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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I absolutely LOVE every thing that Jane Whitewick puts out. She makes learning Arabic easy and less stressful; especially the grammar! I had an "aha" moment when just thumbing thru her book BEFORE I even bought it on a Arabic grammar issue I had been trying to figure out for 18 months! I have to admit, that Jane's super strong British accent is kinda a distraction when hearing her speak and Mahmoud sounds kinda bizarre talking like a proper English gent sitting down to tea vs. the Arab he is; but after a while, you get over it. She knows how to rock a language and get you to learn it. She has done a recording for Arabic for the Michel Thomas Method and I have to say, because I found out it was her doing the lessons is why I bought it---she really knows her stuff. If you are desiring to learn Arabic with some ease and less stress, then I recommend you searching Amazon and buy all her books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I got this book because I wanted to start studying Arabic. It has been a good start because it helps you to say things without really trying to teach you anything complicated. It also teaches you practical vocabulary for common situations. Thus far, I am about half-way through and can already say a good amount in Arabic. The audio CD provides good guidance. However, if one is very interested in proper pronunciation, the man, a native Arabic speaker, has a perfect accent while Jane Wightwick has quite an obvious English accent in Arabic (as far as I know, her intonation is correct, which is the most important thing at this point). However, from the standpoint of an English-speaker, a lot of the sounds in Arabic are quite comparable to those of English and are only subtly different, but those subtle differences play a large role in foreign accents. The two of them split the task of pronouncing the Arabic words, so some audio has the English accent and some doesn't. The games and activities are helpful. This book is a good beginning but does not provide any detailed grammar information. The grammar is very basic, but the point of the book is to help the student start "communicating right away", which it achieves quite well. The book focuses on nouns and adjectives, not really touching on verbs at all (verbs are quite complicated in Arabic and it would not make sense to include them in a beginner's book). Vocabulary is presented in short lists, which is the most effective way to approach vocabulary. As far as reading goes, I would recommend first buying a guide to Arabic handwriting instead of relying on this book to start reading Arabic. I am glad to have found this product.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found this method to be just the right level of challenge for a beginner. The vocabulary words presented are useful and the pace is easy, but quick enough to keep one's focus and the voices of the presenters are warm and friendly.

This set comprising a book and accompanying CD has given me the motivation and the confidence to continue studying Arabic. It's a great way to have a peek into the language, with no emphasis on Islam, as there sometimes is with other methods.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Program starts with words that are not used frequently. I felt it was not helpful for someone like me who is just a beginner. CD is not useful, I expected there would be basic vocabulary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book has some positives for the beginner. It is so-so for anyone using it for travel because, though useful, there is not an emphasis on travel-related phrases (eg. couldn't find "bathroom/restroom" anywhere in the book). Also, I think it would be helpful to include the orthographic (short vowels) information to make pronunciation easier. The audio CD's are nice, but very limited. Readers should recognize that there are wide-spread differences in aspects of the language used in different parts of the Arabic-speaking world, and not just in pronunciation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
this is an excellent book (workbook) for MSA beginners. This book makes it fun with games, flashcards and more. It comes with a CD which is excellent as well. Good pronounciation with good quality recording. A must have.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When I first opened this book, I thought some of the pages had been torn out. If you are entirely unfamiliar with Arabic, you have absolutely no idea what you're looking at. The attached audio CD is a little helpful, but the sounds are not clear enough for a beginner to understand. I'm glad I bought an Arabic alphabet book with this, or I would have no idea what I was reading. That being said, the book does provide some useful words and phrases that make it worthwhile. Not the best language book I've ever seen, but certainly not the worst, either.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Unfortunately, this book quickly went on to my "Books I Regretted Buying" shelf. You will quickly tire of this book. Yes, it is for beginners, but, If you're serious about learning arabic, buy the first book in the Alif Baa series that teaches you the arabic alphabet. You will be better off, learn some vocabulary, and buy one less book on your arabic journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Arabic is difficult, not only because so many sounds are subtle and different for non-native speakers to hear, but also because the grammatical structure is wholly different from Indo-european languages. _Read and Speak Arabic for Beginners_ attempts to address with, with limited success.

The text is pretty rudimentary - its 8 chapters focus on your name and where you're from, what things are (primarily towards ordering food), where things are (and adjectives), transportation and getting direction and a little bit on the genitive (possessive) case. Because of this organization, there is no explanation of grammar - its unnecessasary becasuse the questions and answers are entirely rote. On one hand this expedites communication, but on the other, once you're "off script" it is impossible to really communicate. That said, once you've finished the 8 chapters, you'll have a solid working vocabulary of a little over 100 words.

The CD that is included is a bit difficult to follow - especially for those who have no prior ear for Arabic. The greatest issue I have with the text, however, is that it doesn't address any of the dialects in the Arab speaking world (there are almost two dozen) - these dialects are not mutually understandable, which can be problematic. While it is considerably more expensive, for those beginners to Arabic, I recommend Ultimate Arabic Beginner-Intermediate (Book only) (LL Ultimate Basic-Intermed).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
With apologies to the guy who bought this thinking after 5 minutes he'd be fluent in Arabic, this is a good, small investment to see if you want to continue with the language. It's not going to get you much more than the basics. There's about 150 words and phrases total so Arabian Nights it is not. But what I like is it isn't just a word list (though I would've liked a word list....) you'll learn how to combine the words into meaningful sentences pretty quickly. The lessons are interesting and you really will learn enough to get your interest up. I've been working in a notebook, by the way, so as not to write in the book.

The CD is of good quality and the actors are clear. Other CD makers should take a lesson from this book: Many accompanying CD's do not have English translations while this does, and those with English do not give enough time between the word and the translation to let me think. I can put it in my car on my commute and feel like I'm learning something. It's not as involved as Pimsleur but still very useful. My biggest gripe is I'm not clear where to go from here. It would be nice if there was a "Read and Speak" for Beginner II as I like the series but have to move on. So I just bought "Mastering Arabic I and II" by the same authors. I should also add that I'm into my 6th month of formal classes and use the Al Kitaab series for the class and use these other books for review and filling in other words.
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