Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya - A Textbook for Beginning Arabic: Part One (Paperback, Third Edition) (Arabic Edition) (Arabic) Third Edition
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"A practical textbook well suited for Arabic teaching and learning." ― MELA Notepad
From the Publisher
Mahmoud Al-Batal is a professor of Arabic at the American University of Beirut.
Abbas Al-Tonsi is a former senior lecturer at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.
- Publisher : Georgetown University Press; Third edition (July 26, 2011)
- Language : Arabic
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1589017366
- ISBN-13 : 978-1589017368
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 1.9 pounds
- Dimensions : 10.81 x 8.39 x 0.61 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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To start with, as other reviewers mentioned, the jump between Alif Baa (the first book in the series) and this one is just way too big. We covered Alif Baa in the first semester and it basically taught us how to read, write, and pronounce Arabic, which was fine. We got a few phrases and learned the names of some of the grammatical marks. We learned the voweling. That was fine. But, when you open Al-Kitaab, everything in the table of contents is in Arabic, even though it's almost all words you won't have been introduced to yet. One of the first exercises asks you to question your classmate about certain aspects of their life, when that requires vocabulary you won't have and a knowledge of Arabic sentence structure that you won't have.
I'm also really agitated about how unorganized this book is. There is no unified area to look at pronoun charts, conjugation charts, or plural charts. It's introduced sporadically throughout the text. It would be better to have it in an index. In other cases, you're given the conjugation of a verb like "I memorize", "he reads" as vocabulary words, but you're not given the full conjugation chart so you know how to use it for more than just that one conjugation. Of course, you could go back through the whole text to see if it was explained somewhere, but that's a crap way of doing things.
Really, without a teacher to explain things clearly, this book would be completely useless. COMPLETELY USELESS. And a complete waste of money. If you don't need this for a class, DO NOT BUY IT.
Between the end of Spring Semester and Fall Semester (3rd level of Arabic), I'm going to have to review so I don't forget all the Arabic I've learned, but I'm going to have to do that with other materials, because this book wouldn't do anything but frustrate me.
Edit: I'm now in my 3rd semester of Arabic, still using this book. Every time I open this book I get angry. Very angry. It's extremely confusing and the way grammatical concepts are introduced is ridiculous. They either say too little or too much and then jump right into something else. It's absurd. I had to re-read the two pages on fronted predicates 4 times and then go ask a native speaker before I understood what it means and how it's supposed to be used. I had to get help from outside the book to figure out what musaadar are and how they work, and now I'm sitting here looking at an exercise (on pg 155) asking me to ask "...who should be able to join the army". We haven't learned the vocabulary for "should be able to", so how the hell am I supposed to ask this question? Why am I being asked to do something that hasn't been introduced yet? Another complaint I have is that there just aren't enough reading exercises in the book. The easiest way to learn usage and grammar is through exposure, for me at least, and there's just really not a lot to read in this book. I'm not a bad student. My GPA hovers around a 3.9. This book is just terrible, and it's affected my academic performance.
First--and probably my main complaint--the vocabulary is strange. That is to say, it's not particularly useful for many students. The first chapter is called "I live in New York". The vocabulary includes words like "The United Nations" and "Translator". It's not to say that they are not useful just that for beginning-level classes it's a bit dense and impractical.
Second, the step-up from "Alif Baa'" is steep. Generally there are no haraket and the reading passages are often given without context. Depending on the professor, this can be alleviated but not all professors give ample explanation of the passages.
Third, the accompanying audios are often difficult to understand. This was an issue with "Alif Baa'" and it continues with "Al Kitaab".
What is useful about the book however is that while it presents the fus7a versions of all vocabulary, it also provides levantine and egyptian dialect words as well--so if you're planning on continuing beyond Al Kitab you will have a little experience with dialect.
Unfortunately, this is one of the only textbooks for Arabic which is accepted in US universities so regardless of how good or bad the book is there's nothing that can be done.
Top reviews from other countries
The grammar sections are really of low level, practically unusable, the sample sentences are not translated, for example. The book uses Arabic grammar terms, which are total waste of time to learn vs the standard terms used in the excellent grammars.
The book is reverse paged, which is meaningless for basically a textbook which has 50% English text. A vast majority of exercises are only for classroom use, even there their effectiveness is questionable.
A huge portion of the book in this regard is totally useless. There are no transcripts for the videos, a shame for an expensive book like this. The idea to combine MSA, ECA and Levantine in the same book seemed ok at first, but eventually not a great idea at all in practice. Even my oldish J.R. Smart Teach Yourself Arabic book (no videos and audio unfortunately) has at least five times more real contents than this gigantic and heavy book with its separate booklet for keys.
I am thinking of what I loved in this book. The quality of the print and the paper was outstanding.