Team Middle East

An area with study groups for various languages. Group members help each other, share resources and experience. Study groups are permanent but the members rotate and change.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:06 am

Hashimi wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:So, I think I will tackle the FSI Saudi Arabic Basic (Urban Hijazi Dialect) course from 1975 together with some MSA from a French base (likely Assimil, but not 100% sure).

Would using audio courses, such as Michel Thomas if based on another Arabic dialect (I believe it’s Egyptian Arabic) audio course during commutes for example, be useful (asking anyone)? Or is it too far removed from the Arabian dialects?


Please stay away from the old Arabic course by Assimil, this course is completely BS!


Hi again Hashimi, thanks again for your input.

Oh, that's a shame re: the Assimil course. What's not good about it, if you don't mind me asking?

Hashimi wrote:The latest one is better, but it is in MSA and does not teach any colloquial Arabic.


Yeah, that's the plan, to use it to learn MSA. In fact, since I intend on learning some MSA as well as some dialect, I figured that as I can't be picky about which courses I decide to use for learning colloquial spoken language (FSI Hijazi, as discussed), which is from an English base, I'll therefore use French based resources to learn MSA. I am a fan of Assimil, but my impression is one dimensional since I've only used two Assimil courses, both from an English base to learn French.

It's a shame I can't use the two Assimil beginner courses together (Assimil l'Arabe sans peine and the latest one: l'arabe), as that was the plan I was gravitating towards to learn some MSA. So, you feel, Hashimi, that the latest Assimil course is at least okay? Any further details in comparison with the old one (l'arabe sans peine)? What about the 'perfectionnement' Assimil course?

Here's a list of French based learning materials I've come across for learning MSA (some I am not sure are for MSA, yet to clarify, but most are), would you happen to have any feedback on any of them? Those in bold are of particular interest, the rest are more superfluous that I have added to my list in the course of simply searching amazon.fr and elsewhere.

Also in the second list I have put in bold a trilingual dictionary (as, naturally, I'd prefer to have an Arabic dictionary with French as well), do you know it, by chance?

Ressources en français pour apprendre l’arabe (MSA) :

1. Assimil Apprendre L’Arabe Faux Débutants
2. Assimil Arabe Débutants - Les cahiers d’exercices
3. Assimil Arabe Les Bases Débutants - Les cahiers d’ecriture
4. Assimil Arabe Faux Débutants - Les cahiers d’exercices
5. Arabe Audio en Parallèle
6. Glossika Arabe-Français (?MSA)
7. 40 Leçons pour parler Arabe (livre + 2 CD)
8. Arabe - Grammaire Active - exposé des règles, exercices et corrigés
9. Arabe : Les verbes
10. Méthode 90. Arabe Pratique de Bases (Arabe débutant 1 leçon par jour pendant 3 mois)
11. L’Arabe Langue Vivante I
12. L’Arabe Langue Vivante II
13. L’Arabe Langue Vivante III

14. Assimil L’Arabe sans Peine
15. Assimil L’Arabe (livre + 2CD)
16. Manuel d’arabe littéral
17. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome I
18. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome II
19. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome III
20. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome IV
21. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome V
22. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome VI
23. Manuel d'arabe en ligne: Les bases de l'arabe en 50 semaines -Tome VII

24. Manuel d’Arabe Moderne 1
25. Manuel d’Arabe Moderne 2

26. Assimil Perfectionnement Arabe

----------------------------------
Dictionnaires arabe-français :

1. Al-Mawrid Trilingual dictionary: Arabic-English-French: found here on amazon
2. Larousse des écoliers dictionnaire illustré FR-FR-AR (4200 entrées, 500 illustrations)
3. Dictionnaire arabe : français-arabe (100,000 mots, la couverture est verte)
4. Larousse dictionnaire Arabe (200,000 mots)
5. Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary by DK en combination avec (que j'ai déjà): French-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary by DK
6. Vocabulaire français arabe pour l’autoformation 3000 mots
7. Vocabulaire français arabe pour l’autoformation 5000 mots
8. Vocabulaire français arabe pour l’autoformation 7000 mots
9. Vocabulaire français arabe pour l’autoformation 9000 mots

Hashimi wrote:Michel Thomas Arabic course is useless. Jane Wightwick talks so much English that it feels more like an English lesson with a lot of errors and badly pronounced sentences by the two students. If I were to estimate the percentage of how much time the Arabic native speaker, Mahmoud Gaafar (he is an Egyptian by the way), spoke throughout the entire audio course, I would say less than 5%. It is in fact devoid of any authentic listening opportunities. I recommend you to spend your commuting time listening to real Arabic audio like podcasts or audiobooks. Choose a very short audio with a transcript in a topic you are interested in, and listen to it repeatedly.


