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Customer Review

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books available for learning Arabic, 20 July 2010
This review is from: Complete Arabic: Teach Yourself (Book/CD Pack) (Paperback)
Below is my review of the previous edition of this book, titled "Teach Yourself Arabic." My only criticism is that the book is paperback, so falls apart after heavy use, which was why I went along to a bookshop to look for a new copy of "Teach Yourself Arabic." This book, although it has a different title, is substantially the same as the previous "Teach Yourself Arabic" and my review of the previous edition still applies.

It would be a splendid thing indeed were our world such that we could learn a language by studying one book and no more, and it would be even better were our world such that merely buying a language book be sufficient to master a new language. However, the actual world we live in is one where learning a new language requires a significant effort, and anyone seriously wanting to learn a new language, at any level beyond a few stock phrases, will understand that they need several books rather than just one.

This book is an excellent one to have as part of your collection, if you are serious about learning Arabic. It is one of the best books available, especially for self-study. This is because the contents are well structured and the student is never expected to know anything that has not been covered already, which sets it apart from many other popular books, including the Al Kitaab series (Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya). One reviewer says that the transliteration is a distraction. Maybe, but there is Arabic script throughout and my own experience is that with time one soon learns to ignore the transliteration, but some colleagues of mine who do not intend to learn the Arabic script like having the transliteration. Another reviewer says that there is not enough vocabulary in this book. It has 26 pages of double column dictionary in the back, 13 of Arabic to English and 13 of English to Arabic. A serious student will always need a good dictionary, one for each direction. The best I have found so far are Hans Wehr for Arabic-English, and the Oxford English to Arabic.

If you are serious about learning the language then it is definitely worth getting this book together with the CDs.

I am not a linguist, but I am succeeding in learning to read and write Arabic and this book is one of my main resources, together with its accompanying CD. Other books I find valuable are: Schulz et.al _Standard Arabic_, _Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic_, Dasouqi _Arabic Reading, Writing and Speaking_, the Cambridge _Elementary Modern Standard Arabic_, the Asterix and Obelix cartoon books in Arabic, Ladybird books in Arabic, the iPhone app from Declan Software _Arabic Flash Cards_, the iStudy iPhone app "Arabic Alphabet", and Badawi et al _Modern Written Arabic_, together with the audio tapes wherever they exist and flash cards showing verb declensions by Dr. Imran H Alawiye _Gateway to Arabic_. I also use the two dictionaries listed above, together with Google Translate and some of the iPhone app dictionaries.

I also believe that this book is exceptionally good because I gave a copy to an employee of mine at the start of a flight from London to Dubai, and by the time we landed she was speaking a few phrases of Arabic. The employee is a professional linguist, but even so, not bad from a standing start.

Overall, this is one of the very best books you can buy for learning Arabic, based on my experience of trying over twenty of the main contenders.

(And if Amazon had not stripped it out, I would have finished this review by typing in Arabic atakallam araby, fil mish-mish.) Good luck - it's a wonderful language!
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Initial post: 25 Feb 2012 13:54:20 GMT
Thank you for a very helpful review!
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