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Fun Books, Audio, Visual & Interactive Language Learning Resources
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.
THE ARABIC ALPHABET - a basic introducion to the Arabic alphabet, supported by a good selection of books
ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY - a basic introducion to the beautiful art of Arabic calligraphy, supported by a good selection of books and prints
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.
Types of language learning resources available
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.
Also see some amazing offers at the
online shop . . .
or at search for Transparent Language Arabic at amazon
From the 'Speak 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.
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.
Also see our feature about the
Arabic Alphabet (for older / adult readers)
The Arabic Speak in a Week series is difficult to get hold of at the moment - but the Flashcards are available - at a price! - £52.99 new or £29.98 used!
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.
Designed to teach Arabic in a lively interactive manner to younger learners, it is intended for use by parents or teachers working closely with their children or pupils. This first book aims to teach the Arabic alphabet in its basic form through simple written exercises supported by the clear, arrowed diagrams over which the child can trace, thus encouraging him or her to develop confidence and independence in writing the isolate letters. Numerous exercises are included to reinforce letter recognition, alphabetical sequencing and writing practice. Arabic numbers from one to ten, a wide range of colours and other useful vocabulary is included. Various fun activities enable the child to use words in a meaningful context.
Mini flashcards help test the child's recognition of numbers and colours.
Part of a series of readers designed to to prepare students for the university of London (UK) GCE-Level and A-Level examinations. the series is also part of the 'Duroos al-Lughah al-'Arabiyyah Eight Part Course for the Learning of Arabic as taught in The Islamic University, Madinah (with illustrations)'
Essential language skills are taught through a series of conversational lessons backed up with a variety of exercises to help the student to understand and apply each of the grammatical patterns. Vocabulary includes classical Arabic and words and expressions current in Modern Arabic.
A satisfying range of picture-storybooks for younger children have been translated for use as Bilingual Arabic-English Picture Storybooks, many of them all time kids classics such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Nita breaks her leg and needs to be brave when she is taken to hospital. Illustrated with pictures of Chris Petty's wonderful plasticine models.
"A gruffalo? What's a gruffalo?"
"The Gruffalo" is just the best childrens' book ever!! who could resist "The Gruffalo", translated into Arabic? Great idea - I love it!
also see our "Gruffalo" feature - which includes some great "gruffalo" travel products . . .
The 'Fun Arabic Learning: Second Level Reading Book' is currently unavailable.
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)
Also see: 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.
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.
(the first 2 hours of the"Foundation Course")
- as well as the more advanced courses listed below.
Other Languages to learn using the MICHEL THOMAS method
(more about the Michel Thomas method below)
see more about the terrific Eurotalk multi-media language learning materials below.
A five hour Arabic Advanced Course using the"Michel Thomas Method" - follows on from the"8-hour Foundation Course" (see above).
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. Recent DVDs is their "Talk More DVD-Video Classical Arabic" to enrich your 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.
Essential Words and Phrases for Absolute Beginners
Learn enough language to add enjoyment when travelling to Egypt and other Arabic speaking countries. The audio recordings use native speakers to ensure good pronunciation and better understanding 'on location'. The active vocabulary is more than 500 words, covering a variety of everyday situation.
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.
Interactive CD-ROM with over 4,000 vocabulary items, expressions and phrases, spoken by a native speaker, which is essential for quality language learning. Listen, then record and compare your own pronunciation (both by listening and by looking at the graphical wave-pattern feedback). The learning system helps you to understand the cultural and grammatical context of the phrases you are learning. The CD-ROM is supported by a 24 page book and customizable vocabulary practice sheets to print out - plus regularly updated online resources.
Runs on Windows XP (and also Win 98 SE, ME, 2000)
Starter-lessons in languages from Arabic to Quechua and Zulu - all in one place - with full text, audio, dialogues and games. Not a through course, but useful for holidays.
You will also find other resources to help improve your pronounciation of Arabic in the following sections:
The innovative teachers at Easily Pronounced Language Systems (EPLS) developed a sound-based pronunciation system in response to the practical communication needs of travelers. Members of the press who had been issued with EPLS mini-phasebooks for the 2004 Athens Olympics gave them rave reviews.
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
Also see the PICTURE DICTIONARIES reviewed elsewhere on this page.
This scholarly and hefty dictionary (well over a thousand pages) is the prime dictionary resource for serious students of Arabic.
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.
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.
An excellent beginner resource. 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.
Intended as a first reader in Egyptian-Arabic drama for European students, these five short one act plays are bi-lingual - transcribed in Roman characters. Each play has passages which are awkward to interpret, so explanatory footnotes are provided to help with passages which cannot be readily looked up in existing dictionaries.
The preface introduces the genre and includes bibliographical hints for further study.
Specially composed melodies with rhythmic repetitions — and sound patterns which are designed to be intensely memorable so that you can learn the phrase with the correct accent ringing in your ears. After listening several times you should be able to ask for a table in a restaurant, order food and drink, take a taxi, rent a car, buy tickets, deal with money, numbers, times and days, ask for directions, deal with typical problems, hold a simple conversation — and more. Learn Arabic whilst driving, jogging or doing the ironing. Transfer it to your Ipod or other MP3 player to use on the go.
Learn Arabic - there's no reading or writing involved and the course has been specifically designed to work with your iPod or MP3 player. Great tuition for travellers.
This best-selling and hugely popular and 'usable' introductory course to the structure, grammar and vocabulary Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) - not contemporary Egyptian Arabic. This language course is carefully-paced and lively, and uses some of the best 'EFL' and modern language teaching methods, proven to work across a wide range of learner backgrounds.
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.
'Mastering Arabic 2' is a new second level / intermediate Arabic course to follow up the popular 'Mastering Arabic', and has the same engaging style with lively dialogues, varied exercises and cultural insights. It suits a diverse learner base - self-study, through community college and school, to university primer/first year course.
Two audio CDs accompany the book which is available separately.
'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
Advanced Media Arabic by Mustapha Lahlali
A unique and timely learning tool to help anyone - in academia, governments, NGOs or business - access Arabic language news at firsthand.
"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.
A reference and activity grammar book for all beginners and early intermediate students of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). 'Mastering Arabic Grammar' reinforces and expands the structures and vocabulary presented in 'Mastering Arabic', but will work well with other courses. The two sections are basic grammar and verbs, with clear structural explanations and practice activities. Further grammatical explanations and activities covering formal, literary and religious Arabic are included.