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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent!
This is the ultimate reference for teaching and learning Arabic for non-native speakers. I am a teacher of Arabic as a second language and have been struggling to find a convenient book. Other books either open from left to right, which is completely absurd, or have explicit mistakes in grammar and conversation. Ahlan wa Sahlan is THE ULTIMATE book to teach Arabic...
Published 2 months ago by Had. A

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is NOT, NOT, NOT for beginners!
I've started learning Arabic at evening classes and I am now a good few weeks in and my grasp of the language is improving. I thought that I would supplement my learning with a 'beginners' textbook. I saw this book online, titled "Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners" and bought it expecting exactly that... a beginners textbook to Arabic. As the other reviewer...
Published on 9 Oct. 2009 by Bones


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is NOT, NOT, NOT for beginners!, 9 Oct. 2009
By 
Bones (London, England) - See all my reviews
I've started learning Arabic at evening classes and I am now a good few weeks in and my grasp of the language is improving. I thought that I would supplement my learning with a 'beginners' textbook. I saw this book online, titled "Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners" and bought it expecting exactly that... a beginners textbook to Arabic. As the other reviewer of this item points out, this is NOT for beginners at all.

For example, I turned to Chapter 1, Lesson 1 and was greeted with five solid untranslated lines of Arabic before the first English sentence told me "Prepositions usually acquire specific meanings from the context in which they are used. In the passage above, the preposition (book shows an arabic word in arabic script) means "on" and (book shows an arabic word in arabic script) means "in"... The prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition (shows arabic letter) added to the noun (more unexplained arabic letters) "side"......."

Er, hang on a second... What about giving me a list of letters of the alphabet, or perhaps telling me how to say "hello" or "how are you"? I don't want to dive straight into the preposition structure of a language that is new to me and very complex! The arabic words aren't even transliterated to help you try to work out how they sound. You're just hit with a line of arabic script (tricky to understand as a 'beginner') and then the English equivalent.

I'm sure this book is excellent for a more advanced student, and the layout and content does look VERY comprehensive. I don't doubt that it will be of use to me in a year or so, but right now, having bought it under the impression it was for BEGINNERS, I have to give it 1 star because it is not what it says it is.

I'll just leave you with a sample of the lesson given on page 31 (hardly any distance into the book)... "An idafa structure is made up of two or more nouns that occur in succession. The first noun is the thing prossessed and is the main noun of the phrase. The second noun is always in the genitive case (marked by a single or double kasra). The first noun is always indefinite; the second noun may be definite or indefinite..."

Goodbye!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners, audio not compatible with iPod or players, 2 Jan. 2010
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The effort and care put into the creation of the MP3 CD (it is not an Audio CD as a music CD by the way) is literally rubbish, a dog's job from execution to packaging.

Firstly, it is not because the files are in MP3 format that make them ready to use on a iPod. In order for a bunch of MP3 files to be useful and easy to store, find and manage in a player, the publisher (Yale University Press) MUST put some effort to properly tag the MP3s with the following id3 information:

- the freaking name of the album
- the freaking name of the artist (author)
- the freaking TITLE of the track
- the freaking NUMBER of the freaking track

If this information is not provided, the MP3 player won't be able to sort the tracks into albums, sort the order of them against each other and won't display the collection of MP3s in an order that will make sense to humans.

Now multiply the lazy job of Yale University Press by 240 tracks and what you have is a massive mess hindering any attempt for productive learning as you will spend more time trying to find the badly recorded tracks than listening to their crackling, noisy and annoying sound when they are needed.

The geniuses at Yale went a step further to make things even more difficult for us. If it is not enough to completely ignore ID3 tagging, they named the files in the following format:

[track number] [Lesson number (which is from 1 to 24)] [Lesson name] [page number].

Well done Yale, except that by putting the track number before the lesson number you make all the files that start with a track number to bunch up together on an iPod playlist, for example:

...01 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 01
01 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 21
01 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 31
02 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 03
02 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 23
02 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 33
03 - Lesson one - Blah blah - p. 05
03 - Lesson two - Blah blah - p. 25
03 - Lesson three - Blah blah - p. 35...

