Who Should Use This Book?

Word of wisdom from author James M. Price …

I know that students never read the preface to a book so I am including the material below in this section instead. Yes, I know that you know everything in the world about how to study Arabic and even more about how to work through a self-study guide. That is why your Arabic is weak and your grammatical knowledge embarrasses you. So take a minute and read the following.

This book is divided into three parts. Part I includes all of the basics commonly taught in the first semester in a university-level Arabic course. No matter how much Arabic you have had (two years, three years, or ten years), you should start at the beginning of Part I and work your way through every chapter from beginning to end. You should do this, of course, at your own pace. Most people, even those working full-time, find that they can work through one chapter and its drills per day. Since there are only five chapters in Part One, you can complete Part I in five days. At the end of these five days you will understand the basic elements of an Arabic sentence. You will fully understand the case endings, plurals, idaafas, noun-adjective phrases, demonstratives, most of the rules of agreement in Arabic, and much more. You will have mastered the equational sentence and will have dealt with simple verbal sentences. You will then be ready for the core of the book, Part II.

Part II concentrates on the verb system of Arabic. You will start with Chapter One of Part II. This chapter is the most crucial chapter in the book. Take your time with it. Go through just one section of it a day, or even one section every two days. When you finish this chapter you will understand how Form I verbs work. All of them. Sound verbs, hollow verbs, defective verbs, doubled verbs, and assimilated verbs. You will be able to handle these verbs in the past tense, present tense, and the jussive (a form of negation with a past-tense meaning). You will also understandليس  and كان and how they are used.

You will then go on to the next chapter and gradually work your way through all seven chapters of Part II. When you have completed Part II, you will understand almost all of the Arabic grammar you will ever have to learn in order to read, write, or speak Arabic at any level you wish.

How long will it take to finish Part II? It is hard to say. I recommend that you do just a few pages a day. No more than one section of one chapter at a time. If you do this every other day, it will probably take about about three months.

Part III contains explanations of Arabic grammatical points which are secondary to your over all understanding of the language. You may look at any of the first four chapters of Part III at any time you like.

Part III also contains chapters on the use of the Hans Wehr Arabic-English dictionary, and on how to be a good Arabic student. You should read these two chapters (chapters five and six) soon after you start working on Part I. Just take a break and go look at them. They are very easy to read, entertaining, and, in my mind, very, very important.

The last chapter in Part III is an annotated key to all of the drills in Parts I and II. You should refer to it as you complete each exercise. Now keep reading.