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Fun Books, Audio, Visual & Interactive Language Learning Resources
Types of language learning resources:
Most of the language learning resources suggested here are books or computer language learning programs. Many of the books come with audio, on CD or audio tape - or books may provide links to audio downloads available online. There are also some language-learning games - and ideas for making your own.
Although modern Arabic is spoken differently in each country (it may be as different as Spanish and Italian) Egyptian Arabic is understood by most Arabs — Egyptian TV series and films are ubiquitous.
Modern Standard Arabic is less widely understood. Classical Arabic is the accepted literary language throughout the Arab world and, being a prestigous language, is also used for speech-making and other formal occasions. It has varied little over the centuries. It's standard form is gramatically more complex than spoken Arabic.
NEW - 2008Speak in a Week series by Inc Penton Overseas
Essential Vocabulary for Effective Communication
These flash cards help you learn Arabic characters. Volume 1 emphasises verbs for basic communication and vocabulary-building. Each card features a word in Arabic script with 4 related words on the front. On the reverse are all 5 words, plus a simple Arabic sentence in Arabic, English and Romanised Arabic showing the use of each word. However, verb conjugation is not introduced. 448 main words on cards (with a 32 page index booklet) and 1792 related words and phases are introduced.
Volume 2 develops vocabulary (well over 2000 extra words) and introduces everyday activities, travel and leisure and economic and employment issues. The layout is similar, but the reverse is without the 4 related words in Arabic script.
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.
ARABIC ALPHABET COLORING BOOK by M. A. Qazi
THE ARABIC ALPHABET by Nicholas Awde (Saqi Books, 2006)
Steps through all the letters of the Arabic alphabet, showing the sounds they stand for and how they are combined into words. Nothing essential is left out, but no unnecessary complications are added.
For learning the arabic alphabet, see the wooden blocks in the 'toy' section above.
SPEAK IN A WEEK ARABIC SEE, HEAR, SAY AND LEARN: WEEK 2: (Audio CD, 2008)
BOOK: FIRST 1000 WORDS IN ARABIC (FIRST 1000 WORDS) by Heather Amery
Learn classical Arabic. Pictures are labelled with the word in Arabic script and a transliteration so you can speak the word without reading arabic. Designed for children but great for adults too! A clear, fun, visual learning style for 1000 everyday words - objects found around the house, jobs and body parts etc.
The alphabetical English - Arabic dictionary section is useful.
Arabic Word Books For Beginners
Pocket-sized for travellers!
A wealth of everyday vocabulary in Arabic with this intuitive easy-to-use 360-page visual language dictionary for all ages - suitable for adults or children, business or pleasure.
As you browse you will find yourself absorbing many of the 6,000 key Arabic words and phrases relating to shopping, eating out, sport and many other topics. Find every word you need to know fast using the clearly labelled colour illustrated scenes from everyday life.
There's also a set of Fun Arabic Learning Cards and a Poster to go with this book.
The 28 flash cards can be used alone and together with the poster, using the poster rather like a game board.
Children will be getting the message that Arabic is fun as they learn to;
This is the follow-on book for 'FUN ARABIC LEARNING: RECEPTION LEVEL READING ACTIVITIES BOOK'
Essential language skills taught through a series of lessons based on conversations which illustrate distinctive language patterns. A variety of exercises help the student to understand and apply each of the grammatical patterns. Vocabulary includes classical Arabic and words and expressions current in Modern Arabic.
Schools use this series of readers to prepare students for the university of London (UK) GCE-Level and A-Level examinations.
Let's Read!: Arabic/English by England) Camden A Very Strange Day: English-Arabic Reader for Children by N. Jacob Writing in Ancient Mesopotamia (Reading Power: Writing in the Ancient World) by Jil Fine (2003)
Make your own games by adapting existing pre-reading and reading games and flashcards designed for use in English.
Better still, adapt a game designed for learning another foreign language - such as "Snap Cards in French", and particularly"Cherchons Le Mot","Les Courses a Faire" or"Trouvons L'image" from Orchard Toys / Linguaphone - they are original and fun - and because they are incredibly good value you won't mind sticking labels on them to create the Arabic words where necessary.
