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Ahlan wa Sahlan

Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners by Mahdi Alosh

Primary Use: Textbook for moving from intermediate level Arabic to advanced
Format:18 lessons, each beginning with the lesson objectives, text and grammatical lessons as well as exercises interspersed throughout, cultural components, and a vocabulary list at the end of each chapter.
Key:Back of the book
Meant For:Intermediate to advanced


This book starts with the alphabet and brings students through to the intermediate level by the end of the book. The linguistic background of the author helps in describing pronunciation, and the book even includes a diagram of a face and mouth so as to explain the various linguistic terminology as well as where the tongue should be placed in the mouth to produce the letters.

The recordings in the book are not used as heavily as in the al-Kitaab series, and must be purchased separately. However, the grammatical components are arranged in a more complete way from the beginning, without the philosophy of students constructing their own internal grammar before being officially presented with the grammatical lesson. Each chapter states the learning objectives at the beginning, including the grammar involved. Nevertheless, the book approaches grammar from a communicative standpoint, only bringing it into play when definitive examples of how it affects the language can be used.

The grammatical terms employed in the book are in simple English, and where more complex terms are utilized, an explanation is frequently provided. The grammatical topics move from simple to complex throughout, and are occasionally revisited in the text as a sort of review and in order to include more information on a topic.

This book is not intended as a reference guide for grammar, as grammar acquisition is not the goal of this book. Rather, grammar acquisition is a byproduct of developing the ability to use the Arabic language, which is the main goal of the Ahlan wa Sahlan series.

How to Use It

This book presupposes no former knowledge of Arabic.

The chapters in this book are meant to be gone through in order, as each chapter builds on the previous chapters, making it difficult to skip around. The grammatical components are taught in a very orderly fashion and can be learned as the student moves through the book without feeling confused. The key to the exercises is located in appendix D in the back of the book.

Although there is an index that is meant for the entire book and not just for grammar, all grammatical terminology used can be found in the index. There is one in English and one in Arabic, both in alphabetical order. This can be good for those students wishing to review or learn a particular grammatical point. The highly detailed table of contents also includes the grammatical lessons as they appear in the text and can be browsed through in order to find a particular topic. Additionally, there are appendixes in the back relating to verb conjugations as well as the order of the alphabet, which is not found elsewhere in the text.

It is important to note that grammatical terms in Arabic are not found in the Arabic-English dictionary located in the back of Ahlan wa Sahlan, although they can be found in the Arabic index.

Citation Alosh, Mahdi. Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.