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ARABIC ALPHABET
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THE ARABIC ALPHABET: Heads up!

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THE ARABIC ALPHABET

Listen to the Arabic Alphabet recited by a native Arabic speaker
(ogg format)

Arabic uses a cursive style written from right to left, with some letters joined. Some browsers may not render Arabic script properly on your computer - in which case you may see Arabic letters which look proper but which are actually unjoined and written left-to-right. You may even see other strange symbols instead of Arabic script!

The Arabic alphabet has 28 basic letters, but their shape can change depending on where in the word the letter is being used, to make a simpler or more elegant ligature when joining the cursive letter forms. Capital and lower case letters are not clearly differentiated. Some vowels have a choice of symbols - and 'short vowels' may be left out altogether in informal writing (although never in the Qur'an). Vowels are indicated by 'diacritic' marks (or 'harakat') which might be above or below the letter. Sometimes a dot is all that differentiates one letter from another!

A fragment of Egyptian Naskh script A Qur'anic fragment written in naskh (a cursive script) typical of Qur'ans produced in Mamluk Egypt during the 14th and 15th centuries. An ayah marker (in this case a gold six-petalled rosette with blue and red dots) separates each verse.

The Qur'an is written in Arabic, traditionally using 'full vocalization' (complete with all the vowels and marks) and, in places, 'Quranic spelling'. The Arabic alphabet is the second-most widely used alphabet around the world, and has been used with many other language families (including Persian, Ottoman, Urdu, Malay or Pashto) resulting in the addition of new letters and symbols and even the development of a new 'Ajami' system of transcription. A few extra modified letters have also evolved to help with transliterating foreign words.

All of which makes it seem amazing (to me at least) that there are so many effective language learning materials available to us! It is perfectly possible for a westerner to learn to speak Arabic - even, in some cases, to a high level.

Arabic calligraphy is very beautiful. There are several recognised styles including 'Naskh, 'Nasta'liq', 'Ruq'ah', 'Thuluth', 'Kufic', 'Sini' and 'Hijazi'.

Teach Yourself Beginner'S Arabic Script TEACH YOURSELF BEGINNER'S ARABIC SCRIPT
by John Mace

A step-by-step introduction to reading and writing simple Arabic that will enable you to read Arabic signs, notices, advertisements and headlines. The alphabet is introduced in stages so that allows the learner can identify the subtle differences between characters. There's lots of practice of each new letter before the next is introduced.

ARABIC FOR BEGINNERS: WITH A GUIDE TO ARABIC WRITING (Hippocrene language studies) by Syed Ali

Introduces classical Arabic to English speakers, with a guide to Arabic writing, model sentences and vocabulary lists. This guide also indicates plural forms, and lists imperfect forms with tenses. In addition, it contains illustrations from the prose and poetry of eminent writers. The author himself is an Indian brought educated in his arabic in a classical madrassah

ARABIC WRITING FOR BEGINNERS by Z. H. Qureski

Vocabulary Builder Egyptian Arabic CD-ROM: VOCABULARY BUILDER ARABIC EGYPTIAN

Essential Words and Phrases for Absolute Beginners - learn to recognise the Arabic script at the same time as absorbing the wrods themselves.

PDQ ARABIC (EGYPTIAN ARABIC) AUDIO CD
by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar (Linguaphone)

The course book accompanying this language learning course teaches you the basics of reading and writing Egyptian Arabic.

Also, see a complete review of the PDQ ARABIC (EGYPTIAN ARABIC) course

STARTING OUT IN ARABIC
by Living Language (Audio CD, 2008)

WORD BY WORD PICTURE DICTIONARY: ENGLISH/ARABIC EDITION
by Bill Bliss and Steven J. Molinsky (Pearson Education)

A learner-friendly picture dictionary with simple, accessible lesson pages designed for clarity and ease-of-use with learners at all levels (especially good for beginners). The new lesson formats integrate the use of nouns and high-frequency verbs. Objects and actions that go together are learned together! A careful, research-based sequence of lessons develops grammar and vocabulary through topics in everyday life, in the community, in school, and at work.

