Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic

Book Review



Teach Yourself Gulf  Arabic


Jack Smart et al


McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books, New York, NY



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2003


Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic is a cassette tape language course for learning the Arabic language. The focus of the course  is on gulf dialects as spoken in counties such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The  course consists of two cassette tapes and an instructional manual and is packaged in a clear snap-style case.

Teach Yourself Gulf ArabicThis course is a fast track course for learning the language. A reader provides instructions and prompts in English along the way, and then the vocabulary and dialogs are  read in between. The textbook provided follows along with the audio portion of the course and adds further written material to assist with comprehension. The course moves quickly from one concept to the next with little repetition  and only a few review exercises with each chapter.

One shortfall with this course is the lack of focus on actual written Arabic.  The textbook presents the student with a romanized version of the vocabulary  instead, leaving the student unprepared to read Arabic if necessary. I felt that since the textbook is necessary to properly use the course, it was a distinct  disadvantage to not have the actual Arabic characters presented with the material.  The pace of the course is fairly rapid, and beginning students of the language may find that there is not enough material to accurately assimilate the language's grammatical concepts. Based on the layout of the course, it can be used in a car or at other leisure time activities, but is best only when accompanied by  the workbook.

To offset these disadvantages is the relatively low price of this course, making it an acceptable value. Students with limited knowledge of Arabic will also  find this course useful since there is substantial scope of dialog and vocabulary on the cassette tapes. Those wishing to learn how to read Arabic will need another  text to accomplish this.

Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic is a low cost alternative to learning the Gulf Arabic dialects while still having audio reference material and dialogs. Those wishing  to develop a basic proficiency in Arabic or to improve their skills will also get some use from this course.

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