Arabic language is spoken by over 280 million people in an area extending from the Arabian Gulf in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Arabic is also spoken by 250 million people as a second language, and by many of the three million people of Arab origin living in the United States and Canada.

SMU courses will mostly teach Modern Standard Arabic (fuSHa), which is the literary language used in most current, printed Arabic publications, spoken by the Arabic media across North Africa and the Middle East, and understood by Arabic speakers. In addition, the classes will also introduce some of the main features of various Arabic dialects.