First 1000 Words in Arabic (book review)

Lovely picture book with labels for everything you can think of in the world around you – all in Arabic without vowel markers but with the transliteration below to help you pronounce them. The vocabulary is Standard Arabic so is understood across the Arab world, although beware that every dialect has other synonyms too! See this post about the amazing online listening material which accompanies the book.

Personally I would say this book is suitable for pre-intermediate learners but not complete beginners: it’s not much use attempting to learn this much vocabulary if you don’t yet know how to put it into sentences. It is helpful for someone studying towards GCSE Arabic, although in fact contains a lot of vocabulary that is useful if you were living in the Middle East but perhaps wouldn’t come up in a GCSE. It’s perfect for Arabic speaking toddlers or little ones who are growing up bilingual.

One of my favourite pages is the everyday actions – verbs such as sleeping, laughing, cooking, talking etc – but beginner students should beware that this doesn’t help you learn how to use verbs. What’s given here are just the verbal nouns and you will need another course book such as Mastering Arabic, Complete Arabic, etc to learn the grammar of how to use these in a sentence.

The book is originally by Heather Amery, translated by Mouna Hammad, with consulation by Adi Budeiri, and illustrated by the much loved Stephen Cartwright – so look for the buTTah on every page! Buy it from Foyles / Waterstones / Amazon / your local bookshop🙂

About Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Literary translator from Arabic, German and Russian into English
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One Response to First 1000 Words in Arabic (book review)

  1. Pingback: Usborne Quicklinks: beginners’ Arabic vocab with pronunciation | We Love Arabic

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