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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a "student grammar", 26 Sep 2012
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This review is from: A Student Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic (Paperback)
I must have missed something the other reviewers didn't because this book is, in my opinion, definitely NOT a student guide, and it is definitely NOT user-friendly. I'm sorry but a sentence like "active and passive participles are frequently used in Arabic language for expressing so-called shortened relative clauses by taking a subject or an object while being employed as attributive adjuncts related to nouns" is NOT an "accessible grammar [that] provides a concise and user-friendly guide... using familiar terminology and keeping theory to a minimum." What a joke. And believe me this was one of the more sensible sentences. I've studied linguistics at postgraduate level and even I was confused by some of the terminology, so the average person who in good faith buys this book is going to be completely put off before he or she even begins. There's no excuse for this in this day and age. Just because Arabic hasn't been taught traditionally in Europe doesn't mean you should approach it in any way differently from the way French or German grammar is presented. 80% of the book is all about derivation of words, i.e. the formation of new words - now this is great and interesting and a very traditional part of Arabic linguistics but a beginner doesn't need to know it! Especially since, as this book admits, the verbs of different "forms" have been lexicalised anyway! Just learn them as individual words. It's like learning the rule for forming words like "informative" and "information" from "inform" before you even learn anything else in English! Just because traditional Arabic grammar does this does not mean to say it's the best way of presenting it to a student. Now, the level of detail is great and I'm sure Arab linguists will find this book very useful - but my big gripe is DON'T then try to mis-sell it as a "student grammar" or an "accessible guide". Because it isn't.
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