music related to geographic regions and particular musical styles. Recognizes some of the topics of Amazigh music. Understands that the language is taught in Morocco. Unlikely to understand the final portion of the text related to the integration of Amazigh peoples.

Example 2: Damascus Hotel

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A travelogue description of a hotel in Damascus

Length: 1:45

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: Generally common and generic vocabulary. Some less-commonly used words and expressions as well as some abstract concepts and idioms, for example:

فسحة سماوية - وافق على ما يبدو هوى السائح – تناغم – على شاكلته تعمل...- إعادة التأهيل


Structural complexity: Sentences are of medium length and they are connected mainly with و, there are not many embedded sentences, no compound connectors (like بالرغم من... إلا إن and the like), compound tenses – one example: كان عم بيعيش

The discourse: Mostly straightforward and concrete

Language Variety: The host speaks Lebanese dialect, and the guest speaks MSA influenced by Moroccan dialect in pronunciation.

General organization: Question & answer

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Advanced High: Will understand the main idea and most supporting details of the text as a whole. Advanced high will have the knowledge of the high-level vocabulary in the text (examples mentioned above), and also some cultural knowledge necessary to understand the last part of the text focusing on the "texture of the society", and why the hotels are becoming an issue some people have a problem with.

Advanced Mid: Will understand the main idea (old houses are being turned into hotels and restaurants, tourists love it, and some Syrians don't) and some supporting details related to the facts mentioned (e.g. how much it cost, what are the goals of the investors.)

Advanced Low: Will understand the main idea and a few supporting ideas from the text and visual cues.

What can an Intermediate High Level listener get from the passage? The Intermediate High listener is likely to understand that the segment is describing a hotel in Damascus but may not understand the purpose of the text. S/he is likely to comprehend isolated lexical items but unlikely to comprehend details of the content.

Example 3: Qatayyif in Ramadan

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Popular sweets eaten during Ramadan

Length: 2:35

Delivery: Normal SpeedLexical complexity: Main ideas are expressed largely using high frequency vocabulary related to food and its preparation, traditions, and economic situation:

حلويات - أكلة شعبية – تناول الفطور – تذوق – طعم - أشكال و أنواع – عادات وتقاليد- وضع اقتصادي سيء - متوسط الدخل - الغني والفقير – سعر رخيص – طريقة إعداد – مهارة - إتقان

There is also some vocabulary that may not be accessible to the Advanced Low listener, like:

يطل على – إقبال على - يستغنى عن – شرائح المجتمع – يخلو من – يقبعون – تلبية متطلبات لمة الحبايب –

Structural complexity: some relatively complex structures that are appropriate for the Advanced level like:

أكثر شعبية – من قبل

The discourse: Straightforward and predictable, and the accompanying video supports the text. Also, there are a lot of redundancies; most of the ideas are expressed more than once.

Language Variety: Contains segments of both Modern Standard Arabic and Palestinian Arabic.

General organization: Predictable format of a news report: each paragraph where the reporter expresses an idea is followed by an example, a statement by an interviewee that illustrates what he said.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Advanced High:

Will fully understand main ideas and supporting details.

Advanced Mid:

Will understand the main ideas and most supporting details.

Advanced Low:

Can fully understand the main ideas of the text, and is likely not to get most of the details. However, the video support and redundancies in the text will facilitate the general comprehension.

What can an Intermediate High Level listener get from the passage?

The Intermediate High listener understands the main topic (a popular Ramadan pastry in Palestine), with significant reliance on the video support and redundancies in the text. Likely to recognize known vocabulary in the text but unlikely to comprehend beyond the word-level.

Example 4: Obama Visits Egypt

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A conversation about Obama's visit to the pyramids

Length: 3:23

Delivery: Normal speed, typical for a relaxed conversation focusing on story-telling.

Lexical complexity: Mainly commonly used vocabulary, and some less commonly used words that are either not crucial for the meaning, or explained in the text, e.g.

اسطنبة – صورة نمطية – الناس طول عمرها فاكرة

Structural complexity: Sentences of short to medium length, connected with و, and ف.

The discourse: Mostly straightforward, concrete, and descriptive – describing people and events. At times it is a bit choppy, as is typical for spontaneous speech, and that may make the text more difficult to understand at times (e.g. Hawwas describes Obama, then jumps to talk about a dinner in San Francisco). Also, one example where text may be a bit strange is where Hawas in modesty describes himself as:
عبارة عن حاجة مصرية دارسة الهرم وتشرحه


One feature of the discourse that makes it more accessible to all advanced levels is a number of redundancies and repetitions.