Some of the best games rely on pre-recorded sounds / sound effects - "Crash, Bang, Wallop" from Orchard Toys - has a fun cassette tape of household noises. You can adapt the game so that when a child identifies a sound they have to either speak the word in arabic or pick out the correct word on a flashcard to 'earn' the picture card they need to build their house and get the key to the door. "Soundtracks" from Living & Learning is an audio lotto game - again children listen to sound effects on tape cassette, so adapt it in the same way.
Picture games such as Photo Puzzles are equally useful - even children who have not started reading yet can learn languages using games based on sound effects or pictures.
Good themes for games include animals, colours, weather, the time or shopping and food. Often all you need to do is copy or print arabic words and sticking them on the game (or in a picture word book). The shopping list game is useful here - it comes with 'booster sets' of themed words - such as 'clothes'.
Games using of phonics - including rhymes, as many of the
DK games do - or on assembling a word from letters as in scrabble - are usually unsuitable unless they are designed in Arabic (but we haven't come across any which are).
However, some picture-based phonics games - assembling parts of words into a whole - may be usable if they include pictures and you can stick Arabic labels over the English letters. If the game breaks words are broken down into sections based on a phonic rule, then you will need to ignore this aspect of the game and just replace the entire word. If you know how an arabic word 'breaks down' then you can adapt such games to incorporate the concept.
Sometimes you can write directly on to the games - but stickers are useful for printing arabic words because you don't make mistakes whilst copying. If you experience problems with an unsupported font, try printing the words as images instead.
The Syntax of Spoken Arabic: A Comparative Study of Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian and Kuwaiti Dialects
by Kristen E. Brustad (Paperback - 30 Sep 2000)
by Mustafa Ja'far (Paperback - 1 Jun 2002)
Comprehensive Study of Egyptian Arabic: Proverbs and Metaphoric Phrases: 2
by Ernest T. Abdel-Massih
by Samia Louis (2009)KALLIMNI 'ARABI AKTAR AN UPPER INTERMEDIATE COURSE IN SPOKEN EGYPTIAN ARABIC by Samia Louis (2008)
There are basically two types of Arabic: the local vernaculars - which are used in everyday life - and Modern Standard Arabic, which is restricted to writing and to speaking in formal settings. Anyone wanting to have a good command of the Arabic language must learn both varieties.
"kullu tamam!" uses Egyptian Colloquial Arabic to introduce the language and pave the way for learning Modern Standard Arabic. This is achieved by using the grammatical terminology common to both varieties of Arabic, by offering many vocabulary items current in both the vernacular and the standard variety, and - in the later lessons - by introducing the Arabic script.
Some sections use short conversational dialogues, and others use a more abstract vocabulary typical of Arabic newspapers. There's a grammar section and vocabulary lists for both Arabic-English and English-Arabic, and a wide range of pattern drills and translation exercises (with answers). The audio is provided by Egyptian native speakers.
Presented in a particularly clear typeface, and a compact format, SAY IT IN ARABIC: COLLOQUIAL EGYPTIAN features a 'word substitution system' to extend the book's usefulness. More than 1,000 phrases for travel or everyday living in Egypt, including a section categorised by specific shop-types - barber, cigar store, drug store, dry goods store, Laundry / dry cleaners, beauty parlour, camera / photo shop etc. Most requirements are covered in this book - food, shopping, medical aid, courtesy, hotels, travel, and other situations. The English phrase, the Egyptian equivalent and a transliteration is provided, and there are supplementary lists, signs and other aids. All words are indexed.AUDIOBOOK, AUDIO CD SET
The innovative and deservedly popular "Michel Thomas" method allows you to learn basic Arabic entirely by ear! A native Egyptian Arabic speaker presents this"8-hour Arabic Foundation Course" - and as there are no books you cannot invent your own incorrect pronunciation. This successful solution to the pronunciation problems often experienced by lone-learners is just one reason why "Michel Thomas" method is so famous.
