Read and Speak Arabic (book review)

Brilliant course for total beginners, combining an introduction to the script and forming simple sentences, but also to essential phrases for communicating in an Arabic speaking country, such as in a cafe, asking directions, introducing yourself.

It includes a CD with lots of listening material and prompts for holding a conversation, and many flashcards and games to cut out, making it perfect for both independent study and for use in class.

All words are introduced with the transliteration in roman script and with audio recordings, but the exercises quickly push the student to recognise the words in sentences and speech bubbles. The emphasis is on reading rather than writing but it would be easy to adapt additional writing exercises to expand on the material included.

I often use this in conjunction with Your First Hundred Words in Arabic in my initial beginners’ course to give students a taster of Arabic and a crash course in reading Arabic script. We then move on to the more indepth Mastering Arabic series.

This book is by the fantastic Jane Wightwick & Mahmoud Gaafar, who have created most of the best Arabic teaching materials available in the UK and US. You can buy it at Foyles / Amazon / Waterstones or your local bookshop.

And there’s an exciting new ebook version fully optimised for the iPad with interactive activities (separate review coming soon when I get to try it out!)


About Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Literary translator from Arabic, German and Russian into English
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