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Arabic (Egyptian), Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Egyptian Arabic with Pimsleur Language Programs [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Pimsleur
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2001 Comprehensive (Book 1)
Egyptian Arabic is mainly spoken in urban Egypt. Egyptian Arabic has also gained a high degree of acceptance throughout the Arabic-speaking world because of its use in films. Pimsleur's Egyptian Arabic teaches the Careen dialect, the dialect of the Egyptian capital.

Comprehensive Arabic (Egyptian) includes 30 lessons of essential grammar and vocabulary -- 16 hours of real-life spoken practice sessions -- plus an introduction to reading. Upon completion of this program, you will have functional spoken proficiency with the most-frequently-used vocabulary and grammatical structures. 
  • In the first 10 lessons, you’ll cover the basics: saying hello, asking for or giving information, scheduling a meal or a meeting, asking for or giving basic directions, and much more.  You’ll be able to handle minimum courtesy requirements, understand much of what you hear, and be understood at a beginning level, but with near-native pronunciation skills.
  • In the next 10 lessons, you’ll build on what you’ve learned. Expand your menu, increase your scheduling abilities from general to specific, start to deal with currency and exchanging money, refine your conversations and add over a hundred new vocabulary items.  You’ll understand more of what you hear, and be able to participate with speech that is smoother and more confident.
  • In the final 10 lessons, you’ll be speaking and understanding at an intermediate level. More directions are given in the target language, which moves your learning to a whole new plane.  Lessons include shopping, visiting friends, going to a restaurant, plans for the evening, car trips, and talking about family.  

