Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
on 23 April 2011
I received this today but in just a few hours I'm already well on my way to being able to use the alphabet, can greet people in a number of different ways and have a better understanding of the language and the Middle Eastern and North African cultures. If you have used a Teach Yourself book before you'll be familiar to the high quality of their courses and this is upheld here. From first impressions the speed of the course is very fast, as you'd expect from a small book promising to take beginners up to A level proficiency; the dense and concise nature of the text means you cover many critical points within each page. This does mean you can accidentally skip important points quite easily but revising each chapter a number of times is recommended anyway.
I would recommend buying the CD edition of this book because of the significant differences between Arabic and English: you can get away with just the book for French, German, Italian etc but for a language so alien I would recommend the CD or, if possible, a native Arabic speaker: conveying the difference between daal and dhaal is nigh on impossible to convey without sound, but the explanation here without the CD is sufficiently, if not immediately, clear.
The book itself is sturdy and clear, with a fairly large font size and the odd picture to break up the text. It is printed in blank and white (unlike the other TY course I own, Italian) but this doesn't detract from the quality of the printing.
In conclusion if you are looking to study Arabic at your own speed this is a very clear but well paced in-depth course: you are rather plunged in very quickly there is nothing to stop you taking as long as you need for every paragraph. For what it does, namely making you almost fluent, this is very well priced book and I would recommend it completely; however do think about buying the book and CD combo for the reasons explained above.
EDIT For pronunciation of the alphabet, at least, go to the BBC Languages website, they have a very good guide to the Arabic alphabet.