Publication details [#62857]

Abdellah, Antar and Abdelbaset Haridy. 2017. Medieval Muslim thinkers on foreign language pedagogy: The case of Ibn Khaldun. Lingua 193 : 62–71.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


Throughout history, language teaching in the West has relied on traditional methods that depended mainly on the teacher as the source of information for language and culture. These methods were chiefly restricted to the teaching/learning of grammar and structure, and/or imitating native speakers of the language being learned/taught. It was not until the 19th century, from a Western perspective, that linguists and pedagogues began to form the concept of a foreign language teaching method/approach. However, this paper takes a different stand: it asserts that seeds of modern methods of teaching foreign languages and language acquisition theories have their origins in the writings of medieval Muslim thinkers about teaching Arabic as a foreign language across the Muslim Empire. To back this argument, a qualitative content analysis was employed to draw evidence from the medieval Muslim thinker Ibn Khaldun's history book, Al Muqqadimah [The Muqqadimah/The Introduction]. Findings of this study point out that a number of teaching methods, similar to modern ones, were evolved by medieval Muslim thinkers. Implications for the teaching of languages to non-native speakers are also supplied.