Reading Lessons are included at the end of Unit 30 to provide you with an introduction to reading the Arabic alphabet. These lessons, which total about one hour, are designed to teach you to sound out words with correct pronunciation and accent. A Reading Booklet to be used with the audio lessons is also included in PDF format.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul Pimsleur devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world’s leading experts in applied linguistics. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed The Pimsleur Method based on two key principles:  the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called “Graduated Interval Recall.”  This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the Pimsleur Programs.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of its kind Jan. 25 2004
By Alan Tu
Format:Audio CD
First, a brief description of this reviewer. I took two semesters of elementary Arabic at a university one year ago. I was fortunate to have very good professors, who went beyond the textbook to teach a lot of stuff that wouldn't be covered until later (for example, verb conjugations and negation). However, all this was in modern standard Arabic. This dialect is used in the Quran and in writing, but generally not in speaking. I was a little disillusioned of the lack of conversational Arabic in the university courses available to me. A reviewer of a modern standard textbook wrote on Amazon that others said he sounded like the Quran or an ancient author. While I do not know whether it is that extreme, I think it is important to learn a conversation dialect for speaking with native speakers.
I was serious about learning conversational Arabic, and the Pimsleur comprehensive courses seem to have a good reputation and methodology, so I bought the Egyptian Arabic I comprehensive course. I chose Egyptian because Egypt is the most populous Arabic country, and the Egyptian dialect (each country or region has a dialect with its own twist on vocabulary) is widely understood in the Arab world due to the prevalence of Egyptian films.
It certainly made it easier that I had already studied Arabic for two semesters. I was used to the sounds and some of the basic vocabulary. Note however that much of the vocabulary is different from modern standard. While "street" is the same, for instance, "car" and "this" are different. So a person who has studied modern standard will have an easier time with the phonetics than the complete beginner, but one is not immune from learning new vocabulary--and lots of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pimsleur: The Only Way to Learn a Foreign Language! Sept. 30 2003
By JD3116
Format:Audio Cassette
In response to the negative reviews I've read under various Pimsleur language courses, I wanted to clarify an important point for the prospective buyer. First, it is true that you will acquire a very limited vocabulary even after completing Level III of any Pimsleur language course. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are learning the core vocabulary of the language-the most commonly used words. But vocabulary is not the most important part of acquiring fluency in a new language. The most important part is gaining an innate sense of grammar and syntax. In other words, you must be able to string the vocabulary words together into meaningful phrases. You must be able to think in your new language. That ability is what Pimsleur will give you.
Talk to any student who has completed two college semesters of a foreign language, and he or she can spew off lists and lists of vocabulary. But the student does not have the ability to carry on even a simple conversation. Why not? Well, all of that vocabulary is meaningless without the innate sense of structure that Pimsleur provides.
My own experience: I completed Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic I back in early June of this year. After completing the course, I could recite a few useful phrases, but I felt that I lacked any real grasp of the language. Therefore, in late June of this year, I signed up for an Adult Education course in Conversational Egyptian Arabic at the local University. My teacher was soon amazed by my progress. By the end of that 6 week course, I was carrying on real conversations with the instructor while the rest of the class gaped in envy and frustration.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable start, but needs support Aug. 31 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This course benefits from the strengths and suffers from the weaknesses of all the Pimsleur courses I have studied (French and Russian). The strengths are the emphasis on spoken Egyptian Arabic, on the help in acquiring a good pronounciation, and in the repetition of some elementary structures so that the student feels reasonably comfortable. The weaknesses are the paucity of vocabulary and the lack of an anchor to any grammatical understanding, particularly of the verbs.
As with the other Pimsleur courses, one might say that this introductory set, by itself, can only be given a lukewarm recommendation. However, like the others, the recommendation becomes warmer once Levels II and III become available. For example, the complete French course can be recommended, but not simply Part I. I hope that Levels II and III for Egyptian Arabic will be developed. If they are, then it may make sense (even if it is expensive) to purchase the whole lot. To settle only for Part I is not entirely satisfactory.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of its kind Jan. 25 2004
By Alan Tu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
First, a brief description of this reviewer. I took two semesters of elementary Arabic at a university one year ago. I was fortunate to have very good professors, who went beyond the textbook to teach a lot of stuff that wouldn't be covered until later (for example, verb conjugations and negation). However, all this was in modern standard Arabic. This dialect is used in the Quran and in writing, but generally not in speaking. I was a little disillusioned of the lack of conversational Arabic in the university courses available to me. A reviewer of a modern standard textbook wrote on Amazon that others said he sounded like the Quran or an ancient author. While I do not know whether it is that extreme, I think it is important to learn a conversation dialect for speaking with native speakers.
I was serious about learning conversational Arabic, and the Pimsleur comprehensive courses seem to have a good reputation and methodology, so I bought the Egyptian Arabic I comprehensive course. I chose Egyptian because Egypt is the most populous Arabic country, and the Egyptian dialect (each country or region has a dialect with its own twist on vocabulary) is widely understood in the Arab world due to the prevalence of Egyptian films.
It certainly made it easier that I had already studied Arabic for two semesters. I was used to the sounds and some of the basic vocabulary. Note however that much of the vocabulary is different from modern standard. While "street" is the same, for instance, "car" and "this" are different. So a person who has studied modern standard will have an easier time with the phonetics than the complete beginner, but one is not immune from learning new vocabulary--and lots of it.
I was afraid that a self-guided, completely audio course would use repetition as its main weapon, and repetition doesn't work great with me as my brain just fills up to the brim quickly, leaving me unable to recall anything quickly. However, Pimsleur uses a totally different methodology. Instead of a linear process, ("learn these words and their conjugations"), Pimsleur takes a more random approach. You might learn "you understand" for a lady in lesson 1 and "you understand" for a man in lesson 3. For each new word or phrase, especially in the first few lessons, each syllable is sounded out in reverse order. The Pimsleur program uses anticipation rather than repetition throughout the course. You are prompted in English to say something in Arabic, then there is a pause to allow you to answer out loud. Then the Arabic speakers say it, and your brain can compare the two, correcting if necessary. At the beginning of each lesson there is a conversation to listen to, I think to soften up your ears for Arabic. It also serves as a review to recall previous lessons' vocabulary. For the bulk of the lesson, the prompt-pause-answer format is used. At the end of some lessons, one participates in a mock conversation.
Each lesson has both review of previous material and new material in good measure. The Pimsleur program does not teach grammar rules at all. But it does teach words, phrases, and then asks you to string them together to make whole, useful sentences. From these you infer the grammar rules. Instead of learning rules by wrote, the program lets you build a gradual intuitive understanding of how the puzzle pieces of nouns, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and phrases fit together in grammatically correct sentences. The Pimsleur program is based on 15 lesson CD's, each with two 30-minute lessons. There is an additional CD which, along with a small booklet, introduces you to Arabic writing.
I have gone through the 30 lessons, and am now in the process of going through them again. The result is that I have a basic knowledge of Egyptian Arabic. I find that I can really impress my new Arabic instructor. Just last class she asked whether I had been to Egypt, which I have not.
I only can think of three negative things to say about this program. First, there should be a level II course like Pimsleur has with other languages. Second, due to the random structure of the course, you don't learn all the verb conjugations. There is virtually no third-person verb conjugations introduced, for instance, you learn "I go", "you go", but not "she goes". This is why a level II course is so needed. Third, some people may be turned off by the price. Clearly the Pimsleur comprehensive programs are for serious learners. But really one gets what one pays for. I would encourage those who are interested in this product to shop around on price comparison sites or on popular auction sites (wink, wink), as shopping around will yield significant savings.
In conclusion, this was money well-spent.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pimsleur: The Only Way to Learn a Foreign Language! Sept. 30 2003
By JD3116 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
In response to the negative reviews I've read under various Pimsleur language courses, I wanted to clarify an important point for the prospective buyer. First, it is true that you will acquire a very limited vocabulary even after completing Level III of any Pimsleur language course. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are learning the core vocabulary of the language-the most commonly used words. But vocabulary is not the most important part of acquiring fluency in a new language. The most important part is gaining an innate sense of grammar and syntax. In other words, you must be able to string the vocabulary words together into meaningful phrases. You must be able to think in your new language. That ability is what Pimsleur will give you.

