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Arabic at a Glance

Book Review

 

Title:

Arabic at a Glance - 2nd Edition

Author:

Hilary Wise, Ph.D.

Publisher:

Barrons Education  Series, Hauppauge, NY

ISBN:

0-7641-7359-6

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

September, 2003

Rating:

1/2

Arabic at a Glance takes a phrase book approach to teaching the listener Arabic. This course includes a colorful phrase  book of about 300 pages, a 90 minute cassette tape and an audio script book for the phrases on the tape..

Arabic at a GlanceThis course focuses on the Egyptian Arabic dialect. Where different words are frequently  used in other dialects, they are usually noted as a secondary reference for  the word or phrase being learned. Although this course covers Egyptian Arabic, many of the words you will hear are used in other Arab dialects, enhancing the value of the course to the listener.

Many of the phrases in the phrase book are read on the cassette tape, making it easy for the listener to perfect their pronunciation. Each word or phrase is presented in English, shown using a pronunciation key, then also shown in  written Arabic. The pronunciation key used with this book is easy to understand and pick up immediately, noticeably better than others I have seen. The key  helps the student to better absorb the subtle differences in pronunciation of the vocabulary. Many courses (surprisingly enough) do not include the Arabic script, but with this phrase book the traveller can simply point to the phrase written in Arabic if they are not understood by the listener. Arabic at a Glance  makes finding the essential words for any common situation is easy. .

The vocabulary in this course is straightforward and focuses on situations that  a tourist might encounter such as trying to arrange transportation, lodging, or a meal. Each section in the phrase book is color coded for quick access.  The variety of topics includes dining, shopping, medical care, business vocabulary, lodging, and travelling. Large sections also describe Arabic script and grammar, as well as highlighting cultural notes about Islam and the Arab world in general.  Another extremely attractive feature of this package is its low retail price. For just a little over ten dollars, almost the cost of a phrase book alone,  you can start learning Arabic right away accompanied by audio material.

Any traveler wanting to develop a basic understanding of Arabic will find this reference useful before and during their trip. The lessons provide sufficient  audio for the casual listener to hone their pronunciation skills, while covering only the most important core vocabulary necessary for non-Arabic speakers. The pronunciation key and matching Arabic script in the phrase book will prove essential to tourists travelling to Egypt or other countries in the Middle East.

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