That's very useful information, thanks Hashimi. I'll steer clear of MT Arabic, given your feeback. Any thoughts on Pimsleur Arabic and Rocket Languages Arabic? I hear that Rocket Languages Arabic is Egyptian Arabic. In your opinion is Egyptian Arabic of any use? (would using such a course be okay). Btw, I take into account your mentioning of podcasts, but I'd prefer to begin with an audio course if a decent one exists and I can get my hands on it. I like the slow audio, as it helps me to build my pronunciation in particular as well as comprehension in the beginning. Just for the record, I'm not the kind to spend time listening to incomprehensible masses of audio in a new language when starting out. Gradual building is preferred, thus comprehensible (yes ridiculously slow even) audio is what I like, so Pimsleur is fine for me (if suitable).
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby Hashimi » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:05 am

PeterMollenburg wrote: What's not good about it, if you don't mind me asking?


Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEmK_SO8Bo4


PeterMollenburg wrote:So, you feel, Hashimi, that the latest Assimil course is at least okay? Any further details in comparison with the old one (l'arabe sans peine)? What about the 'perfectionnement' Assimil course?


"L'arabe sans peine" / "Arabic with ease" and the "Perfectionnement Arabe" are the worse. "L'Arabe" (2013) / "Arabic" (2015) are better, but the audio is still unnatural, exaggerated, and very slow. Here is a sample from the 40th lesson:

https://soundcloud.com/assimil/le-on-n-40

Glossika is very good and unique, but it may be not suitable for you at this stage. It uses the "mass sentence method" combined with an advanced spaced repetition system to teach you MSA in context (I heard that there is an Egyptian version too). There are no grammar explanations or lists of vocabulary. It gives you a lot of exposure to a language, things like grammar, syntax, pronunciation etc, is all taken care of through mass exposure. Basically, there are 3,000 sentences with audio, IPA transcription, and English (or French) translation, in different kinds of audio formats (e.g. bilingual, target-only, etc.)

I know nothing about the other courses mentioned in your list. As for the dictionaries, Al-Mawrid and Larousse are well-known to students of Arabic everywhere (also Hans-Wehr), but who needs heavy paper dictionaries these days?

This website is all you need:

https://www.almaany.com/en/dict/ar-en/
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby cjareck » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:12 am

Hashimi wrote:https://www.almaany.com/en/dict/ar-en/

This dictionary looks extremely promising! Thank you very much. By the way, I also use traditional paper dictionaries since sometimes I need to translate older vocabulary.
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DLI MSA Basic Course
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:54 am

Hashimi wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote: What's not good about it, if you don't mind me asking?


Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEmK_SO8Bo4


I watched the video. To be honest, I don't see the issue. To add to that, I must emphasize that I do prefer courses that are slow, particularly in the beginning, when starting out in a language I have very little (if any) understanding of (me and Arabic, zero background, nothing at all). So, if that's the main reason for your dislike of the course, then for me it's actually a plus. With regards to the older edition, there are only 2 votes on Amazon, with an overall 3.5 out of 5. Not enough votes to be conclusive.

Hashimi wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:So, you feel, Hashimi, that the latest Assimil course is at least okay? Any further details in comparison with the old one (l'arabe sans peine)? What about the 'perfectionnement' Assimil course?


"L'arabe sans peine" / "Arabic with ease" and the "Perfectionnement Arabe" are the worse. "L'Arabe" (2013) / "Arabic" (2015) are better, but the audio is still unnatural, exaggerated, and very slow. Here is a sample from the 40th lesson:

https://soundcloud.com/assimil/le-on-n-40


With regards to your complaints about the Assimil Arabic courses, if they are mainly about the slowness of the audio, you're not alone. I know there are other learners about these parts that cannot stand the slow audio. I love it. Without it, I cannot approach an entirely new language in the manner I wish to. It helps me break down the sounds, get my head around it, and enunciate the sounds slowly. Once I become more confident, I speed things up (my speaking, I mean). If your complaints also relate to other aspects of the courses, I'd like to hear about them. When it comes to the latest Assimil L'Arabe course, four voters all gave it 5/5 on Amazon. That's a better sample size, but still not conclusive. However 5 out of 5 sounds promising.

