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on 22 October 2013
I bought this book and the accompanying CDs to determine how difficult it might be to learn arabic for holiday use. Having had no knowledge of arabic before, I have found it exceedingly hard work. It is certainly by no means intuitive and trying to write at the same time as learn the language really is not for the casual tripper.

This might be a useful textbook for a taught course but for the lone learner it is daunting in the extreme. In addition to the other comments criticising the format, I found the arabic script, in many places, at the limit of resolution of my reading glasses. Thus, trying to write when not exactly clear what the superscripts and subsripts actually were, meant that one could never be 100% sure whether one was correct.

For someone who needs arabic to function (living or working) struggling through this might be an option. I shall look for something else and may return when I have some better idea of what I need to know. Definitely, this is not the course for someone who wants to be able to take the occasional holiday week in an arabic speaking country!
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on 27 November 2012
I've started on this but am finding it hard work.

The reason is that it immediately drops you into writing and learning a new alphabet, before building any sort of vocabulary - i.e. you are learning the letters without a context or practical use for them. Personally I find this approach a bit of a reverse in the natural order of things (kids point and get the word for a dog before knowing what writing even is).

For me, it makes it very difficult to feel any real progress or to use any of what you have learnt - words I see in the street (I work in the Middle East) contain a number of letters I don't know yet, so I can read a little bit of what I see but can't understand anything. It's a bit frustrating to say the least.

I assume that this will improve as I progress (or if I'd put in a more concerted effort more quickly), but it makes motivating myself harder than, for example, a model where I learned some basic conversation, greetings, numbers and common purchases first.

The choice seems very limited for self-education in Arabic at an affordable price, so this may well be the best book out there. But be aware that you will need some motivation in order to build up momentum at the start at least.

I think I'm going to buy the children's picture based vocab book also available here to work on alongside, so at least I can learn how to order a chicken shwarma before how to read or write it.
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on 3 August 2014
I'm finding this hard going. Still only learning the various letters of the alphabet after several sessions. Find the inclusion of conversation involving letters not learnt yet not very helpful and exercises involving words which are only met later at the end of the lesson in the vocabulary list. Would also have liked more handwriting practice pieces and more repetition of the spoken word on the CD. Found the extracts on the family particularly irritating as the speaker was imitating a child's voice which made it less clear. For a complete novice, hearing the distinctions between the various pronunciations of similar sounding letters is hard enough. However, I shall persevere.
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on 24 November 2013
in September I started an Arabic course, the teacher suggested this book as an help at home, it's very clear and helpful !

you may have problems if you're studying by yourself and English is not your first language: Arabic is very phonetic, so probably you write the sounds differently from the English!

if you speak the Mediterranean languages(portougese spanish, italian and french) Arabic will be easier because it influenced by those languages and there are many similarities(like masculine and feminine words)

My native language is italian (and I speak spanish) so at school I learn fast and easily, at home, alone with the book, I get confused sometimes!
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on 16 January 2014
The audio CD contains numbered .cda files and frankly I had a problem playing them. The book provides no reference to the audio files except a simple CD icon. Ah, but the package includes a piece of paper indicating the track list, almost like an afterhought. Don't lose it! It's incredible that publishers, editors and all those involved, can produce a book that has a problem clearly and simply matching the text with the audio - a key part of the work - and create a very weak CD (in terms of functionality). For the rest, it may well be good - but for a language course to have problems with the 2 combined items involved (book and CD, text and audio) it's not a good sign.
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on 22 May 2014
Content: The combination of audio CD and structured lessons is good. The main issue I had was learning the (sometimes very similar) pronunciations: the CD concentrates on whole words, but I would prefer to hear the syllables.

Structure: The duration of the lessons is pretty long (several hours), which tends to increase because of all the vocabulary and alphabet you accumulate. While the lessons could be shorter, I found the overall learning process good.
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on 12 March 2011
This is a very good introduction to learning Arabic, both written and spoken. The CDs include lots of careful exercises to ensure you can distinguish vital sounds. Writing the script is introduced bit by bit, and the vocabulary has been useful to me (political terms enable
you to understand news).

A few niggles - the dictionary in the back of the book is English to Arabic but not Arabic to English. It would help if the book referred to the CD track numbers for listening exercises (there's 70 tracks per CD!). And many words are introduced as examples of letters or sounds but no English translation is given which is a missed learning opportunity.

But on the whole a very useful and entertaining book.
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on 16 December 2015
As described, arrived on time. Happy with purchase. Would recommend
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on 4 March 2017
Good book and helpful in maintaining interest in learning this complicated language.
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on 7 January 2013
I bought Mastering Arabic 1 & 2 for my son who has previously spent a couple of years living in Bahrain where he picked up some basic Arabic through school friends.

He is really enjoying getting to grips with the language "properly" and is finding the book a fantastic support tool to the CD.

I investigated several similar products but was swayed by a review of someone in a similar situation to my son - i.e some existing experience of the language and it would appear that I made the right choice!
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