Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages
English word. French word. Arabic word. Repeat.
Learning a foreign language isn't quite that basic or boring in Ziad Bentahar’s courses. An assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages, Bentahar believes language is more than mere words. In his French and Arabic courses, he uses film, comic books and music to immerse students into the cultures in which those languages are spoken.
“Learning a new language is not just learning new words to replace the words you already have. It’s learning a new framework. It’s about shaping the way you engage with your world.”
Bentahar is enthusiastic about offering new ways to teach languages, and he is grateful for the rare opportunity to teach two languages at Towson University. He is pleased to be surrounded by “great scholars and great teachers” who offer students a broad outlook on the world, not just proficiency in a language.
Bentahar’s special interest is North Africa, a region that include speakers of French, Arabic and other languages. “It is a very complex part of the world, and I push my students to make an effort to understand the complexity.”
So while students of French or Arabic may be confident enough to buy a pomegranate at a market or order rice at a restaurant, Bentahar also hopes they come to understand much more -- the significance of dining etiquette in Morocco, say, or the colonial architecture in Algeria.
For Bentahar, the point isn't just how many words you know in a language. It’s more about what you have to say.