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Customer Review

on 9 October 2009
I've started learning Arabic at evening classes and I am now a good few weeks in and my grasp of the language is improving. I thought that I would supplement my learning with a 'beginners' textbook. I saw this book online, titled "Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners" and bought it expecting exactly that... a beginners textbook to Arabic. As the other reviewer of this item points out, this is NOT for beginners at all.

For example, I turned to Chapter 1, Lesson 1 and was greeted with five solid untranslated lines of Arabic before the first English sentence told me "Prepositions usually acquire specific meanings from the context in which they are used. In the passage above, the preposition (book shows an arabic word in arabic script) means "on" and (book shows an arabic word in arabic script) means "in"... The prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition (shows arabic letter) added to the noun (more unexplained arabic letters) "side"......."

Er, hang on a second... What about giving me a list of letters of the alphabet, or perhaps telling me how to say "hello" or "how are you"? I don't want to dive straight into the preposition structure of a language that is new to me and very complex! The arabic words aren't even transliterated to help you try to work out how they sound. You're just hit with a line of arabic script (tricky to understand as a 'beginner') and then the English equivalent.

I'm sure this book is excellent for a more advanced student, and the layout and content does look VERY comprehensive. I don't doubt that it will be of use to me in a year or so, but right now, having bought it under the impression it was for BEGINNERS, I have to give it 1 star because it is not what it says it is.

I'll just leave you with a sample of the lesson given on page 31 (hardly any distance into the book)... "An idafa structure is made up of two or more nouns that occur in succession. The first noun is the thing prossessed and is the main noun of the phrase. The second noun is always in the genitive case (marked by a single or double kasra). The first noun is always indefinite; the second noun may be definite or indefinite..."

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