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Moroccan Arabic: Shnoo the Hell Is Going on Hnaa? a Practical Guide to Learning Moroccan Darija - The Arabic Dialect of Morocco [Paperback]

Aaron Sakulich , Rajae Khaloufi
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2009
Moroccan Arabic was written by a dogged student of the language (and a natural teacher) and it was edited by a native speaker and equally wonderful teacher. Practical and witty, it's basically the equivalent of a VCR repair manual, just a bare-bones list of how to do the important things: here's the present tense, here's the future tense, etc, etc. In other words, it's a reference book with simple examples, none of the filler, and a few youthful surprises. It's just the kind of cheat-sheet everyone craves. Best of all, and unlike the others, everything is provided side-by-side in English, transliteration, and Arabic. And it uses a simple real-word transliteration system that is simply written the way things sound without the use of exotic linguistic symbols. One reviewer and early user of the book hailed, it "fills a gaping hole in Moroccan Arabic instruction." Many people contributed to making the book a reality and by agreement of all, the proceeds from the sale of this book go to support the publishing program at the International Centre for Performance Studies (ICPS) - Tangier, Morocco.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Collaborative Media International (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982440901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982440902
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 15 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,900,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George F Roberson 11 April 2011
By GF
Thanks to the generosity of numerous all-volunteer contributor-collaborators worldwide, we're pleased to announce that a revised and expanded edition of Moroccan Arabic: Shnoo the Hell is Going On H'naa? A Practical Guide to Learning Moroccan Darija - the Arabic Dialect of Morocco (2nd edition) will be released in April 2011.

Incorporating reader suggestions, student input, and Moroccan and US American academic review, the new edition features more details on the transliteration system, additional words, new word lists, and the text has been completely revised and re-edited.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moroccan Arabic Shnoo the Hell is going on Hnaa? 18 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase
The author of the book is very influenced by the northern accent / dialect of Morocco; this seems to have place limitations on the Moroccan arabic as a whole.
As a native speaker, I would've loved to see a wider selection of dialects from various regions of Morocco.
Alas! The author must've spent a longer period of his time, while compiling the book, in the north: Tangiers,Tetouan and Fés,...etc.
In addition, some of the transliterations in the book were not accurate in terms of the prunounciation; this obviously would have adverse outcomes as they will lead the non-native speaker into conveying a completely different meaning to what he/she intends to say.
On the whole, this edition is not by far the best as it has shortcomings and leaves so much to be desired. Let us hope that the future may bring about a different author who will cover more regions and become more familiar with the different dialects before submitting his/her book for publication!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book very useful 3 Aug 2009
By C. Gaffney - Published on Amazon.com
Having traveled in Morocco I know of the difficulties in picking up Arabic on the fly, but this book has made the structure of Arabic intelligible while providing useful tools for practical use. Highly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars okay but there are better books out there 23 May 2010
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
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The cover of this book hypes it, but all the hypers are connected to the Moroccan center that published it or have connections o the author or the producer. One of the two reviews online at the time I am writing this was written by someone with the author's same last name, which may be a coincidence, but I doubt it. I was caught by the hype and bought the book. It's not a terrible book, but it really needs some work. It's definitely not worth the asking price. The author starts by noting his issues with other books out there for Moroccan Arabic, and in that regard, he's unfortunately right, although I like the Harrell book anyway, despite some of its sample sentences like "I gave the rifle to the judge." Sakulich shows several transliteration schemes (systems of writing the Arabic words using Roman letters and other symbols) for Arabic and then notes that he's come up with his own based upon how he hears the language. He provides no explanation of it. So we are left with having to guess how to pronounce such words as bghreet, msleem, and fhm. He is also inconsistent, noting bghreet and bgheet as the same word. In bghreet, there is no "r" pronounced, but in Maghreb, the 'r" is pronounced, and his system doesn't differentiate this. Is it "mm-sleem" or "musleem"? The choice of topics feels incredibly hit or miss, and he even admits this a bit in various lists he provides. The book is praised for its humor, which I found sort of sophomoric, such as the author's quote on the back cover (It's a good book, I guess.")

On a happier note, his explanations are pretty spot on, even if they gloss over the complexities of the language. It is a good starting point, but you'd need a phrase book (the Lonely Planet one is great) to supplement it, as this book gives no explanation of greetings, common expressions, etc.

The introduction notes that the readership can email with suggestions for an upcoming edition. The book is a good start, but needs revising. I hope the next version is more consistent and professional, and maybe then it would justify the price.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning with humor 17 Oct 2009
By Richard Sakulich - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Having also traveled to Morocco, I am aware of the difficulty and subtlety of the language. One of the great points of this book is the humor that is spread throughout both in the theatrical asides and the choice of words and phrases as examples. Language texts are universally dry and often boring but the author has managed to lighten up a difficult subject and thus make it easier to absorb.
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