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Alif Baa with DVDs: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds [Paperback]

Kristen Brustad , Mahmoud Al-Batal , Abbas Al-Tonsi
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 July 2004 1589011023 978-1589011021 2nd Revised edition
Newly revised and packaged with two DVDs containing both audio and video exercises, Alif Baa with DVD: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds, is the first part of the Al-Kitaab program. It teaches learners to recognize and produce both letters and sounds accurately through a variety of exercises designed to develop listening, reading, and writing skills. In addition, it introduces about 150 basic vocabulary words in authentic contexts, and it includes video footage of an Arabic calligrapher, a large collection of street signs, social greetings, capsules on Arab culture, and an English-Arabic glossary.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (28 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589011023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589011021
  • Product Dimensions: 27.8 x 21.8 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Any review of a language-learning tool should, I think, be prefaced with a brief description of the context in which it is being used. I'm self-teaching (via Alif Baa alone) supported by monthly half-day sessions with a native Arabic-speaking tutor (a PhD student at a local university). We review what I've covered and go through further examples.

Alif Baa comprises 10 units with 2 supporting DVDs. The DVDs are absolutely excellent and very professionally produced. The first 7 units take you through the alphabet, learning pronunciation, learning to write, how to use the various long and short vowels, shedda and sukkun. The remaining 3 units take you through the number system, further grammatical elements of the language plus some cultural aspects and calligraphy.

How much time have I spent? Well, I'm personally pretty serious about learning the language after several holidays to Arabic-speaking countries and have, to date, spent over 200 hours on the first 7 units. Some of them I've done twice because they were quite difficult. In particular, I found units 4 and 5 of the book to be the hardest. Here you learn the so-called emphatic consonants plus the tricky `ayn' and `ghayn' sounds. But don't give up !!! If you don't get it, do it again until you `just about' get it. Further examples later in the book will reinforce your understanding and things do become clearer.

The DVDs contain video footage of a professional calligrapher showing you how to write the letters. The book also takes time and effort to show you how printed forms of letters vary from real handwriting. But, for me, really makes this book such a superb learning tool is the rich range of interactive exercises.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant! 25 April 2007
By sayuri
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot talk highly enough about this series! I have been trying to learn Arabic independently over the last 6 months, in which time I have bought numerous books and dvds to help me. None of these compare to this one: the book is clearly layed out with exercises that are simple to understand and increase in difficulty as you progress through each step. The DVD puts Linguaphone's to shame: it has a menu that makes navigation easy, a variation of teaching techniques for all learners and the sound is of a good quality. I would highly recommend this to anyone trying to learn Arabic independently or with tuition. Al-kitaab fii ta allum al-arabiyya follows this book in the series and is equally as excellently written.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great learning tool. 13 Nov 2005
By A Customer
This is an amasingly well done teaching programme,especially where pronunciation is concerned. The video part with the alaphabet pronunciation is excellent and the different dialogues and pronunciation drills are great. I am going through several methods to learn Arabic and this is not only the most precise but the most effective I have come across. A fantastic tool for any beginers and especially if you have no Arabic speaker around to help.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 23 Mar 2007

I used this book last semester in Arabic 101. While my instructor was insanely awesome in his teaching methods, this book proved to be a great tool throughout the term. As one of the reviewers described below, it gives complete and thorough instruction for beginners of the Arabic language. The CD's were great to use and really proved immeasurably useful when it came to pronunciation.

As someone who has used this book, I highly recommend it for educators, students, self-teachers, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for anyone receiving arabic lessons 11 Mar 2011
By Neil
Personally I rate this book as being highly overpriced, and of very little use to anyone taking structured Arabic lessons. If you are attempting to self teach then perhaps this book would be helpful but otherwise give it a miss. As an Arabic student at university I was told to buy it when I began my course which I Immediately regretted due to the minimal amount of use I got out of it and the high price I had paid for it. Most arabic grammar books(such as "Arabic: an essential grammar" by Faruk abu-chacra) discuss the letters and their various written forms in a much more succinct way. There are of course severe limits on attempting to learn sounds from the written page and no book can teach it past a certain point. I also personally dislike the whole series having worked through books 1 and 2 before finally being allowed to drop them due to the bizarre and incoherent way they introduce grammar points, the ridiculous choice of vocab items to be taught, texts that don't match the level of the accompanying lessons and finally the writers conviction that really all students of arabic should really be learning Egyptian dialect rather than classical. However the limited number of alternative books really does not leave the student of Arabic a whole lot of choice
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