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Gateway to Arabic: Book 1

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With its wealth of practice materials,

Gateway to Arabic Book One

teaches the skills necessary for reading and writing the language.

This book covers:

* Recognition of

Arabic letters

in their isolate form

* F

ormulation of letters in their written isolate form

, with clear arrows to indicate the correct writing direction

* The three short vowels: fatha, kasra and damma

* The recognition and formulation of letters in their joined forms

* Nunation (al-tanween)

* The three long vowels (al-madd)

* Al-sukun

* Al-shadda

* The sun and moon letters (al-huruf al-shamsiyyah wa'l-qamariyyah), and their associated rules

* Al-alif al-maqsura

* Al-hamza

Detailed information of Gateway to Arabic Book One by Dr, Imran Alawiye only for website users.

This book is basically a foundation course in reading and writing the Arabic script. The first thing you will notice is that it is oriented from right to left to accustom the learner to the idea that Arabic books are read in a manner that they might perceive as being back to front. All of the titles in this series are set out in this way. The key objective of this book is that, by the end, students would have acquired a sufficient grounding to be able to read vocalised Arabic text. It does not, however, aim to teach any vocabulary or grammar at this stage: that begins in book two of the series.

(Page 5)

Book One begins with the Arabic alphabet. Each letter has at least half a page of its own with space for the student to copy the letters and gain handwriting practice. The individual letters are illustrated at the top right hand side of the page with clear numbered arrows indicating the direction in which the letter should be written. A transliterated form of the name of each letter is also provided in Roman script. A small arrow across the top of each page is there to prompt the learner to remember to write from right to left. The first line of letters is shown in grey. This is particularly useful for younger learners who can trace over the grey letters to get a feel for writing the letter before attempting to do so on their own.

(Page 21)

After completing the alphabet in its isolate form, the three short vowels (fatha, kasra and damma) are introduced, with a brief note on their positioning relative to the letters. The alphabet is shown in its entirety with all three vowellings for reading and speaking practice and to reinforce familiarisation with the letter names.

(Page 24)

Additional reading materials to help the student consolidate what he or she has learnt so far are provided. Here, the student is introduced to his first complete Arabic words, albeit in an isolated form at this stage.

(Page 25)

An overview of the alphabet in its joined forms is given, together

(page 27)

with a page of explanation about the nature of Arabic as a script that is written in a joined-up form. The six letters of the alphabet that cannot be joined to the left are highlighted here and on the following page. We have termed these ‘naughty letters’ to appeal to the younger learner who can think of them as being ‘unfriendly’ in that they do not wish to ‘hold hands’ with or link to those to the left of them.

(Page 29)

There follow several pages of practice in joining letters together, based on simple three-root-letter verb forms. In the right hand column, the word is broken down into each of its vocalised isolate letters. In the middle column, the joined forms of the letters are shown, and in the left hand column the completed, joined word is given, together with its meaning. As mentioned earlier, it is not the intention of this first book to teach vocabulary in a constructive manner – the meanings are only provided to reassure the more curious learners that what they are reading is of value and they are not just producing pointless sounds! Many of the words that appear in book one are revisited in a more meaningful context later in the series.

(Page 38)

At the end of this section, students should be able to join up letters for themselves without being spoon-fed the joined letter shapes.

(Page 40)

The next section deals with tanween – the final ‘an’, ‘in’ and ‘un’ sounds that appear at the end of many indefinite Arabic nouns and adjectives, together with a page of reading and handwriting practice based on everyday vocabulary.

(Page 44)

We then proceed to the long vowel sounds (alif al-madd, yaa al-madd and waaw al-madd), again with a page of reading and handwriting practice.

(Page 48)

Next, sukoon is introduced with an explanation of its function. Here the dipthongs -ay and –ow are also explained with additional reading and writing practice material. This is followed by a page on the role of the shaddah as a strengthening symbol, again with supporting words for reading and writing practice.

(Page 50)

To help students improve their pronunciation, a page of similar sounding words is given to encourage them to distinguish, for example between the kaaf and the qaaf sounds, the seen and the saad, as well as other letters that are unfamiliar to the non-Arabic speaker. This page is particularly useful for the purpose of dictation in the classroom setting, although any of the materials in the book can be used to this purpose.

(Page 51)

The following section provides reinforcement for everything the student has learnt so far. Each page has a set of twelve words for reading practice. The student then has to fill in the missing letters and vocalisation for ten of those words in the box at the bottom of the page.

(Page 61)

We then turn our attention to the sun and moon letters and the differences between definite and indefinite words in Arabic. Students are taught how to add the definite article ‘al’ to words, and how the first letter of a word may affect the pronunciation of the word once it is defined. Reinforcement is given through an exercise where students have to change undefined words into defined words, grouping them according to their initial letters under ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ letter headings. Again, this provides scope for reading practice.

(Page 64)

The last areas to be covered are the alif al-maqsura and its positioning at the end of some Arabic words, and the hamza, with a page of reading practice for each. The book concludes with additional reading materials, including everyday Islamic phrases, and the ninety-nine beautiful names of God as extended reading practice in defined sun and moon letter words.

This is a highly popular book, and part of its appeal lies in its suitability for use across a broad age range. For example, it is being used by madrasah children aged as young as five, right through to university level students and adult learners. A recording of the book is available for purchase in audio cassette or audio CD format, which is of particular benefit to self-taught learners who might otherwise struggle to learn the correct pronunciation.

Anglo Arabic Graphics Ltd
Author: Dr Imran H. Alawiye
Binding: Paper Back