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Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic Complete Course Package (Book + 2CDs) Paperback – Jul 7 2004

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (July 7 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071434534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071434539
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,324,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Jack Smart has taught Arabic for more than forty years.

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By A Customer on Aug. 4 2005
This is one of the newest available of the very few books with audio that cover the Gulf variant of the spoken Arabic. One has to make sure s/he learns the right dialect rather than the Modern Standard Arabic that is the literary version of the educated Arabic but which the man on the street does not speak. The book is very well structured covering the alphabet, grammar, cultural notes, pronounciation. It has exercises, as well as on the audio CD's, English key, glossary, index etc. There are 14 units with 2-3 dialogues each covering different topics such as health, family, where/what, greetings, one of them is dedicated to banking and dealing with the government and embassies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa5d5851c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5d63e58) out of 5 stars About Colloquial Dialects Feb. 28 2006
By Stanley H. Tweedle - Published on Amazon.com
The other reviewer must be unaware that two forms of Arabic exist. Modern Standard Arabic, or MSA, is the language of the Quran and is used for reading and writing and very occasionaly by university educated speakers. Then there are Colloquial dialects. Gulf Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Morrocan Arabic, etc. This is the SPOKEN language of the various regions, and it has very little (if anything!) to do with the written form of the language. To REALLY learn Arabic, you almost have to learn two seperate languages. One for reading and writing (MSA), another for speaking (one of the many Colloquial dialects).
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5d6627c) out of 5 stars Introductory Gulf Arabic from Teach Yourself May 31 2007
By Richard T. Cummings - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This product is a mixed bag having both positive and negative attributes with the positives more than counterbalancing the negatives. The strong point of the book is that it is very readable and interesting so if you buy it, you are very likely to read it and study from it. The two CDs are useful also; however, the authors sanction the use of just a little too much English on the Gulf Arabic CDs. Using English, especially on the second CD, doesn't commend itself in terms of pedagogy; it cuts against immersion, which is the best way to learn a foreign language. Reliance on an Gulf Arabic transcript and translation thereof contained in the appendix could have reduced usage of English on the CDs. The buyers presumably already know English and they ought to pay to hear Gulf Arabic as much as possible.

The book is also modestly at fault for the same. After a listening or reading exercise, the questions should be expressed in Gulf Arabic rather than in English, if not from the very beginning, then early on into the text. (Translations of these questions with answers could have appeared in the appendix.) To move beyond survival language skills, more grammatical exercises, especially verb conjugations, would have been useful. (The section on the Arabic verb is too short.) It is not clear how the reader can "explore the language in depth" without such drills (although, in fairness, other language skills are adequately drilled).

The book is marred by a few other misleading claims. Content is touted with providing the reader with the ability to "learn to speak, understand and write Gulf Arabic." As another reviewer mentioned, Gulf Arabic is not ordinarily written (the only place I have seen it written is on sms messages conveying informalities like jokes). Although the text contained in the top paragraph on page 8 is generally accurate, describing the geographical extent of Gulf Arabic, the map of the Arabian Gulf on page 9 gives a misleading impression that Gulf Arabic is spoken in Riyadh, Jidda and even Sana'a. Only the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia evinces a dialect that might be labelled Gulf Arabic (although the dialect there is evolving with the varied impact of the influx of various Arab workers to this petroleum-rich area); in Riyadh, Nejdi dialect prevails and the dialect in Jidda sounds more like Egyptian Arabic.

Strangely, in paragraph four, the authors warn readers not to fall victim to what they tar "pigeon" Gulf Arabic if the reader should hear colloquial

Arabic at variance with "what is given in the book." Rather, the reader ought to be prepared to hear colloquial Arabic at variance with what is given. Even in a small state like Bahrain, there are intra-national variations between the accents, for example, of inhabitants of Muharraq and Sitra, two smaller islands. International variations mean ways to say "I want" span "abbi" and "abghi;" "ureed," which the authors recommend because, it would seem, of its simpler verb pattern, is actual Modern Standard Arabic. (In colloquial speech, in fact, I haven't heard "ureed" anywhere in the Arab World from Morocco to Bahrain.) It worries me that, at times, the authors seem to be taking the readers down the road to a pan-Gulf-Arabic koine that doesn't exist.