My comments are not to be intended as argumentative, Hashimi, I value your feedback, I am just sincerely wondering whether our approaches to language learning are vastly different. What suits one learner may infuriate another. I mean, it's not that common that learners of European languages on this forum don't complete the initial Assimil (level = sans peine series) course in their chosen language of study. Whereas I completed that course in French, as well as the Using French (more advanced follow up course) by Assimil as well. Furthermore, I've completed close to 30 courses in French, and although I don't wish to reach that number in subsequent languages I choose to study, it perhaps can serve to demonstrate that I'm a language learner that likes the structure and even unnatural breakdown (both in audio and visually) of language as I learn it.

Hashimi wrote:Glossika is very good and unique, but it may be not suitable for you at this stage. It uses the "mass sentence method" combined with an advanced spaced repetition system to teach you MSA in context (I heard that there is an Egyptian version too). There are no grammar explanations or lists of vocabulary. It gives you a lot of exposure to a language, things like grammar, syntax, pronunciation etc, is all taken care of through mass exposure. Basically, there are 3,000 sentences with audio, IPA transcription, and English (or French) translation, in different kinds of audio formats (e.g. bilingual, target-only, etc.)


This sounds good, but I take heed of your warning in that it's not suitable for me currently. I have used Glossika for French as well, so your descriptions make a lot of sense to me. Thank you kindly for sharing.

Hashimi wrote:I know nothing about the other courses mentioned in your list. As for the dictionaries, Al-Mawrid and Larousse are well-known to students of Arabic everywhere (also Hans-Wehr), but who needs heavy paper dictionaries these days?

This website is all you need:

https://www.almaany.com/en/dict/ar-en/


Thank you for taking a look at the list anyway, I appreciate it, Hashimi. :)

As for the dictionary, well here perhaps we differ as well. I have two very thick French dictionaries sitting beside me - one French only, the other FR-EN-FR. Why? Well, I just like paper sometimes, and I feel our reliance on technology is a little unhealthy. Call me nostalgic or a bit old-fashioned, if you will. Mind you I'm frequently on my electronic dictionary apps on my phone and I do make use of online dictionaries as well. Thus, I am nostalgic, but the reality is that technology can and does make things easier and more efficient too. Unfortunately, convenience is used to 'sell' human beings many things that seemingly improve their lives, but ultimately they'd be better of without. To fight against such a tide however, seems almost pointless sometimes.

I'm very pleased to see French-Arabic offered via the online dictionary you provided the link for, thank you :)
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby ancient forest » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:31 pm

Hashimi wrote:So basically, most verbs and nouns are the same in MSA and Hijazi. Just learn MSA + the function words of Hijazi + the intonation, and don't pronounce the final vowels of MSA (e.g. say "akalt" or "akalit" أكلتْ not "akaltu" أكلتُ)


If you want to take the approach of modifying MSA to sound less bookish, I think that the Formal Spoken Arabic Fast Course and Basic Course work really well. The Fast Course is easier, but the Basic Course assumes an intermediate level of MSA before starting it. There are a lot of dialogues to listen to, and that is actually what the bulk of the course is based around. The nouns and verbs are not used in exactly the same way as MSA, but there are used in a very similar way. It then uses function words that are common across the Arab word, but it defaults to Levantine when they are different, so it represents a sort of mix between MSA and dialects. It is categorized in Badawi's (1985) continuum as level 3 by Ryding:

Level one: fusha al-turath Classical Arabic

Level two: fusha al-asr Modern Standard Arabic

Level three: ammiyyat al-muthaqqafin Educated Spoken Arabic/Formal Spoken Arabic

Level four: ammiyat al-mutanawwirin Semi-literature Spoken Arabic

Level five: ammiyat al-ummiyyin Illiterate Spoken Arabic

I am not sure that it is necessary to break Arabic into five categories, and I think that it is enough to use 3: Classical Arabic, MSA, and Colloquial Arabic. However, it is clear that this course represents a cross between MSA and Colloquial Arabic in an attempt to make it easier for students who can speak in MSA to build on their MSA knowledge and communicate with native speakers.


