Proverbs are considered a key to understand the culture of any community. Proverbs show how people think, what they like, what they hate, and how and why they behave in a certain manner. Moreover, proverbs cover almost all aspects of life. Proverbs also constitute an important component of the language. In fact, Arabic native speakers use proverbs in both Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic. Proverbs also used among all classes of the society. Therefore, they should not be neglected in language learning. The aim of this thesis is to emphasize and show the importance of proverbs in reflecting and understanding the Arabic culture as well as in providing a better understanding of the Arabic language itself. Chapter 1 provides an introduction on the importance of culture in second language learning; and the role of proverbs in reflecting the Arabic culture, in particular. Chapter II is a literature review that deals with the main characteristics of proverbs, their different types, and their main functions. Chapter III sets the main criteria for selecting which proverbs are most suitable for teaching in language classes. First, there are factors that are related to the proverbs, such as their frequency of use, simplicity, metaphoric transparency, appropriateness and usefulness, and similarity to the first language. Second, there are factors related to the language learner, such as, their language level, age, objectives, and motivation. Third, teacher's objective for teaching theses proverbs is another factor that determines the suitability of proverbs to be learned.

Chapter IV shows how proverbs reflect many cultural features, such as family relationships, religion, social morals, among other features. Chapter V presents two models for teaching proverbs in Arabic language classes. One of the models is for teaching proverbs in a Modern Standard Arabic class. The other model is for teaching proverbs in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic class.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Degree Name

MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


Document Type



121, [4] leaves :

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Arabic language

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Proverbs, Arabic


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Call Number

Thesis 2002/18