- Series: Teach Yourself Language
- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 4 edition (May 14, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071627790
- ISBN-13: 978-0071627795
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Complete Arabic with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) 4th Edition
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About the Author
Jack Smart taught Arabic for 40 years.Frances Altorfer is a modern languages teacher and a regular visitor to the Gulf.
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I don't know why it says 496 pages, there aren't that many in the book--this one or the previous edition. Although, they have added a few more pages than before and it has more relevant and current items to bring it a bit more up to date, like about cell phones, laptops, and the like. At the end of each unit, they have "10 things you need to know", which is little side notes of grammar to inform you. Thankfully, they have not eliminated the Arabic script and there are no vowel markings to help you sound them out--yay! Although, for the section on telling time, they eliminated it almost entirely and changed the section citing "telling time in Standard Arabic is complicated". Huh??? It's not *that* complicated once you understand it and they explained it in the previous editions beautifully but I guess, decided it was not worth it anymore for this one. I don't want to quibble; but it made me mad because it was really a valuable thing to know and a great way to push your brain cells to thinking harder. Plus after 10-20 Arabs asking you what time it is all the time,(my experience only), it is cool to see their faces when you tell them and correctly in Arabic!
I was really harsh in review about the previous edition until I went thru the book better and understood why it was the way it was but a lot of it was justified; it just seemed messy. This edition I like much, MUCH better. Even though it is sort of the same, it isn't--lol! The setup and layout is much improved! I haven't gone completely thru the CDs yet but from what I have listened to so far, the recording is still the same. The back of the book has the usual answers to the exercises and a few new things, like the little glossary of grammar terms and a grammar summary, as a bit of a refresher for those of us who have been out of school for quite awhile and need to remember what a verb or past participle is. It is not complete or cover all the grammar in the book but hits on the main grammatical points and that's enough. You will not regret buying this book if you have not done so already and if you already have the previous edition, it would be nice to have this one just to replace your old falling apart one! This is a good MSA course and you will learn a lot, especially if you have no Arabic knowledge already but remember, nothing replaces hard work and USING the language itself. You cannot attain fluency from reading a book, so don't expect that. Get out there and speak to native speakers!
I just really like this new edition and glad that Teach Yourself has finally stop neglecting its course books and updating them. This book is fresh looking, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, more durable and yet, still has the same valuable information that makes Teach Yourself books the great resource that they are. Although, for some reason, some books they updated, like German and Korean, have nice color pics and glossy pages in the first few chapters but not all the books, especially this one. That is puzzling, I can't figure out why they would do that. I know that we all complain about certain editions or courses of theirs but bottom line is, Teach Yourself is a good resource and lifeline when it comes to language learning because if it wasn't for them, we would be pretty up creek as far as finding good, inexpensive and semi-accurate material to learn languages from. My dream would be if Teach Yourself or Living Language would do more advanced courses, like an Arabic or Hindi II/III (and be more accurate at current ones)and add more neglected languages like, Tamil, Hawaiian, Berber, Zulu or Native American languages but those are dreams only!
Most companies that did language courses, no longer do them anymore or the stuff they still have left over and put out, are horrendously out of date (although, some are still arguably good)and hard to find. Barron's and Berlitz, haven't put out a language book in over 25 yrs. The "new" ones they are selling now are their same exact courses from the 80's with only a new cover; same recordings, same content, layout, pictures, etc. Amazon even sells copies of Berlitz' re-release of their 1950 editions of courses they did.(I have to admit, these are still quite good--get one!) Thankfully, there is a huge resurgence of people wanting to learn new languages--I think inspired by the large and ever growing polyglot community--and that is boosting or resurrecting a lot of language producers. That is great and will only benefit us in the long run.
**Amended** I have to amend this to add, the CD's are somewhat the same material but re-recorded and they suck. The woman who is narrating is also pretending to be a native speaker and because of her heavy British accent, as she pretends, her accent quite clearly shows thru on just about every word she utters; and she pronounces all the letters and most words, WRONG. I don't know why they would take the effort and money to mess this up. Anyway, the guy IS a native speaker, so listen when he talks but not her. As you learn more, you will pick up and alter any words you heard from her, the right way so don't worry. Also, I was reading on another TY product review that they are in fact, NOT updating some books/courses at all, really, but just putting on new covers and keeping the same old, outdated content and raising the price! So BEWARE!! If you get one of these, I would suggest and encourage you complain to them directly, as the more of us who complain, then they will really HAVE TO update them and stop this mess. With this course, luckily, I have not found that but now, annoyingly, I realize 20% of the book is keys to exercises, verb charts and grammar charts; making the book only about 340 pages and they took out a lot of vocabulary. Still, all in all, Teach Yourself is better than nothing and some other courses out there and worth the $20.
This book also has far too much transliteration in the later units (where there ought to be none) that is very distracting as you are trying to learn to read Arabic, not transliteration of Arabic.
Get this, and a book to learn to read and write.