Hashimi wrote:Michel Thomas Arabic course is useless.


I would not go so far as to say that it is useless. I think that it has a lot of shortcomings. That is for sure, but it is easy enough for beginners, which I think is good because it helps beginning students to gain more confidence before tackling other courses. Arabic is not easy, and I think that easy courses can be used even if they have shortcomings. However, it would be hard for me to recommend another book for self study in the Egyptian dialect. The main book that I used to study Egyptian Arabic is the Kallimni 'Arabi series. It is good, but I can't recommend it to beginners for self study because the entire book is written in Arabic and the glossary does not contain all of the meanings. It can be recommended for studying with a tutor though. I studied the second book and half of the third book with a tutor, and I found that to be beneficial.


PeterMollenburg wrote:As for the dictionary, well here perhaps we differ as well. I have two very thick French dictionaries sitting beside me - one French only, the other FR-EN-FR. Why? Well, I just like paper sometimes, and I feel our reliance on technology is a little unhealthy.


The most useful paper dictionary in Arabic and English is Hans Wehr. The only issue with it for beginners is that the words are arranged by root letters and the verbs are categorized by ten forms, which makes it difficult to use until learning some Arabic morphology. That is why I think that it is enough for beginners to rely on using the glossaries in textbooks and using online sources until enough Arabic morphology is learned to use dictionaries properly. Another dictionary that is useful for advanced studies in Classical Arabic is Lane's Lexicon, but you would not need that for quite a while unless you are just interested in collecting dictionaries.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:22 pm

ancient forest wrote:
Hashimi wrote:So basically, most verbs and nouns are the same in MSA and Hijazi. Just learn MSA + the function words of Hijazi + the intonation, and don't pronounce the final vowels of MSA (e.g. say "akalt" or "akalit" أكلتْ not "akaltu" أكلتُ)


If you want to take the approach of modifying MSA to sound less bookish, I think that the Formal Spoken Arabic Fast Course and Basic Course work really well. The Fast Course is easier, but the Basic Course assumes an intermediate level of MSA before starting it. There are a lot of dialogues to listen to, and that is actually what the bulk of the course is based around. The nouns and verbs are not used in exactly the same way as MSA, but there are used in a very similar way. It then uses function words that are common across the Arab word, but it defaults to Levantine when they are different, so it represents a sort of mix between MSA and dialects. It is categorized in Badawi's (1985) continuum as level 3 by Ryding:


Hi ancient forest, I just want to clarify what you mean by Formal Spoken Arabic Fast Course and Basic Course. Is the former the DLI Saudi Arabic Headstart course you're referring to and the latter ('Basic Course' as you've written) the FSI Saudi Arabic (Urban Hijazi Dialect) Basic Course that you are referring to?

If you feel that the 'Basic Course' assumes an intermediate level of MSA, I think it is not a good course for me to begin with. I was looking at beginning with one MSA course and one Saudi Arabic course at the same time. Perhaps it might be better for me to begin with the Saudi Arabic Headstart course before tackling the FSI Saudi Arabic Basic Course, then. This together with what Hashimi has mentioned with regards to Assimil has me thinking that in terms of rating certain courses as particularly good or bad, Hashimi has been perhaps strongly influenced by the pace of the course and maybe how complex the course in question might be. For me, an absolute beginner in Arabic, starting of with faster-paced courses or courses assuming some background understand of MSA, is not a good idea.


ancient forest wrote:it is clear that this course represents a cross between MSA and Colloquial Arabic in an attempt to make it easier for students who can speak in MSA to build on their MSA knowledge and communicate with native speakers.
Again, you mean the DLI Saudi Arabic Headstart course, right?

ancient forest wrote:
Hashimi wrote:Michel Thomas Arabic course is useless.


I would not go so far as to say that it is useless. I think that it has a lot of shortcomings. That is for sure, but it is easy enough for beginners, which I think is good because it helps beginning students to gain more confidence before tackling other courses. Arabic is not easy, and I think that easy courses can be used even if they have shortcomings.


I'm glad you are putting yourself in the learners shoes here. Perhaps MT would be okay for me, given I need a LOT of hand-holding with such an alien (to me) language. But, the question reamains, would learning some Egyptian dialect be of any use to me moving to Riyadh or would it just serve to confuse me?

ancient forest wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:As for the dictionary, well here perhaps we differ as well. I have two very thick French dictionaries sitting beside me - one French only, the other FR-EN-FR. Why? Well, I just like paper sometimes, and I feel our reliance on technology is a little unhealthy.


