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Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia: A Complete Language Course (Colloquial Series) [Paperback]

Clive Holes

RRP: 15.99
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Mar 1984 0415080274 978-0415080279 1
Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia is easy to use and completely up to date. Specially written by experienced teachers for self-study or class use, the course offers you a step-by-step approach to written and spoken Arabic

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From the Back Cover

Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia Specially written by an experienced teacher for self-study or class use, the course offers you a step-by-step approach to written and spoken Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. No prior knowledge of the language is required.
What makes Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia your best choice in personal language learning?
* interactive - lots of dialogues and exercises for regular practice
* clear - concise grammar notes
* practical - useful vocabulary and pronunciation guide
* complete - including answer key and special reference section.

Accompanying audio material is available to purchase separately on CD/MP3 format, or comes included in the great value Colloquials Pack.

About the Author

University of Oxford, UK --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially useful 28 Aug 2003
By Erika Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
This is an introductory text for studying colloquial Gulf Arabic. Arabic is an extremely difficult language to study, not because the grammatical structures are particularly difficult, but because of the particular circumstances of the language. Modern Standard Arabic is a language that was developed from the language of the Holy Qur'an. Books and news broadcasts are in Modern Standard Arabic, but nobody really speaks the language- -it's a theoretical rather than actual standard. Many Arabic textbooks and courses focus on Modern Standard Arabic. If you learn Modern Standard Arabic, you will be able to read books, and educated people from all over the Arabic world will be able to understand you. But most likely, you probably won't be able to understand what ordinary Arabic speakers are saying because they all speak colloquial dialects. People don't actually converse in Modern Standard Arabic; instead, Moroccans speak Moroccan Arabic, Egyptians speak Egyptian Arabic, and Saudis speak Gulf Arabic. The pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar of each of these dialects is different, and many native Arabic speakers have trouble understanding other Arabic dialects. If you manage to find a course in colloquial or conversational Arabic, you will learn to speak a local dialect instead of Modern Standard Arabic. That will get you a lot further than Modern Standard Arabic for conversing with friends and neighbors, but then you won't be able to read, since books and newspapers are written in Modern Standard Arabic. So if you learn to read, you won't be able to speak, and speaking classes won't help with your reading. And if you do learn to read, reading newspapers or books won't help you with speaking either. That's why Arabic is so difficult to learn.
That said, this textbook is based on the colloquial Gulf Arabic dialect. The book focuses mainly on the dialect spoken in Saudi Arabia, but most of the vocabulary and structures are relevant throughout the countries of the Gulf, including Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Since this dialect is only spoken and not written, all Arabic words in the book are written in Latin script, and the Arabic alphabet is not covered. A typical chapter begins with a 2-page discussion of a grammar point, translation exercises, more grammar, more translation exercises, more grammar, more translation exercises, etc., ending with pronunciation exercises, and translation exercises of dialogs. The accompanying tape contains the pronunciation exercises and dialogs. At the end of each chapter is an alphabetical list of new vocabulary words.
I found this book extremely frustrating and difficult to use for self-study because of the incredibly long lists of poorly selected vocabulary for each chapter. Instead of limiting new vocabulary in the early chapters to commonly used or needed words, Holes introduces words like blind, palace, and outer wall already in the 4th chapter. Between the lack of variety in the exercises and the impossibly long lists of vocabulary, I wasn't able to progress beyond chapter 5 in my efforts at self-study. This, combined with the surprisingly few chances to actually use the language during my extended stay in Dubai meant I made little headway. What progress I did make in Arabic was due to actual conversation, and not through using this book. Despite the shortcomings of the book, if you want to learn the basics of the Gulf dialect, this is one of the only resources available. The grammar explanations are, in general, clear and useful. With a talented and patient instructor who is willing to supply more reasonable vocabulary words, the book might prove effective.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars caveat emptor re authenticity of Holes' Gulf Arabic book's 29 Dec 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Following mutarjim's fair review I feel obliged that as the partner of a national from Bahrain (which was the source of Holes' "local" dialect for this book), to add the warning that some of the dialect presented here is regarded as quaint and even a tad un-educated. Especially, the recorded dialogues which, while authentic of a certain sector of Bahrain at the time they were recorded preserves old village folk using a fair amount of what was even then non-standard Gulf dialect, and is probably even more so today. Yunus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A No-Nonsense Text for the Serious Student 26 Jan 1999
By Michael Akard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I spent many productive hours working through it. Definitely a volume to be recommended for the person who is serious about speaking Arabic, especially in the Gulf countries. As the jacket explains, the book is designed to provide a SOLID (emphasis mine) working knowledge of the language; it is quite vocabulary-intensive, and the cassette is very valuable. However, although "no previous knowledge of Arabic is assumed," I would argue against using it as an introductory text - I had already completed several semesters of Arabic study, formal and dialectal, before starting with this book, and still found it plenty challenging. I could perhaps wish for a few diagrams, sketches, or photographs of people or places in the Gulf, or some other kind of visual variety to break up the material a little, but it's a very good book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book... 12 Feb 2004
By montoo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
This book is very very good.
Arabic is a extremely difficult language to learn, let alone the written version of it, this book really does let one grasp spoken gulf arabic, which is the closest to classical and the written that there is.
Holes wasnt implying that the books readers are stupid because he didnt include the written, but it was actually a smart decision, its hard enough learning a new language but double the frustration not only trying to learn the spoken BUT also the written! honestly, its much more useful to learn the spoken, as what u can do with this course and then move on the written and reading.
An important note though is that arabic tends to vary depending on which region of the ME/NA you are in so learning Gulf version can be useful but will ultimatly hinder u in some ways if you say, go to Lebanon or Algeria and try to use this dialect.
another thing i liked about this book was that he explained the grammer really really well, which can be infinitly confusing and confounding but its fairly basic and laid out well.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise with more caveats 13 Dec 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
Some additional caveats to add to the previous reviews: though Holes' book is a respectable text that presents quite a large amount of Arabic grammar well and thoroughly, all material is in transliteration--there is NO Arabic script in this book. (The advantage is that Holes doesn't have to deal with Modern Standard Arabic spellings from which the spoken language deviates; he can also mark stress on all words, a very useful feature of the book.) Also, though each of the 20 units has an Arabic-English vocabulary, there is NO Arabic-English or English-Arabic vocabulary for the entire text at the end of the book--not even an index to the lesson in which a word is first used. (Nor is there a grammatical index.) And despite the length of the text for a Routledge Colloquial, there is only a single cassette--three or four would be better, though it would have pushed the price of the whole into the barely affordable range. All in all, worthwhile only if you have a serious interest in spoken Eastern Arabic AND have other resources for learning Arabic.
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