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Customer Review

81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed beginner's course, 18 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Mastering Arabic 1 and CD Pack (Paperback)
I do wonder if all the other glowing reviews of this book are by users who have assiduously done this course from start to finish. First, the book comes in an attractive package with the CDs. The first six lessons do a good job of teaching the Arabic script, incl. basic instructions on handwriting. Overall, they have done a good job of teaching all the main grammar points throughout the course, yet it is marred by a number of things. Despite all the pictures, the book is basically a grammar course - not enough thought has been given to the most important, useful vocabulary a beginner might need. The verb is introduced far too late, so that the derived forms, weak verbs have to be introduce all in a rush towards the end, which is terrible from a memory perspective. The weakest part however, is the concentration on political vocabulary half-way through the course. Now I can say "minister of education", "convene a meeting", yet I barely know how to communicate. Also, I do feel galled at the quite large number of errors that have gone uncorrected despite being in the second edition. This is simply sloppiness, and rather unforgivable in a course where beginners need to rely on what is written. Finally, the course is poorly indexed and some of the grammar points could be better explained.

I am on the final lesson and I won't be too sad when this is over. I do hope they've done a better job with the second book - I want to master Arabic, and this course is not making it too easy.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Apr 2011 20:33:40 BDT
ViennaGal says:
HI, I am looking to learn arabic as I will be out in the middle east doing research/field work later this year. I was very interested by the comments you made in your review. Do you have any alternate/superior recommendations for arabic courses by any chance?

Posted on 1 Sep 2011 17:03:41 BDT
Adrian says:
This course is primarily for Modern Standard Arabic, eg for reading newspapers or literature which is shown with 'pointing' and prob with a dictionary at first. If you want to speak Arabic get a course on the particular vernacular you're interested in- Egypt, the Gulf, Saudia Arabia etc. These tend to use transcriptions into Roman /Latin script to reflect local pronunciation not shown in Classical/MSA

Posted on 1 Oct 2011 03:44:39 BDT
I could not agree more. However, my Arabic is not at the point where I can notice spelling mistakes - though I think I might have found one. The format is better than anything else that has come my way, but the lack of comprehensive exercises to deal with the later verb forms (X to XII) makes finishing the book rather disappointing.

Posted on 27 Feb 2012 09:42:20 GMT
I totally agree with the comments made in the above review (Mr William Arrowsmith's). Part of the problem is that the book has clearly been compiled from lesson notes made over the years and continually altered, which means that the exercises and the answers at the back do not always correspond. There are some bizarre comments on grammar, one of which suggests the authors do not know the difference between the present tense and the infinitive. One assumes Editors are paid to know such things, this one was evidently asleep on the job.

Posted on 2 Dec 2012 23:28:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2012 23:37:38 GMT
ES says:
I have only covered the first 4 units but so far I've enjoyed the course. Although I must say, the choice of vocabulary is indeed somewhat surprising. Also, I had learnt the basics of writing before I started this book.

As I use it for self-study, what I would like to know is whether I will learn many incorrect forms if I continue, or having a reasonably good understanding of grammar in general can override the mistakes in the book.
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