Mike Turner


I have been involved in the Teaching of Arabic as a Foreign Language field since 2011. During this time I have taught intensive university-level courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. I am a proponent of the "Integrated Approach" to teaching Arabic, where formal and colloquial varieties are used side-by-side in the same classroom, allowing students to develop task-based proficiency in the major language skills. All of my classes abide by a policy of "as much Arabic as possible," gradually moving toward full immersion, to maximize exposure to the language.

Prior to my experience as an Arabic instructor, I taught English for two years at a Moroccan youth center. I have also worked as a teaching assistant for first-year Modern Hebrew.


Creating instructional materials is one of my passions. One of my primary projects has been developing a comprensive supplement for teaching Moroccan Arabic in courses that use the Al-Kitaab textbook series. The supplement provides the vocabulary charts, activities, and associated audiovisual materials needed make Moroccan a viable medium for instruction and classroom interaction, like Levantine and Egyptian. A single-unit sample is available here.

I am also preparing to launch a new online resource called OpenArabic, still in the conceptual phase, which will serve as a repository of free and open source materials for teaching Arabic.


My primary interest in linguistics is in spoken Arabic varieties and the historical processes that led to the diversity we see in them today. I am also interested in the dialect geography of Berber languages and the history of language contact in North Africa. Much of my work has focused the semantics and origins of grammatical constructions in Moroccan Arabic, though I also have some background in general Semitic and Afroasiatic linguistics and fieldwork exposure to unrelated languages (Miskito).

In my M.A. thesis I argued for a systemic reanalysis of the system of definiteness (or "givenness") marking in Moroccan Arabic, showing that previous descriptions of the dialect cannot aways account for forms encountered in speech. My dissertation treated the same issue more broadly by proposing a more refined framework for understanding definiteness in Arabic varieties and then exploring typological variation within modern spoken dialects.