Language Variety: Egyptian Arabic

General organization: Question & answer. It is generally predictable, even though some answers are not completely to the point, for example:
منى الشاذلي: أيه أكثر الأسئلة اللي هو سألها ...زاهي حواس: هو كان حاسس بعظمة الهرم

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Advanced High:

Likely to understand the main idea and most supporting details of the stories, and appreciate the humor in the last anecdote.

Advanced Mid:

Likely to understand the main story- Obama's visit to the pyramids, his desire to ride a camel, why Hawas didn't want him to do that, and may not understand some of the details, like: اسطنبة، متغاظ, متهور

Advanced Low:

Will understand the main idea and some supporting stories. May not get the sequencing of events when Hawwas talks about the dinner with his friends in San Francisco (after وأنا على فكرة) and some comments by the host like ما حبيتش تثبت الصورة النمطية , expressions like صدفة بحتة, etc.

What can an Intermediate High Level listener get from the passage?

The Intermediate High listener understands the main topic (Obama visits Egypt) and some details of the visit and some of the questions of the interviewer. Significant repetition required for comprehension. Familiarity with Egyptian Arabic will facilitate comprehension. 

Example 5: Tooth Brushing

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Teaching Children to Brush Their Teeth

Length: 2:02

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: Generic vocabulary related to teaching children good dental hygiene:

شيتة اسنان ، ينظفوا الاسنان، الطبيب ، نحن الكبار الوالد والوالدة ننظفو اسناننا الغرد يقلدونا

Structural complexity: Some complex sentence structures related to giving instructions; clear structure connecting the speaker's separate recommendations

The discourse: Mostly straightforward and concrete

Language Variety: Moroccan Arabic

General organization: One speaker providing a series of facts and recommendations. Significant extralinguistic cues.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Advanced High:

Comprehends the main idea and most supporting details (children imitate their parents and therefore we should teach them good dental hygiene habits, parents should select the hardness of their children toothbrushes with the aid of a doctor, involve children in the selection of their toothbrush to instill in them a sense of responsibility).

Advanced Mid:

Comprehends the main idea (advice to parents on children's tooth brushing) and many of the speaker's recommendations (let children select the color of their toothbrush, the importance of changing the toothbrush every 3 months, electric toothbrushes are not recommended for children).

Advanced Low:

Comprehends the topic of the text (tooth brushing) and a few details (choosing the color of the brush, the need to teach children brushing habits). May have incomplete comprehension of the purpose of the text (to instruct parents in teaching their children good dental hygiene).

What can an Intermediate High Level listener get from the passage?

The Intermediate High listener is likely to recognize the topic of the text (tooth brushing in children) with incomplete comprehension of the purpose of the text. Will likely comprehend that children need to brush their teeth daily, and that toothbrushes should be purchased every 3 months. Will comprehend cognates including ميكروبات باكتيريا ماكينة, without understanding further details. 


Intermediate

Example 1: Where is your family?

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Short conversation about family members

Length: 0:17

Delivery: Normal speed; typical of what is found in soap operas. Speakers pause frequently.

Function: Asking and responding to questions about personal life

Lexical complexity: Clip contains basic vocabulary related to the intermediate level but it also contains a few vocabulary items beyond reach of intermediate listeners.

بيتميز – يتقاسمون - أبرز ما يميز - جزء لا يتجزأ - يتمازج

Structural complexity: Text consists of short, basic questions and sentences.

.انت لحالك هون بالبيت ؟ - عندي ولدين وبنت متجوزين - كل واحد ساكن ببيت لحاله - ولادك ما بيزوروك؟ - كل شهر مرة

The sentences in the text are connected by means of some discourse fillers such as طبعاً and the connector و.

Language Variety: Syrian Arabic

General organization: Conversational question/answer between two speakers; two main topics (family makeup & family visits). Minimal extralinguistic support.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

*Exposure to Syrian Arabic will facilitate comprehension of details at all levels.

Intermediate High:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning and all details after one or two listens (no one else lives in the house, the children are married, each one lives in a separate house, the kids visit their dad once a month) and the questions of the younger man.

Intermediate Mid:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning and more details after one or two listens (the old man has 2 sons and a daughter, the kids visit their dad once a month). May comprehend some questions asked by the younger man.

Intermediate Low:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning of the conversation after one or two listens (i.e. a man talking about his family and where they live). Unlikely to comprehend the questions asked by the younger man.

What can a Novice High Level listener get from the passage?

The Novice High listener may comprehend that the old man is talking about his children. Unlikely to understand the details provided by the old man or the questions asked by the younger man due to delivery and/or linguistic content of text.