Features of the new edition:

  • More than 4,000 words in an expanded range of topics prepare students for success using English
  • Expanded discussion questions encourage students to share their backgrounds, experiences, opinions, and creativity as they relate vocabulary and themes to their own lives.
  • A new Teacher's Guide and Lesson Planner with CD-ROM in a colorful user-friendly format includes lesson planning suggestions, community tasks, weblinks for expanding vocabulary themes through the Internet, and reproducible masters to save teachers hours of lesson preparation time.
  • A unique choice of workbooks at Beginning and Intermediate levels offers flexible options to meet students' needs:
    - Vocabulary Workbooks feature motivating vocabulary, grammar, and listening practice.
    - Standards-based Lifeskills Workbooks provide competency-based activities and reading tied to national, state, and local curriculum frameworks.
    - A Literacy Workbook is also available.
  • The Audio Program includes all words and conversations for interactive practice, and 17 WordSongs in vocal and sing-along versions for entertaining vocabulary practice through music.

Also see the PICTURE DICTIONARIES reviewed elsewhere on this page.

ALIF BAA & 2 DVDS: INTRODUCTION TO ARABIC LETTERS AND SOUNDS (with 2 DVDS)
Georgetown University Press; 2nd revised edition (2004)

Newly revised and packaged with two DVDs with both audio and video exercises to accompany the introductory volume for the Al-Kitaab program course in Standard Arabic from Georgetown University.

Learn to recognize and produce both letters and sounds accurately through a variety of exercises designed to develop listening, reading, and writing skills.

These two DVDs includes 150 basic vocabulary words in authentic contexts, and video footage of an Arabic calligrapher, a large collection of street signs, social greetings, capsules on Arab culture, and an English-Arabic glossary.

NEW! 2nd edition (31 Dec 2010)
TEACH YOURSELF READ AND WRITE ARABIC SCRIPT (Teach Yourself Beginner's Scripts)

OR order the current edition (TEACH YOURSELF READ AND WRITE ARABIC SCRIPT) immediately

Now fully updated with added learning features within the course and online.
New, easy-to-read page design and interactive features:
One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.
Author insights for instant help with common problems and quick tips for success
Tests in the book and online to keep track of your progress. Also due out in 2010
COMPLETE ARABIC: TEACH YOURSELF by Frances Altorfer (Paperback, Teach Yourself, 2nd ed. 26 Feb 2010) for learning MSA, Modern Standard Arabic

and
Complete Arabic: Teach Yourself (Audio Support) by Frances Altorfer

ARABIC SCRIPT: READING AND WRITING GUIDE (Living Language Complete Basic Courses) (Living Language)
by Rym Bettaieb (Living Language, 2008)

For complete beginners - simple step-by-step explanations (grouping the letters and their forms), practice exercises, and reading passages, all designed to get you reading and writing Arabic. It breaks down the letters and their forms into groups, and provides practice writing and reading exercises. It provides a good pronunciation guide. Transliterations are provided in the dialogue section, which is helpful for beginners. On the publishers website you can download a pronunciation guide for of all the vowels and consonants found in Part One of the book. ARABIC COINS AND HOW TO READ THEM (Seaby's numismatic publications) by Richard J Plant 0900652381



READING AND WRITING ARABIC

MASTERING ARABIC SCRIPT: A GUIDE TO HANDWRITING (Palgrave Master Series, Languages)
by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar (Palgrave Macmillan)

'Mastering Arabic Script' teaches the fluent riq'a script used by adults, and points out the differences in naskh - a printed script taught to children, or beginners learning Arabic.

The three sections cover

  • the basic letter shapes
  • combinations of letters
  • an additional extended writing section
There are clear examples, plenty of practice material, expert tips and lively activities and photos. The book works well with the popular 'Mastering Arabic' course, but can also be used as a 'stand alone' guide.


SPEAK IN A WEEK! ARABIC

SPEAK IN A WEEK! ARABIC: SEE, HEAR, SAY AND LEARN: WEEK 1 (Spiral-bound, 2007)

NEW - 2008
SPEAK IN A WEEK ARABIC SEE, HEAR, SAY AND LEARN: WEEK 2: (Audio CD, 2008)


BUILD YOUR ARABIC VOCABULARY - BOOK, CD & FLASHCARDS (GW Publishing, 2007)

by Haroon Shirwani

Written by leading teacher of Arabic, this a combination of book, flashcards and audio CD helps learners of Arabic to expand their active vocabulary and move to the next level. The material is also an invaluable tool for exam preparation.

"SPEAK IN A WEEK"
ARABIC"SPEAK IN A WEEK" RESOURCES




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