Associate Professor of Arabic

Institutional Affiliation

University of Denver
Department of Languages and Literatures


Ph.D., Candidate, Linguistics, University of Colorado Boulder
M.A., Linguistics, University of Colorado Boulder
M.A., Education and Applied Linguistics, American University of Beirut
B.A., Linguistics and Education, American University

Research Interests

Child language acquisition of Arabic morphemes; children’s sensitivity to preferred argument structure in discourse; underlying cerebral processes involved in the acquisition of the ‘idafa’ structure in second language acquisition; audio-visual speech perception and its application in the acquisition of second language phonemes

Regional and Thematic Interests

West Asia/Middle East


Maha Foster was born and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. She started and completed grade school at the Collège Protestant Français, from which she graduated speaking Arabic, French and English, with a French and Lebanese baccalaureate. She got my BA and MA from the American University of Beirut in education and applied linguistics, specifically, teaching English as a foreign language. She earned another MA in linguistics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She am currently working on a double PhD in linguistics and cognitive science.

She has taught French at multiple levels—college, high school and elementary French immersion school. Her professional experience also includes: ARAMCO, Saudi Arabia: ESL teacher, curriculum development; US Air Force Academy: Arabic instructor, curriculum development and enhancement; Colorado College: Arabic instructor; University of Denver: Arabic lecturer.

It is well established that visual speech cues play an important role in face-to-face speech perception. She is interested in investigating the contribution of visual speech to the perception of Arabic. She is hoping her research can help students that are studying Arabic better perceive and produce those Arabic speech sounds that are so difficult for native speakers of English and romance languages. She is also interested in the language acquisition of children and its connection to second language acquisition.

Selected Publications

2013 Co-author of Arabiyyat al-Naas (Part one).

2012 "Argument Representation in Lebanese Child," Proceedings of the 2012 Northwest Linguistics Conference