The audio CD involves you with the two students on the CD who are being taught in real time in a classroom situation - you become the third student and participate actively in the class. You soon get the hang of manipulating Arabic structures to express what you want to say. Speaking the language constantly from the very beginning builds your confidence and means that you shouldn't be scared to try it out 'for real' on your holiday.
A printed index of Arabic words in Roman script, with translations, is provided for easy reference - handy for taking with you on holiday.
- as well as the more advanced courses listed below.
Other Languages to learn using the MICHEL THOMAS method
A five hour Arabic Advanced Course using the"Michel Thomas Method" - follows on from the"8-hour Foundation Course" (see above).
Other Languages by the Michel Thomas Method
CD-ROMS enabling you to learn Arabic are available for a variety of learning-styles, and for PCs and MACs.
We recommend some of the most reliable, creative and effective computer programs for language-learning. The renowned language specialist "Rosetta Stone" use a spectacularly effective total immersion system. It is used by universities and embassies the world over, and instruction is available for almost any language from Welsh to French, Tagalog, Chinese or Vietnamese. The price tag reflects the quality of their results!
Vocabulary Builder (flashcard-style learning for young beginners), "Talk Now!" (for beginners), "World Talk" (the next stage on), and "Tell Me more" for more advance language learners, is a series from Euro Talk Interactive which includes high quality interactive games, and even"TV Talk Show" style games. In 2008 they released "Talk More DVD-Video Classical Arabic" - a much richer learning experience.
The Linguaphone Arabic learning system has a more traditional approach.
If you have a GPS system you can buy language learning software to use with it. GPS Language Guides can contain multiple bilingual dictionaries. If there is a voice text interface they also allow you to improve your pronunciation. Phrasebooks for iPods are also now appearing. However, there doesn't appear to be an Arabic version available for either GPS or iPod yet.
You can complete this PDQ course just by listening to the recordings, but using the interesting (and well illustrated) course book will help you reinforce the language learnt in the audio recordings, and will also teach you the basics of reading and writing Egyptian Arabic.
You will also find other resources to help improve your pronounciation of Arabic in the following sections:
This pronunciation system avoids common Arabic pronunciation mistakes. A set of easy-to-read vowel symbols are combined with consonants enable you to read quickly and in a more straightforward way than other systems of transliteration. The authors expect that, "almost instantly, you will be able to confidently pronounce and use 500 essential words and phrases in Arabic".
You may also find the more advanced section Vocabulary for the Media and Newspapers useful
Features of the new edition:
Also see the PICTURE DICTIONARIES reviewed elsewhere on this page.
The 165 topics include Everyday Language, Housing, Health, and Food, all targeted to meet the needs of adults and young adults.
Each unit starts with an introductory page of key vocabulary, and ends with a story page illustrated with a dynamic scene - an interesting way of reviewing words and presenting additional vocabulary.
Be aware that it is not a dialect dictionary, although it contains many Egyptian and other dialect words. Colloquial Arabic is not formally written, so 'dialect dictionaries' are specialized (and often written in transliteration).
Neither is it a Classical Arabic dictionary - although, again, it does contain a lot of classical vocbulary.
Words are in root order, not alphabetic order, so you do need a grasp of the grammar to be able to use this dictionary effectively.
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.
The preface introduces the genre and includes bibliographical hints for further study.
This new edition features an attractive, lively page layout with hundreds of cartoons and exercises. The Arabic alphabet is presented little by little so that it is not overwhelming. To get learners speaking straight away, there are new conversational sections.
The extra explanations and transliterations will be especially helpful to people studying alone.
Two audio CDs accompany the book which is available separately.
The three sections cover
Advanced Media Arabic by Mustapha Lahlali
"Media Arabic" is an activity book helping students to learn core vocabulary and structures typical of front-page news, various modes of coverage, distinguish fact from opinion, detect bias, and read critically in Arabic.
Students gain experience in reading extended texts faster and more accurately by focusing on the relationships among meaning, language form, and markers of cohesive discourse, and three self-assessment units keep them moving forward effectively. Understanding the language of the newspapers, magazines, and internet news sites gives intermediate and advanced-level students of Modern Standard Arabic direct access to their sources.