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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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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.
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on 20 July 2010
Below is my review of the previous edition of this book, titled "Teach Yourself Arabic." My only criticism is that the book is paperback, so falls apart after heavy use, which was why I went along to a bookshop to look for a new copy of "Teach Yourself Arabic." This book, although it has a different title, is substantially the same as the previous "Teach Yourself Arabic" and my review of the previous edition still applies.

It would be a splendid thing indeed were our world such that we could learn a language by studying one book and no more, and it would be even better were our world such that merely buying a language book be sufficient to master a new language. However, the actual world we live in is one where learning a new language requires a significant effort, and anyone seriously wanting to learn a new language, at any level beyond a few stock phrases, will understand that they need several books rather than just one.

This book is an excellent one to have as part of your collection, if you are serious about learning Arabic. It is one of the best books available, especially for self-study. This is because the contents are well structured and the student is never expected to know anything that has not been covered already, which sets it apart from many other popular books, including the Al Kitaab series (Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya). One reviewer says that the transliteration is a distraction. Maybe, but there is Arabic script throughout and my own experience is that with time one soon learns to ignore the transliteration, but some colleagues of mine who do not intend to learn the Arabic script like having the transliteration. Another reviewer says that there is not enough vocabulary in this book. It has 26 pages of double column dictionary in the back, 13 of Arabic to English and 13 of English to Arabic. A serious student will always need a good dictionary, one for each direction. The best I have found so far are Hans Wehr for Arabic-English, and the Oxford English to Arabic.

If you are serious about learning the language then it is definitely worth getting this book together with the CDs.

I am not a linguist, but I am succeeding in learning to read and write Arabic and this book is one of my main resources, together with its accompanying CD. Other books I find valuable are: Schulz et.al _Standard Arabic_, _Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic_, Dasouqi _Arabic Reading, Writing and Speaking_, the Cambridge _Elementary Modern Standard Arabic_, the Asterix and Obelix cartoon books in Arabic, Ladybird books in Arabic, the iPhone app from Declan Software _Arabic Flash Cards_, the iStudy iPhone app "Arabic Alphabet", and Badawi et al _Modern Written Arabic_, together with the audio tapes wherever they exist and flash cards showing verb declensions by Dr. Imran H Alawiye _Gateway to Arabic_. I also use the two dictionaries listed above, together with Google Translate and some of the iPhone app dictionaries.

I also believe that this book is exceptionally good because I gave a copy to an employee of mine at the start of a flight from London to Dubai, and by the time we landed she was speaking a few phrases of Arabic. The employee is a professional linguist, but even so, not bad from a standing start.

Overall, this is one of the very best books you can buy for learning Arabic, based on my experience of trying over twenty of the main contenders.

(And if Amazon had not stripped it out, I would have finished this review by typing in Arabic atakallam araby, fil mish-mish.) Good luck - it's a wonderful language!
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on 13 March 2014
This course comes with a large paperback book (400+ pages) and two CDs. I've been doing it for two weeks and I'm enjoying it, and feel I can already say quite a few basic phrases in Modern Standard Arabic. The CD really adds to it, and I would definitely say that if you are going to buy this course, then buy it with the CDs (instead of just the book), as Arabic pronunciation and phonology is very different from any Indo-European language, and this is where the CDs become essential. The book aims to give you a B2 level in Arabic by the end of the course.

The only thing I'd say is that there is a slight focus towards listening and speaking rather than towards reading and writing. I personally value these skills as much as listening and speaking when learning a language, and although the Arabic is given, the transliteration of the Arabic (the Arabic word in Latin script) seems to be preferred by this course. I would also advise that as Arabic is so different from any European language, vocabulary can take a while to sink in as there is no similarity, that you write down the new vocabulary in each unit and make sure you know it well before progressing to the next unit.

As a whole, I've been really impressed by this course, and look forward to keep working my way through the course. Bittawfiq!
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on 25 June 2017
Having bought this set and then attempting to follow the course I found it had very limited use. Although the book contains a lot of information on grammar and is clearly presented, I was dissappointed that there was so little online support. The audio counterpart again contained information but I did not find it particularly accesible. Ultimately the resource can be useful if used in conjunction with other online resources (youtube can actually be quite helpful for basic pronunciations and phonetics!) but the product is, in my opinion, considerably overpriced.
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on 18 July 2017
Poor quality
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on 2 September 2013
Learning Arabic on one's own is a challenge, but this clearly-written guide is most helpful and, together with the audio, it has enabled me to make good progress.
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on 2 November 2014
Very impressed so far it is better than the Read and Write Arabic. You definitely need to purchase the cds as well.
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on 10 January 2014
This is fantastic - I bought it as an extra Christmas present for my husband as he had mentioned in passing that he would love to study arabic. He was surprised and delighted.
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on 29 November 2015
This book is very detailed (almost 500 pages) and does exactly what it says ,ie. every thing you need to speak read and write Arabic
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on 1 April 2015
Very well structured leaning course
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