The division of Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies (AAPTIS) offers instruction at the introductory to the advanced levels in medieval and modern Arabic, Armenian, Persian, and Turkish languages and literatures. Courses in the histories and cultures of select regions represented by these language groups are also offered as are a wide range of topics in Islamic studies.
The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers an impressive range of Arabic courses at all levels including Arabic for Academic, Communication, Business, and Islamic purposes.
AAPTIS 101 is open to all students with no prior knowledge of Arabic. Students with 1) an Arabic-speaking parent or 2) who have had schooling in an Arabic-speaking country or 3) who have undertaken any formal study of Arabic must take the Arabic proficiency test in order to determine their placement. Students can sign up for the test at the Arabic Testing Registration Site: https://sitemaker.umich.edu/arabicplacement/home
Classical and Middle Armenian tutorials are taught for research purposes. Classical Armenian must be acquired in order to read Middle or Cilician Armenian texts. In classes in Modern Eastern Armenian (the state language of the Republic of Armenia) and Modern Western Armenian (the language spoken in the Diaspora where, however, Eastern Armenian is also spoken by a very large number of immigrants from Armenia) reading, writing, speaking and listening are emphasized along with exposure to certain aspects of Armenian culture, old and new.
The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers Persian language courses on all levels. At every level of our language program, we teach to enhance the cognitive abilities and intellectual curiosity of our students. Our language courses focus on the development of all four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Through Persian language acquisition we aim to provide contexts and meanings as we challenge students to explore other world-views and learn to think about cultures critically. The advanced level Persian courses introduce students to Persian poetry and prose from the medieval to the modern era. These advanced level courses aim to provide a deeper and more textured knowledge of Iranian culture, history and society. They are part of a well-developed program on Persian language, literature, and culture designed to develop linguistic, literary, and methodological skills for scholarly research.
Though housed in NES, the courses and programming for Persian language and literature draw on resources, faculty and students from across the university, who cross the disciplinary boundaries of archaeology (Henry Wright), history of art (Christiane Gruber, Margaret Root), history (Kathryn Babayan, Juan Cole), and linguistics and language (Behrad Aghaei). Few universities in the United States enjoy such a large and distinguished concentration of scholars working on Iran.
Turkish is the longest documented and most complex of the Turkic languages, and the one with the most speakers (more than 80 million).
It is the national language of the Republic of Turkey, a key player in the complex politics of the Middle East, and one of the largest and most dynamic economies of the area, as a major trading partner of the European Union on one side and the countries of the Middle East on the other.
Turkish was also the administrative language of the predecessor of Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, which for more than four centuries was the predominant power in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, at the peak of its power extending from Sudan to Hungary, and from Algeria to Yemen and the Caucasus.
Both the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey have produced a rich and variegated culture, from folk and elite tradition to a literature of breathtaking modernity.
As a part of the Turkic language family, Turkish is categorized as an agglutinative language, meaning that its structure is rich, highly abstract, and of fascinating, almost mathematical regularity. Written in Latin characters since 1928, its writing system matches its logical structure.
Turkish is also the most convenient stepping stone on the way to older forms of the language, such as Ottoman Turkish, the literary language of the Ottoman Empire written in Arabic letters, and other modern Turkic languages, most of which are spoken in Central Asia, such as Uzbek, Kazakh, Kirghiz, or Uyghur.