Example 2: Introducing Dr Wadad Kadi

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Introduction of a guest lecturer

Length: 1:15

Delivery: Normal speed

Function: Getting basic personal and professional information

Lexical complexity: Passage includes a large number of basic vocabulary items accessible to Intermediate level listeners:

حصلت على- ماجستير وبكالوريوس- الأدب العربي - الدراسات الاسلامية - انتقلت الى- قسم اللغة العربية- كتب

It also contains a few phrases that are beyond the reach of Intermediate level listeners but that will not impede global comprehension (e.g. تلقت تعليمها )

Structural complexity: Text consists of simple sentences that are connected using basic connectors
(
و- ثم- بعد ذلك-)

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic, partially inflected

General organization: Text displays clear organization and chronological order.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Because of its "predictable" content and basic vocabulary. listeners at all Intermediate sublevels should find this text very accessible.

Intermediate High:

Likely to comprehend the general meaning and most details in the text after one or two listens. Able to reproduce the chronological order of the guests' academic and professional activities.

Intermediate Mid:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning with additional details (likely to get some of the years mentioned in the text).

Intermediate Low:

Likely to get the general topic and a few details after one or two listens (she was born in Beirut-studied at AUC-specialist in Arabic- taught at Harvard and Columbia-teaches now at Chicago).

What can a Novice High Level listener get from the passage?

The Novice High listener is likely to comprehend the general topic (an introduction to a professor) and many isolated words, including cognates and English place names (e.g. Beirut, bachelor's and master's degree, Columbia University, Harvard University, Arabic, Islam). Unlikely to understand further details...

Example 3: Iraq (encyclopedia entry)

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Encyclopedic description of Iraq

Length: 0:39

Delivery: Normal speed; no pauses; text is read

Function: Getting basic information from an audio encyclopedic entry

Lexical complexity: Primary focus on basic academic/geographic vocabulary items and numbers that are accessible to intermediate level listeners:

عاصمة - اللغة العربية - الكردية - للرجال والنساء - الإسلام - شرق- غرب- شمال-جنوب- مسلمون - مسيحيون
also contains a couple of cognates:
الغاز - الفوسفات

Structural complexity: Text consists of short descriptive sentences. Sentences are unconnected.

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic

General organization: Clear organization; content could be re-organized without loss of meaning. Some extralinguistic context provided by visual of a map.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Because of its "predictable" content and basic vocabulary. listeners at all Intermediate sublevels should find this text very accessible.

Intermediate High:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning and most details in the text after one or two listens. Likely to guess the meaning of some words (e.g., أهم، نفط مساحة، ) using contextual clues.

Intermediate Mid:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning with more details after 2-3 listens:(location and size of Iraq, population figures, religious distribution within population, etc).

Intermediate Low:

Likely to comprehend that the text provides some information about Iraq. Likely to comprehend some details, relying in part on real world knowledge (e.g. Arabic and Kurdish are spoken in Iraq, Iraq has Muslims, oil natural gas is found in Iraq). Comprehension may be limited by the speed of delivery, which makes multiple listens necessary at this level.

What can a Novice High Level listener get from the passage?

The Novice High listener is likely to comprehend that the text is about Iraq, with the help of the visual cues. Likely to understand some details, relying on background knowledge (e.g. "Arabic language", "Islam", "Syria", "Iran"). Likely to understand the names of neighboring countries (e.g "Turkey", "Kuwait"). Unlikely to understand any of the information related to the economy of the country. Speed of delivery will be a challenge for the Novice listener.

Example 4: Introducing Myself

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Self-introduction

Length: 0:40

Delivery: Normal speed, some background buzz but generally clear delivery. Speaker pauses frequently

Function: Providing basic personal information.

Lexical complexity: Passage includes basic vocabulary items (name, age, school, hobbies) accessible to Intermediate level listeners. It also contains words that may be beyond the reach of intermediate level listeners (" المطالعة " & names) that will not impede global comprehension.

Structural complexity: Text consists of simple sentences connected using the basic connector (و).

Language Variety: Lebanese Arabic

General organization: Text is clearly organized around the main function (introducing oneself), but sentences are loosely connected.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Because of its "predictable" content and basic vocabulary, listeners at all Intermediate sublevels should find this text accessible. Familiarity with Lebanese dialect will facilitate comprehension.

Intermediate High:

Likely to comprehend the general meaning and most details in the text after one or two listens (nationality, age, tv programming, most hobbies, school, family information).

Intermediate Mid:

Likely to comprehend the global meaning with additional details after one or two listens (favorite tv programming, some hobbies).