Some other matters from content to form: the book boasts a glossary of Gulf Arabic-English and English-Gulf Arabic reflecting the vocabulary units found in the text but the Index is too short to be of much use and the "glossary of language terms" is a waste of space.

Although the quality of the paperback is fine, the plastic packaging is terrible insofar as it is difficult to extricate the two CDs from the plastic without risking damage to one or both. After a laborious effort, I retrieved the second CD scratched which made it impossible to hear the final lesson without the soundtrack skipping. A redesign of the packaging for the next edition is warranted. Of course, this quality issue is the fault of the publisher, not the authors, who have to be commended for putting together an entertaining text introducing Gulf Arabic to anglophones.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5d666b4) out of 5 stars gulf arabic June 15 2006
By D. Radev - Published on Amazon.com
Yes, the previous post is correct. There is barely any alphabet practice and most all words are transliterated into latin alphabet. However, the dialects of Arabic are rarely written. One would almost always use MSA in writting and reading something. The dialects have no standard way of writing them, and it is not therefore taught in schools. Most anything you read will be in MSA (newspapers, news, schoolbooks, and educated writings of various sorts). The dialects, if used in writing, will be in songs, comic books, cartoons, and some informal conversations (example: email between friends). Getting back on topic, the dialects are mostly spoken and therefore it would be of little use to waste your time trying to learn how to write them. You should rather focus on learning how to write MSA. This is probably why the authors of the "Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic" do not focus very much on the written form of the Gulf dialect. Hope this helps.
HASH(0xa5d63fa8) out of 5 stars An interesting and useful beginning book Feb. 27 2009
By perekladach - Published on Amazon.com
Considering the growing interest in Arabic and also the signifigance of the Gulf area in general, it is surprising that more resources for learning Gulf Arabic aren't available. Perhaps some of this has to do with the differences in dialects around the Gulf that some of the other reviewers have remarked upon. Nevertheless, Gulf Arabic has been a neglected area of study and this book is a welcome addition to filling that vacancy.

The CD's are, of course, indispensible; Gulf Arabic pronunciation has some quirks that will be surprising to learners who come to it from Standard Arabic. ('q' becomes 'g', and 'k' often turns into 'ch'). The dialogues in the lessons progress at a leisurely but reliable pace and by the end of the work the conscientious student should have command of a somewhat simplified and 'averaged out' form of Gulf Arabic that speakers from any region of the Gulf will understand, and be in a good position to add to their knowledge by conversations with Gulf speakers.
All in all this is a good value for the money for anyone with an interest in this area of Arabic and certainly for anyone planning to travel and/or work in the region.
HASH(0xa5d66684) out of 5 stars Gulf Arabic Dec 28 2009
By Sue K. Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I agree with the last posting. My fiancee is Bahraini and I wanted this book to help me before going to Bahrain. It was hard to find a book with Gulf Arabic - because what they speak there is definitely not the same as what you find titled as Arabic (most of these books are Egyptian dialect). This book is concerned with teaching you the spoken language - if you want to learn to read and write you must learn Modern Standard Arabic, or MSA, which is basically a separate language. This book provides enough of the alphabet and things like street signs so that you can get by. The cultural notes included with each chapter also provide an insight into some of the customs, history, and heritage. I agree that some of the expressions may be out-of-date, but words in every language are being out-dated, or meanings are different, or slang has changed. All in all this book does a good job in teaching you everyday phrases and conversations for use in the gulf area - not Saudi.... For lessons in reading and writing you will have to purchase another course.