Customer Review

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 
This review is from: Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners (with DVD and CD) (Book DVD & CD) (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Dec 2009 14:49:50 GMT
Luis Morais says:
I do believe T. Traveler has a point here but not in the sense of the quality of the book and method. It is expected that one learns the Arabic alphabet before they venture into a coursebook, the problem is that very few books tell that upfront so that one can just lower their expectations a bit and start the learning journey the right way.

Amazon doesn't help it either as their description of books can be dreadful, mostly if it is a book being sold from the back of the van via their Marketplace.

Nevertheless, once one learns the alphabet, one will be begging for books that do not transliterate every single sentence to latin characters just after the Arabic. So keep this comment in perspective considering how much you know of the Arabic alphabet. Also, don't rely in just one coursebook; I have used 2, 3, 4 and even 5 different books and methodologies for everything: 2 books for learning the alphabet, 3 grammars, 2 computer based courses, 1 audio only course (Michel Thomas, really good), etc... If one book doesn't make sense then another will.

Now that I have finished learning the alphabet with Alif-Baa by Georgetown University, I will get a copy of this book and DVDs in Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2010 16:31:24 BDT
Bones says:
I agree. The quality is unquestionable and I didn't intend for that to be in doubt. I just found it to have been mis-sold to me as something a "beginner" (a relative term, in all fairness) would be able to use. If you have advanced a little way, I'm sure the book will be of great use.
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