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Practice Makes Perfect Arabic Vocabulary: With 145 Exercises (NTC Foreign Language) Paperback – 1 Dec 2012
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About the Author
Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar are experienced language instructors, authors, and developers of language learning materials.
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Top customer reviews
Back to the book now: this is a book that will allow you to practice the vocabulary that you know and pick up new words. Not all of them are useful (I really don't like cooking, so the arabic word for parsley will not be that useful to me), but there are enough words there for the readers to choose the ones that best correspond to their needs. Also, the exercises can be genuinely funny and fun (thank you authors for using charm and intelligence!). This is a companion book and cannot be used as a main textbook, but in reality, it is the exact kind of book that arabic learners needed. With the lack of quality materials to support students of arabic, this series is a breath of fresh air and should encourage more printing houses to follow suit. God knows we need more books that will allow students to focus on different aspects of language learning and give them the change to practice again and again through engaging exercises concepts that can be tricky or completely boring, but essential. And more easy reader books please: they are useful for both beginners and advanced students who find reading a one-page text on the Ottoman Empire completely exhausting, but would like to practice simpler vocabulary to gain fluency.
What is most disturbing about the book is cultural ignorance. Apparently the authors have lived in a rather liberal Arabic speaking country, and they present this version of Arab culture as the only version. This is unfortunate because it misleads students who did not visit Arab countries, and take the book as an authority. For example, the description of marriage does not apply to Gulf Arab countries, where it is usually the mothers who fix the marriages. Another example: many of the exercises in the text are about an old fashioned, Western style love story, where the man is in love with a beautiful woman and takes her to restaurants etc. Such public pre-marital relationships are not appropriate in the Gulf in most families. A third example: an exercise in the book is about writing a dating advertisement. In the Gulf there are no dating advertisements in newspapers or magazines. In the exercise the Arab man writes: "I am looking for blond women". Well, I am a blond woman, yet I would like to ask how many Arab women are, so why would an Arab man write he is looking for blond women in a dating advertisement in an Arabic country? Because of the above reasons, I find this book culturally ignorant - ignorant in a way that it presents the culture of the Western minded Mediterranean Arabic speaking countries as The Arab Culture, ignoring half of the Arabic speaking population, namely the Gulf, which, by the way, is where from Arabic language originates.
Both in terms of cultural awareness and pedagogical efficiency I expected more from McGrawHill, which is a trusted name in education. However, since there is a shortage of Arabic materials, I may recommend buying this book. A better tool, however, is Easy Arabic Reader and the accompanying listening option in the McGrawHill website.
There needs to be more competition in Arabic publishing. Gaafar, Wightwick and Burstad have written almost all the materials. Are there only three people in this world who know how to teach Arabic?