Oh well, unless you are willing and know how to spend a few hours adding this information manually to 240+ tracks so that the files are organised on an MP3 player such as the iPod, or unless you are going to use the files as they are straight from the CD on a computer but not on iTunes, Winamp or a software that needs ID3 tags to organise tracks, this book will be utterly useless and your learning experience painful and frustrating.

About the book itself, you will need to learn the alphabet before (this is standard and not a fault of the book, I recommend Alif Baa, Georgetown University (Alif Baa with DVDs: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds)) nevertheless I have some concerns with regards to its pace and would not recommend it for beginning self-learners until they have done a couple of other books before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bad for beginners, 7 Oct. 2009
By 
V. Kalantzi (Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Although this is a very interesting and good written book, by no means would I recommend it to beginners, it will just make things more complicated and tough. I quit reading it, as soon as I realised that I wasn't understanding a thing...!! So, I had to order another book which really was for beginners. This one is best suitable for intermediate to advanced students.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent!, 4 Mar. 2015
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This is the ultimate reference for teaching and learning Arabic for non-native speakers. I am a teacher of Arabic as a second language and have been struggling to find a convenient book. Other books either open from left to right, which is completely absurd, or have explicit mistakes in grammar and conversation. Ahlan wa Sahlan is THE ULTIMATE book to teach Arabic properly!

The second edition divides the process of learning Arabic into two steps. First, in the workbook it covers the alphabet along with simple everyday conversations (name, wellbeing, nationality) then the textbook moves to substantial texts covering the Arabic sentence structure through interesting topics derived from the context of the life of the academic student.

Every little grammar detail I wonder about how to transmit to students is clearly and fully explained. Excellent for those whose first language, or have a knowledge of, English because, when suitable, it contains comparisons and contrasts between the way the two languages deal with a certain sentence structure.

I would recommend the workbook for self-study, but not the textbook. In fact, the textbook cannot be fully covered in a frequency of one session a week. I have to be selective about what to give the students each week. The audio and video bits are accurate, well pronounced and well acted, something which is rare to find in other books. The print is extra clear. Ahlan wa Sahlan made me believe that it is not only possible, but also thrilling, to teach the grammar of the modern standard Arabic to non-native speakers. I am so happy to have found this book!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Unappealing, complicated, 24 Aug. 2011
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I had the misfortune of having to work with this book for a whole year as the basis of my "Arabic 100" course at the highly renowned School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London).
I feel sorry for every student having to study Arabic with this book. It's utterly unappealing. Stories are random and boring, few illustrations, it's not vivid at all, very dry. It's all about grammar and months into investing so much study time, I still don't feel like I can hold a conversation but merely know hundreds of grammar rules. This is how language learning is no fun!

Grammar should be taught alongside learning to speak to make sense of why things are said in a certain way. However in this book, a daunting volume of rules have to be learned and the student will, at this stage, have almost no reference points. Having worked a year with this book, I am vaguely aware of a lot of grammar rules and structures but can hardly have a useful conversation.

Other points are:
- The design of this book is off--turning, graphics, if existent, laughable and not helpful to help the student imagine played situations
- There are a lot of omitted explanations and unexplained vocabulary and terms confusing students throughout
- The audio often does not correspond with the text book making it hard to follow what's being said.
- Some of the script is unreadable.
- The key to exercises is difficult to understand and incomplete (not for self-learning!)
- The order at which things are taught is illogical.
- I feel a lot of vocabulary is unsuitable for beginners. Again, I hardly can have basic conversations but I am expected to learn terms such as "Calculus" and "Faculty of sciences"
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2.0 out of 5 stars bad choice.., 6 Jun. 2014
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this book was recommended by my Arabic professor as a beginners book.. Definitely not a beginners book!! very difficult book to get the gist of, and very very heavy to carry! a bit better though than the first version which is indeed awful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, wish if it is in colour, 7 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Ahlan Wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners: Sound and Script Workbook (Paperback)
Very good , wish if it is in colour, and more activity..However it is essentiall for your first step in learning Arabic .
consist of Audio and DVD. Some version has the audio of the next book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Ahlan Wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners: Sound and Script Workbook (Paperback)
Bought becasue I am studying arabic at university. Very helpful and would recommend seller. Lots of excercises and a beautiful language to learn. :D
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