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4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 February 2007
This is an excellent little book which packs a lot into its slim 150 or so pages. I turned to this book when getting bogged down half way through "Teach yourself Arabic" by Jack Smart and Frances Altorfer --- which I'll review when I finish it.

Mastering Arabic Grammar comprises some 20 units split into 2 parts: Part 1 "Fundamentals of Arabic grammar" and Part 2: "Arabic verbs". The 20 units are carefully written so that you progress smoothly as you move through the book. Each unit also contains a handy little summary of the main points covered.

As a book devoted to grammar it's pretty clear that you'll need a good grasp of Arabic script and pronunciation. To learn script/pronunciation "Alif Baa with DVDs" is unbeatable --- Georgetown University Press, ISBN 1 58901 102 3 (which I've also reviewed).

There are some 100 or so Activities to test your learning --- the answers are in the book. The Activities are very well designed, occasionally the questions are quite crafty and test your attention to the finer points of detail. I know I got caught out a few times DOH!

In addition to the central text of the book are standalone sections called "Case Notes" which examine the formal case system of Arabic nouns. These sections can be skipped on first reading unless you're comfortable with terms such as nominative, accusative and genitive. They're certainly worth returning to once you have completed the body of the book.

Having finished it I'm left with the feeling that, for a small book, it covers an amazing amount of material and that is surely due to the very skilful writing of the authors and the excellent examples scattered throughout. The thoughtful layout, design and typography all add to its usability. Sadly, good design is lacking in so many language books.

At the end of "Mastering Arabic Grammar" you most certainly will not have mastered Arabic grammar. What you will have is a far better "feel" for the basic grammar structure of the language and be in a position to start tackling some of the more weighty tomes on the market.

It's an excellent, confidence-building book that's worth every penny. Three cheers to Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar for writing it and well done to the publishers for getting it right!
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on 22 February 2006
Arabic grammar can be a bit daunting at the beginning but this book begins each chapter by giving a clear explanation followed by fun exercises. Each chapter progresses at a steady pace allowing the learner to really absorb the information and gives a summary at the end of each chapter. It uses pictures and tables to really engage the learner.
It can be used either for learning the grammar for the first time as the explanations and exercises are so good or as a reference book, but you’ll probably end up wanting to do the exercises!
I found it indispensable in my first year of learning Arabic and a great revision tool. It’s a perfect size as well; fits into your handbag so great for revising on the move, its colourful as well!
Fabulous book, well worth every penny.
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on 13 January 2011
Mastering Arabic Grammar (Palgrave Masters Series (Languages))and Mastering Arabic Book and 2 CD pack (Palgrave Master Series (Languages))
If you want to learn arabic you can count on this course, it is awesome!! Very straight forward, easy to understand, I am looking forward to buying Book 2. Seriously this is the best arabic course, much better written than teach yourself series!!
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on 20 June 2012
I agree with the other reviewers: this is a very good resource with decent explanations, progression, chapter delineation, and all the rest. It does not teach script though, so beware you will need to know and be familiar with Arabic script.

However something that I found very frustrating was that despite being a learner's book the vowelling was rarely present in the activities which if you don't have a photographic memory means you will be looking in a dictionary often which slows you down and interrupts you, something that I did not expect given the on the face of it well designed vocabulary progression. In addition, frequently new words are introduced into the exercises without vowelling or prior introduction which I found a frustrating editorial error, showing perhaps that while Arabic speakers and professionals may have looked at it, actual learners have not! Other reviewers may disagree, but I do not subscribe to old-fashioned views on language teaching that like inconveniences such as putting all the vocabulary in the back of the book in a glossary instead of with the text that think such things are good to 'encourage' you to learn the vocabulary. There is no glossary to this book either, another flaw I feel that hampers progress through the book that could have easily been added. As such I felt the vowelling was inconsistent, sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn't. Maybe it's not much, but I found it very annoying while going through the book. McGraw Hill Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar has no such problems for presenting the essentials, though it has no exercises unfortunately, always very important.

As a final note, it does not contain all the necessary elements of Arabic grammar, but I won't mark it down for that, since that is probably outside the purview of such an introductory work.

I still recommend this text as an introduction that no doubt has no betters on the market, but get a good dictionary. Good online Arabic dictionaries don't seem to exist.
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on 7 July 2014
I first met these authors when I borrowed their Michel Thomas' CDs on the Arabic language. Now I am tackling the written word and struggling. This book, partly, no doubt because I learned to trust these authors, is still a struggle, but well worth using, for me slowly, with a lot of repetition. If you have found other books on this subject fo0xing, try this.
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on 9 April 2013
This is an essential book for anyone wanting to master Arabic grammar.For a complete beginner it would be quite dry and intense,but very rewarding.
It quickly introduces the concept of the Arabic root system, which once you have grasped it,greatly helps in recognising a family of related words.
I highly recommend also buying the companion text book "Mastering Arabic",by the same authors,to get the CD that accompanies it.The language then comes alive with imaginative scenes created,with Arabic dialogue, to reinforce what you learn from the textbook.And the text content of the latter book is more approachable,interesting and often quite amusing.
It is a beautiful language and I'm sure after making progress through these two books you will be as inspired as I am to learn more about the Arab world and its people.
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on 21 August 2013
Wightwich and Gaafar simply never fail! This is, I think, the 5th of their products which I have bought and I have found it to be incredibly useful. All of the chapters are laid out in a simple to use way and explain exactly what you need to know without using laborious vocabulary. Each grammar point is well explained and I have found it to be a great aid for grammar practice. It is worth noting also that the activities are useful as well!
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on 25 January 2011
I love this book, the explanations are very good, it's got vowelling as well as transliterations, and includes all those most important facts about Arabic grammar!
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on 19 December 2008
Absolutely great book. Makes things clear, understable and easy to earn. Perfect combination with the 'Mastering Arabic Language'.
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on 10 September 2013
This book is very nicely laid out and the presentation is helpful. It is useful for both beginners and those who are already familiar with the language to some extent and aim to develop it further. It introduces basic grammar right from the beginning and builds up as you go through the chapters.
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