Meet Dr. William M. Hutchins. Dr. Hutchins. is from the USA, and he is an academic, author & translator of Contemporary Arabic Literature . In an interview with Dr. Hutchins we asked him the following questions:

Tell us about yourself (name, origins, current degree/studies, academic background, university & graduation year, professions, etc.)

William Maynard Hutchins, American, Ph.D. University of Chicago, Arabic & Islamic Studies, 1971, Professor, Philosophy & Religion Department, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, USA

How long have you been studying Arabic? What is your current level?

 Since 1964.  I do literary translations from Arabic.

What made you decide to study the Arabic language and culture?

I taught for a year at the Gerard Institute in Sidon, Lebanon.

What & who inspired you?

My friends and students. 

What were your motivations? 

Getting to know people.

Have you had any ups and downs while learning Arabic?

 Of course.

What careers are you planning to pursue (or have embarked on) using your Arabic language skills?

 I teach Islamic culture courses and translate works of Arabic literature.

What does it take to become an excellent student of Arabic? 

Willingness to continue for years. 

What recommendations would you give to anyone interested in learning Arabic?  

Be prepared for a long haul.  Be humble.

What is your favourite Arabic word?

غَطْرَسة : arrogance, haughtiness, snobbery 

What is your least favourite Arabic word? 

عَيْب: fault, shortcoming, flaw, defect

Who’s your most inspiring Arab personality?

Naguib Mahfouz

What is your favourite place in the Arab World?

Zamalek in Cairo

What is your favorite Arabic quote?

إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْ‌ۚ

Qur’an 49:13

What is your favourite Arabic book and why? 

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, al-Mabahith al-Mashriqiya because it contains many excellent arguments and because I wrote my dissertation about it.


If you have studied Arabic before (no matter how little), we would love to hear from you. To share your story, please  go to SUBMIT .To find out more about the MyJourneytoArabic initiative, go to ABOUT


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