Talk to any student who has completed two college semesters of a foreign language, and he or she can spew off lists and lists of vocabulary. But the student does not have the ability to carry on even a simple conversation. Why not? Well, all of that vocabulary is meaningless without the innate sense of structure that Pimsleur provides.

My own experience: I completed Pimsleur Egyptian Arabic I back in early June of this year. After completing the course, I could recite a few useful phrases, but I felt that I lacked any real grasp of the language. Therefore, in late June of this year, I signed up for an Adult Education course in Conversational Egyptian Arabic at the local University. My teacher was soon amazed by my progress. By the end of that 6 week course, I was carrying on real conversations with the instructor while the rest of the class gaped in envy and frustration. Pimsleur had taught me how the language works, and armed with a few new vocabulary words, I was able to assimilate the new information into my innate sense of the syntax and structure of the language. In other words, Pimleur had taught me how to think in Arabic. Therefore, I was immediately able to use the new words with comfort and ease.

Yes, Pimsleur is expensive. But if you want to truly learn to think in your new language, it's the only way to go. The only better way to learn Egyptian Arabic would be to spend several months in Egypt. The cost of that makes the Pimsleur courses seem much more reasonable by comparison.

I've just started Pimsleur Japanese I, and plan to complete the full 90 lesson comprehensive program. I know it will be worth every penny!
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable start, but needs support Aug. 31 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This course benefits from the strengths and suffers from the weaknesses of all the Pimsleur courses I have studied (French and Russian). The strengths are the emphasis on spoken Egyptian Arabic, on the help in acquiring a good pronounciation, and in the repetition of some elementary structures so that the student feels reasonably comfortable. The weaknesses are the paucity of vocabulary and the lack of an anchor to any grammatical understanding, particularly of the verbs.
As with the other Pimsleur courses, one might say that this introductory set, by itself, can only be given a lukewarm recommendation. However, like the others, the recommendation becomes warmer once Levels II and III become available. For example, the complete French course can be recommended, but not simply Part I. I hope that Levels II and III for Egyptian Arabic will be developed. If they are, then it may make sense (even if it is expensive) to purchase the whole lot. To settle only for Part I is not entirely satisfactory.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and very helpful! July 12 2005
By E. Abreu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My husband is Egyptian and I wanted to learn Egyptian Arabic before I went to Egypt (last summer) to visit his family. I must say- the first 8 cds that I purchased as a test helped me tremendously. I was able to communicate with his family better than had I not listened to any! I was able to understand more or less what they were telling me. I was so pleased with my purchase that I went and bought the entire series. After continuing with the series, I found that the phrases they were telling me in Egypt were in the cds and was so happy to recognize them.

I highly recommend these cds to anyone wishing to learn Egyptian Arabic. I hope they will continue with the series as the first one leaves you hungry for more.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love PIMSLEUR! Aug. 2 2006
By Amy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
On my trip to Egypt this March, several people asked me where I studied Arabic, and were amazed (and thought maybe they misunderstood) that I had learned my Arabic from CD's. It was very gratifying. I picked these CD's up on an online auction. I've used Pimsleur for Swedish and Egyptian Arabic, and have had great success with both. They are the only language tapes where on arrival in the country, people could understand what I was saying, which made for a more enjoyable vacation. I also speak German and a smattering of other languages. You really must set time aside to do these tapes, as they are intensive, and at the end of the lesson you feel like your brain hurts. But it works - when stressed and lost and hungry and tired, you will remember how to say "where is" whatever. Then you watch the hands pointing, you walk in that direction a bit, and you ask again. The key is that they understand you, and you may pick out a few words. I was hanging out at one point with an Egyptian student and two Japanese students, and we four girls were speaking a mixture of Arabic, Japanese, and English. It was great! Sure, I could have had a decent time in Egypt with just English, but it was unbelievably wonderful to be able to communicate a bit with regular folks.
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