Intermediate Low:

Likely to get the general topic and a few details after one or two listens (nationality, age) and recognize additional isolated vocabulary items.

What can a Novice High Level listener get from the passage?

The Novice High listener is likely to comprehend the general topic and few details (e.g. Self introduction, she is Lebanese and she goes to school). If familiar with the Lebanese dialect, may comprehend that she has siblings. Unlikely to comprehend other details.


Novice

Example 1: Family Members

Rationale for Rating

Topic: Introducing family members

Length: 1:41

Delivery: Normal speed; intended for native speaker child audience

Lexical complexity: Very basic vocabulary items related to the family:

 

أحبّ ، أمي، أخي، أختي، نحن، عائلة
..., significant repetition.
بيتميز – يتقاسمون - أبرز ما يميز - جزء لا يتجزأ - يتمازج

 

Structural complexity: Very basic, simple, short and repetitive sentences that consist of one repeated verb ("I like"), followed by the name of a family member "my (mom/dad/brother/etc)"

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic, inflected

General organization: Clear organization supported by clear visual cues. Repetitive.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Novice High:

Recognizes with ease the majority of lexical items and has near-complete comprehension of the text. Given emerging knowledge of Arabic phonemes and recognition of word boundaries, may be able to learn new family-related vocabulary items not memorized before listening.

Novice Mid:

May recognize a wider variety of memorized vocabulary items. Also can derive the message of the text from visual cues.

Novice Low:

May recognize a few memorized vocabulary items (e.g., أمي، أبي،أحبّ). Can comprehend a great deal of the text based on visual cues.

Example 2: Answering the Phone

Rationale for Rating

Topic: The beginning of a telephone conversation

Length: 0:14

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: The text is a list of common morning greetings.

Structural complexity: Text is composed of phrases rather than sentences.

Language Variety: Egyptian Arabic. Many of the phrases used are common across varieties of Arabic.

General organization: One speaker. Supported by extralinguistic context (phone call).

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Novice High:

Likely to comprehend a larger variety of greetings. May be able to distinguish and learn unfamiliar greetings such as: صباح الورد.

Novice Mid:

Likely to recognize very basic greetings if learned ( أهلا / صباح النور / صباح الخير ) and may derive the time of day (morning) from the use of these expressions.

Novice Low:

May recognize very basic greetings if learned ( أهلا / صباح الخير ). May be able to use visual cues (like picking up the phone) to contextualize basic greetings.

Example 3: Drinks

Rationale for Rating

Topic: List of things a guest might like to drink

Length: 0:10

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: Simple. Text is primarily composed of common drink names (though some of these drinks (e.g. guava juice), may not be familiar to the non-native listener).

Structural complexity: Simple. Text is conversational (two speakers) and is composed of a list of common lexical items.

Language Variety: Egyptian Arabic

General organization: Extralinguistic support is limited.

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Novice High:

Likely to recognize enough lexical items to comprehend the topic of the interaction. Likely to comprehend a larger variety of the drinks offered ( مانجا، شاي، عصير ). Exposure to Egyptian colloquial will facilitate comprehension. Lack of familiarity with the drinks commonly offered to a guest in this context may limit comprehension.

Novice Mid:

Likely to recognize cognates (Nescafe, شاي ) and the word عصير "juice" if learned. May comprehend the topic of the interaction. Exposure to Egyptian colloquial will facilitate comprehension. Lack of familiarity with the drinks commonly offered to a guest in this context may limit comprehension.

Novice Low:

May recognize cognates (Nescafe, شاي ). Unlikely to understand the context of the interaction.

Example 4: Phone Numbers

Rationale for Rating

Topic: A list of phone numbers and Arab countries to call from

Length: 0:22

Delivery: Normal speed

Lexical complexity: Basic words (phone numbers and names of Arabc countries)

Structural complexity: Text is composed of phrases rather than sentences.

Language Variety: Modern Standard Arabic

General organization: Clear list, limited support from extralinguistic context

Listener: Functions and Accuracy

Novice High:

Likely to comprehend most numbers and countries including مصر "Egypt" which is not a cognate word. Listeners are likely to understand the message of the text.

Novice Mid:

Likely to recognize a few countries and some numbers. Listeners may understand the message of the text based on their comprehension of the preposition من "from" and background knowledge.

Novice Low:

May recognize a few numbers (if learned) and guess the names of some Arab countries based on sound similarity with English (e.g., as-sacuudiyya=Saudi, al-Yaman=Yemen, Lubnaan=Lebanon, etc.) Listeners may understand the message of the text based on background knowledge.