The most useful paper dictionary in Arabic and English is Hans Wehr. The only issue with it for beginners is that the words are arranged by root letters and the verbs are categorized by ten forms, which makes it difficult to use until learning some Arabic morphology. That is why I think that it is enough for beginners to rely on using the glossaries in textbooks and using online sources until enough Arabic morphology is learned to use dictionaries properly. Another dictionary that is useful for advanced studies in Classical Arabic is Lane's Lexicon, but you would not need that for quite a while unless you are just interested in collecting dictionaries.


The reason I was keen on the French trilingual dictionary I had come across, was that, wherever possible I want French to serve as my base language. I'm not keen on purchasing a different dictionary because it's more highly regarded if it's only slightly better than the trilingual dictionary I came across (my wife could use the English, myself French). Still, I have my doubts about the trilingual dictionaries functionality in reality. In the end I think it's a good idea I just stick to the electronic dictionary Hashimi provided a link to, which has English and French and work out later if I need something else, as it sounds like I won't be needing something like that for a while.

Still, I had read about the Hans Wehr dictionary and did see that it was regarded as one of the best (if not the best), but in the end I drew my focus closer to the Al-Mawrid trilingual dictionary as the Al-Mawrid Arabic-English dictionary seemed almost as good as the Hans Wehr dictionary or even equally regarded, I just thought I'd then drop down a rung and go for the trilingual one even if I did lose several thousands of words (I am unlikely to need them).
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby ancient forest » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:45 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:Hi ancient forest, I just want to clarify what you mean by Formal Spoken Arabic Fast Course and Basic Course. Is the former the DLI Saudi Arabic Headstart course you're referring to and the latter ('Basic Course' as you've written) the FSI Saudi Arabic (Urban Hijazi Dialect) Basic Course that you are referring to?

They are not the same courses. The Formal Spoken Arabic: Fast (Ryding and Zaiback) and Basic (Ryding and Mehall) courses are published by Georgetown University Press with MP3 files. I think these courses are an attempt to train people to speak with educated Arabs from around the world using language that is more formal than colloquial Arabic but more natural for conversation than MSA. When colloquial terms are used, the intent is to use terms that are common to many dialects whenever possible, but they default to Levantine Arabic when there are differences.
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:59 pm

ancient forest wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:Hi ancient forest, I just want to clarify what you mean by Formal Spoken Arabic Fast Course and Basic Course. Is the former the DLI Saudi Arabic Headstart course you're referring to and the latter ('Basic Course' as you've written) the FSI Saudi Arabic (Urban Hijazi Dialect) Basic Course that you are referring to?

They are not the same courses. The Formal Spoken Arabic: Fast (Ryding and Zaiback) and Basic (Ryding and Mehall) courses are published by Georgetown University Press with MP3 files. I think these courses are an attempt to train people to speak with educated Arabs from around the world using language that is more formal than colloquial Arabic but more natural for conversation than MSA. When colloquial terms are used, the intent is to use terms that are common to many dialects whenever possible, but they default to Levantine Arabic when there are differences.


Thank you for the clarification ancient forest, I therefore was incorrect about Hashimi's view of courses in general. Thank you both for your input (I realise ancient forest, you were not initially addressing me, but thank you for clarifying).
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby ancient forest » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:47 am

PeterMollenburg wrote: I was looking at beginning with one MSA course and one Saudi Arabic course at the same time.


I would like to learn any of the Saudi dialects, and there may be others here that would like to learn either or both a Saudi dialect and MSA, so once you pick the courses you want to work on, maybe we could get a group together to work on the same material.

cjareck wrote:أهلا وسهلا ومرحبا يا اصدقاء!
I would like also encourage Arabic learners to use the thread as writing practice. Unfortunately writing such an encouragement in Arabic is currently far more above my level of the language. But maybe someday I will be able to post my thoughts in Arabic also ;)


Maybe working on the same material would help us to have writing practice with each other since we would have a common background to work with.
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Re: Team Middle East

Postby MattNeilsen » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:00 am

@PM, I'm just glad you're even dabbling in Arabic - the Team Middle East thread has seen more action in the last week than it has in the last ~6 months because of you :)
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