Easy Arabic Grammar
March 10, 2013
Authors Jane Wightwick, Mahmoud Gaafar
Publication Date 2005
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
I did not find Easy Arabic Grammar, by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar, easy.
I admit I had a brief spell of euphoric pleasure when I was reading the early pages, where I enjoyed an excellent and reassuring explanation of why vowels (short ones, at least, which are the ones that are not indicated) don’t matter in writing. They often differ from dialect to dialect, for one thing, and in Arabic, meaning is carried primarily by consonants.
But my euphoria quickly dissipated, and I had to stop by page 25, when I got hopelessly and permanently lost. Easy Arabic Grammar abandoned the poor helpless language learner (me) at a vulnerable stage, by skipping pedagogical steps and presuming knowledge without which I could not continue.
One source of trouble for me (I think) was that the majority of the little Arabic knowledge I had acquired was coming from Pimsleur Arabic, through which I had been studying the Levantine dialect, whereas this book focuses—appropriately—on Modern Standard Arabic.
That is not the book’s fault, but therein lies a challenge with Arabic studies—the wide variety in versions of Arabic used across countries and regions. Study materials often do not line up, so check which Arabic is represented in each or you will struggle with possibly significant inconsistencies.
Apart from that issue—which is not the writers’ responsibility—I still do not feel that Easy Arabic Grammar did enough to keep me unconfused and engaged.