This is a review of Pimsleur's Eastern Arabic I, 2nd Edition
Updated 19 August 2009
FIVE STARS HANDS DOWN, 10/10
Crystal Clear Speech from native Syrian speakers
This is the first installment in the Eastern Arabic series. After you complete this course you can directly go on to
Pimsleur Eastern Arabic II, Copyright 2006. After completing the latter you can jump to Pimsleur Eastern Arabic III, Copyright 2008.
Pimsleur's 1st edition of Arabic (Eastern) I will not help you make a smooth transition into Eastern Arabic II. Therefore I highly recommend you study with this product, namely Pimsleur's Eastern Arabic I, 2nd Edition.
To illustrate a different aspect of Arabic study I will elaborate further:
If one learns MSA (Modern Standard Arabic), one will learn the language of the Koran, aka Classical Arabic, this is a language used in books, not a language used to communicate with people on a regular basis.
If John Doe learns MSA, he will be eventually understood when he speaks in a shop, and then his interlocutor will respond to John in his/her local dialect, which John will find unintelligible and then the conversation will be over. Nevertheless, if John Doe learns a dialect such as Eastern (Syrian) or Egyptian, he will have a better chance of understanding the response from his Arabic speaking interlocutor.
In my opinion, this is the best Arabic Course if you are headed to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, where Eastern Arabic is spoken. Additionally, after completing this course, I personally have not had much difficulty in communicating with people from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE (where Gulf Arabic is spoken). Note that Iraqis speak Iraqi Arabic which is different but similar to Syrian, but you will still be able to communicate. The Gulf dialect is also different but more similar to Syrian than Egyptian.
If you are heading for Egypt, you should get Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic instead. Egyptian and Eastern, while sharing the same root have evolved over the centuries.