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Standard Arabic: An Elementary-Intermediate Course Paperback – August 10, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0521774659 ISBN-10: 0521774659 Edition: Revised

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Standard Arabic: An Elementary-Intermediate Course + Standard Arabic: An Advanced Course + Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, 2E (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 653 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Revised edition (August 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521774659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521774659
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This text is the most comprehensive and thoroughly designed work of its kind. Students of Arabic may benefit much by the time they absorb its contents, and their knowledge of Arabic will increase immensely since the authors really want students to learn how to communicate in the language." Northeast Conference Review

Book Description

This book presents a comprehensive foundation course for beginning students of written and spoken Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). A step-by-step guide to understanding Arabic texts, it enables the student to develop conversational ability as well as reading and writing skills. It includes up-to-date data on the Middle East and North Africa, an Arabic-English glossary containing 2600 entries, a variety of exercises, and a key. Accompanying cassettes are also available. This long-established and successful text has been completely revised for English-speaking learners, and will prove invaluable to students and teachers alike.

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Customer Reviews

The cassettes are a useful addition to the book.
Amazon Customer
I would skip over a lot of the reading in it, though, because sometimes the monotony of it would be enough to make my hair fall out, and I don't want to be going bald!
I am not sure how effective they are, given the time that they require.
J. Sebastian Pagani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kiro on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a 5-star book, but basically all that means is it's the best on the market for general needs. This has been adapated from a German text, and the perfect Arabic textbook for English speakers doesn't appear to exist yet, but Standard is very close. Follow it up with the advanced version in the series (mostly texts but very good selections). This is what classrooms should be using, most opt for either the Big Orange Book or Al-kitaab fii Ta'allum Al-'Arabiyya. With a teacher, this book is better than either.

Moreover Standard Arabic is most likely the best tool for self-study out there, and this is the context in which I've used it. However I recommend the reader have some exposure to arabic beforehand, especially with script as Standard's biggest shortcoming is a lack of transliteration (which has created ambiguities such as whether a waaw is to be read as a consonant or a vowel)

This is NOT a straight grammar, and there are probably better reference texts for MSA out there, however one of the appendices is devoted to 47-pages of paradigms, and there are comprehensive subject indices in Arabic and English but you will have to do a lot of flipping.

The only audio available with this book is cassettes (unless there is a new edition somewhere). This is simply a very concice lesson book in the modern style of language teaching.

For self-study, Al-Kitab will get you there (books 1 and 2), however the only advantage are the DVDs, and the Advanced Standard goes places the second Al-Kitab doesn't. Also Al-Kitab gets far more revisions so it is possible it will be improved, at the moment Standard is much more complete, contains more excercies, and is half the price.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Scooter on January 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I wrote the first review of this book above, before I started using it for study, and I've had to abandon it midway through. It is extremely academic in terms of introducing grammar and syntax points, and almost unreadable unless you're a linguist with a firm command of linguistic terms. It is extremely thorough in terms of grammar, syntax and even some prounciation notes, but more of a reference than a text for self-study, given the very dry tone. Also, lessons have extremely long word lists (sometimes as many as 100 new words in a lesson) which can be impossible to memorize in one large chunk, and very overwhelming. Without knowing the word lists, you can't even read the example texts or do the exercises, making study of one lesson very long. Some of the words on the lists are absolutely useless or mind-boggling as to why they included them... Good as a reference text to have on hand, but for actual study, stick with the Munther Younes books (Cornell prof, Yale Publishing.)
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. Sebastian Pagani on January 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I love learning languages and yet this book is little fun. I compared books on the shelf at the bookstore and this one seemed to be the most complete book for learning Arabic available. It is however extremely unfriendly, and not meant for self study; this becomes eveident soon, very soon.

Purely as a reference tool it is too cumbersome, and I can't say that it is very complete. More than one example to accompany grammatical and syntactical points would be welcome.

The things that make the book unfriendly to the student are several but as a self learner these are the most salient and annoying:

(1) THE STRUCTURE OF THE INDIVIDUAL LESSONS: All new grammar in each lesson is presented first, and then followed by long vocabulary lists, followed in turn by two texts for reading, and then numerous exercises. The exercises are dry and take forever to get through. I am not sure how effective they are, given the time that they require. I find that I get bogged down in each lesson and am eager to get on to something new in the next lesson about half way through the exercises.

There is in this structure no link between the new grammar presented in the lesson and the exercises included with it. They are separate compartments grouped under a common heading, so that the student is forced to learn a bunch of grammar and syntax and then take it with him and apply his knowledge to the exercises afterwards. For instance, taking lesson 6 as an example, the student learns the genitive construction, then the affixed pronouns (which serve as personal pronouns when attached to nouns, direct objects of personal pronouns when attached to prepositions and verbs), included in the presentation of this material are peculiarities of spelling and pronunciation in their use.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By ms. coupal on November 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
"A noun cannot only be defined more closely by an attributive adjective, but also by a subsequent noun in the genitive. The relation of both nouns to each other is that of a governing noun (nomen regens) to an attributive adjunct(nomen rectum) in the function..."
If that makes sense to you, and you can use instructions like that to construct sentences, this book will be very helpful to you. It is fairly comprehensive and moves quickly. However, for the rest of us, the dense grammar terminology and the otherwise bewildering presentation of concepts require too much time deciphering the authors' English- much less utilizing it for learning Arabic! Not recommended for teaching yourself.
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