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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong basic introduction to colloquial Arabic
This small book serves as a good basic introduction to the colloquial Arabic of the region. Although it relies solely on the use of transliteration to present Arabic words, which may be off-putting for the more advanced student, it provides a systematic methodology for learning colloquial Arabic in a series of 20 lessons. This text is best used with the tapes and with...
Published on 21 Jun 2001

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disgrace for Routledge
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book. There are three Colloquial Arabic books published by Routledge, but only one (Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf) lives up to the high standard in Routledge's Colloquial Series.

What annoys me the most that I interviewed an editor for the Colloquial series in 2001 and we discussed different courses. The editor admitted...
Published on 22 Feb 2009 by Gwilym


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disgrace for Routledge, 22 Feb 2009
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book. There are three Colloquial Arabic books published by Routledge, but only one (Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf) lives up to the high standard in Routledge's Colloquial Series.

What annoys me the most that I interviewed an editor for the Colloquial series in 2001 and we discussed different courses. The editor admitted that Colloquial Arabic (Levantine) was the one book she felt ashamed of and that they would need to come out with a completely new book. Now, in 2009, they present us with the same "course" they felt ashamed of eight years ago. It's the same unsatisfactory content, these are the main reasons you should not even consider buying it.

1. Learning a new language is reasonably hard, and most Colloquial books published by Routledge are about 300-350 pages. This one in barely 100 pages and, what is more, it's smaller than most of the other books. This means that the material in this book compares to 1/5 in another Colloquial book. I don't think Arabic is that much easier...

2. In this very short book, one half deals exclusively with proverbs. No doubt interesting, but that means that the actual page number for grammar and vocabulary is nothing short of scandalous.

3. The grammar is explained very briefly, and you don't get any understanding of it.

4. Very few vocabularies are featured on the tape, so you'll finish this book without being able to pronounce Arabic (nor understand it, nor speak it)

I'm very interested in Arabic, and the Arabic of the Levant in particular, so it's very disappointing that this book don't live up to the most rudimentary expectations. Routledge is renowned as the worlds leading publisher of high quality language courses (justified in 99% of the cases) and I sincerely hoped in 2001 that they would remove this disgrace and replace it with a book worthy their reputation. Instead, they just changed the cover.

If you want to learn Colloquial Arabic, go to Colloquial Arabic of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong basic introduction to colloquial Arabic, 21 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This small book serves as a good basic introduction to the colloquial Arabic of the region. Although it relies solely on the use of transliteration to present Arabic words, which may be off-putting for the more advanced student, it provides a systematic methodology for learning colloquial Arabic in a series of 20 lessons. This text is best used with the tapes and with occasional recourse to a native speaker. My Palestinian instructor strongly refuted some of the book's pronouncements on what is "common parlance" in the region, so take care !
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4.0 out of 5 stars Levantine Arabic for beginners, 17 Nov 2009
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Written in an English style of first-term university language courses for beginners, the learning curve is steep, which keeps the text short, but not unreasonably so. Also typical of such courses, each chapter builds up essential points of grammar, rather than starting with the most commonly heard phrases, so it is not really a substitute for a phrasebook. (Are there any English phrasebooks for these dialects in print, I wonder? I have only found Gulf Arabic ones.)

The first part of the book has a smattering of interesting details and hints about cultural influences on the language, without diverging from the clear objective of getting to grips with the basic grammar as quickly as possible early on. The entire second part, which is entitled, "All the other things you have to know in order to have a meaningful conversation in Arabic," is devoted to idioms, proverbs, essential expressions of courtesy etc. as well as practice on more lengthy passages. It even includes a page or so on terms of abuse, which is probably very rare in any kind of language course. The reader may prefer to be blissfully ignorant of the rudeness going on around him or her in the streets - particularly between car drivers - but in case it is needed, a few rude phrases are listed at the end of the second part.

The dialects of Arabic spoken across the region seem to have significant variation between them. It is hard to tell exactly how applicable the version as presented in the course is to the spoken form in any one particular country, but the author has struck a balance between brevity and completeness, by mentioning here and there where there are interesting differences between countries, without overloading the text with confusing detail and trying to be comprehensive with respect to any one local dialect. Be warned though, that if you get the opportunity to speak the language learnt from this book to native speakers, wherever they are from, I expect you will soon hear them say, "We don't say it that way here."

As usual if the reader is a solitary student, the audio material is probably essential, unless there is access to a native speaker for listening practice, because it is not immediately obvious from the text how the language sounds, despite the author's help on this point with the inclusion of an introduction to Arabic pronunciation. The romanisation used seems to be sympathetic to written Arabic rather than just pronunciation. An introduction to Arabic script is included, but relegated to an appendix. This makes sense, because the spoken dialects are apparently significantly different from written Arabic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial Arabic (Levantine), 14 May 2011
I have looked at several Arabic books and whilst this isn't the worst it fails in one fundamental respect, it does not cover the Arabic script. If you want to say some basic phrases and not bother with the alphabet then you are far better off buying a Lonely Planet phrase book or a conversational Arabic CD of some sort. The other Colloquial titles have been far more thorough than this. It is neither serious introduction nor pithy guide to getting by in the language, and is for that reason, of no use to anyone.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential accompanyment to the book, 21 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This tape accompanies the paperback by McLoughlin which introduces Colloquial Levantine Arabic. The tape is particularly useful for students learning Arabic on their own although it is recommended even if the book is being used with a teacher. The pronounciation on the tape is clear and assists in deciphering the form of transliteration used by the authors. I found it particularly play the tape, then record my voice repeating extracts from it in order to compare the two and develop an ear for the accent.
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Colloquial Arabic (Levantine): A Complete Language Course (PB + CD)
Colloquial Arabic (Levantine): A Complete Language Course (PB + CD) by Leslie McLoughlin (Audio Cassette - 16 Jun 1988)
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