10 Essential Books for Arabic Language Learners

The Arabic language is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. In fact, it is among the six official languages of the United Nations, along with Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Modern Standard Arabic is the lingua franca of 422 million native and non-native speakers and Classical Arabic is the religious language of 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.

If you are learning the Arabic language or interested in learning Arabic, here are 10 books that can help make your learning experience easier.

Easy Arabic Script

Easy Arabic Script

Author/Editor: Jane Wightwick, Mahmoud Gaafar
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: July 2005

Book Description:

An exceptionally clear and accessible reference and workbook for students of Arabic. Whether you are a complete beginner or just want to sharpen your writing skills, you’ll learn quickly from Easy Arabic Script. Clear explanations and graphics, along with exercises and activities will help you develop fluency in both reading and writing Arabic.

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Arabic Grammar

Arabic Grammar

Author/Editor: W. Wright, W. Robertson Smith, M. J. De Goege
Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
Edition No.: 3rd Revised Edition
Publication Date: April 2005

Book Description:

Anyone studying literary or classical Arabic beyond the elementary or tourist level will need this book. No other English-language grammar of the Arabic language is as thorough as this classic reference. The work was originally published in German in 1844-45 by Karl Paul Caspari, a theologian and orientalist. In 1859 English scholar W. Wright published this masterly translation of Caspari’s work, with numerous additions and corrections. Unlike many more recent grammars, this work contains few inaccuracies or errors. Moreover, although it is a reference grammar, it cites many examples of sentences, phrases, and figures of speech found in classical Arabic prose and poetry. Originally published in two volumes, it has been republished here in one volume; however, the original arrangement has been retained. Thus, Volume One covers orthography and orthoëpy, and parts of speech (including extensive coverage of verbs and nouns, numerals and the particles). Volume Two deals with syntax, including the component parts of a sentence, the sentence in general, and different kinds of sentences. A final section discusses prosody. Three indexes assist students in finding words, constructions, and grammatical categories. This third edition incorporates a number of helpful revisions, additions and corrections made to the second edition by W. Robertson Smith and M. J. de Goeje. The result is an unmatched resource for English-speaking students wishing to master the intricacies of Arabic.

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Modern Standard Arabic Grammar: A Learner’s Guide

Modern Standard Arabic Grammar: A Learner's Guide

Author/Editor: Mohammad T. Alhawary
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: May 2011

Book Description:

Modern Standard Arabic Grammar is comprehensive guide that introduces readers to the basic structure and grammar of the Arabic language. Its features include: comprehensive coverage of Arabic grammar and structure in current standard use (MSA), from entry level to advanced proficiency; balanced treatment of the phonological, syntactic, and morphological rules of the Arabic language; an intuitive presentation of grammar rules and structures, in order of frequency and functional use; and straightforward explanations with minimum linguistic jargon and terminology, explaining the key issues. Packed throughout with symbols, tables, diagrams, and illustrative examples, this book is essential reading for anyone in the early years of studying the language.

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Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic

Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic

Author/Editor: Hans Wehr, J. Milton Cowan
Publisher: Spoken Language Services; Harrassowitz Verlag
Edition No.: 4th Edition
Publication Date: July 1979

Book Description:

The Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic by Hans Wehr is widely regarded as the foremost Arabic-English bilingual or translation dictionary and has particular usefulness for students of Modern Standard Arabic. The morphology and syntax of written Arabic is essentially the same in all Arabic countries. Unlike many other Arabic-English dictionaries, it arranges each Arabic word according to its consonant root. Foreign words are listed in straight alphabetical order by first letter (in the Arabic script). Arabicized loanwords, if they can clearly fit under some root, are entered both ways, often with the root entry giving reference to the alphabetical listing.

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Al-Mawrid Al-Hadeeth: A Modern English-Arabic Dictionary

Al-Mawrid Al-Hadeeth: A Modern English-Arabic Dictionary

Author/Editor: Mounir Baalbaki, Rohi Baalbaki
Publisher: Dar El-Ilm Lilmaliyeen
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: July 2016

Book Description:

This large and contemporary dictionary contains fourteen hundred pages of words, linguistic constructions, and new idiomatic expressions. It introduces new vocabulary as well as new meanings. In addition, it includes the newest words from various sciences, including communications, electronics, and computer science.One of the special features of Al-Mawrid Dictionary is that different meanings under one entry are arranged chronologically, according to the historical period of use. The different meanings are also arranged in groups that differentiate between different shades of meaning. Also, definitions are separated by meanings and by their origin. Yet another special feature is that each meaning has a specific term that can be associated with that meaning.Al-Mawrid Dictionary is filled with illustrations and it separates vocabularies within each section, as is standard in other English dictionaries.

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Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar

Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar

Author/Editor: Jane Wightwick, Mahmoud Gaafar
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Edition No.: 3rd Edition
Publication Date: January 2018

Book Description:

The all-in-one guide to mastery of Arabic grammar. Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar provides an excellent introduction to the basics of Arabic if you are a beginner or a quick, thorough reference is you already have experience in the language. It offers a solid foundation of major verbal and grammatical concepts of the language, providing clear explanations of concepts and how they are similar, or very different, in Arabic and English. Each unit is devoted to one topic, so you can find what you need and get focused instruction immediately. Concise yet thorough, the explanations are supported by numerous examples to help you master the different concepts. And for those tricky verbs, Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar includes a Verb Index of the most common verbs, cross-referenced with the abundant verb tables appearing throughout the book. This book will give you all this: concise explanations of verbs, adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and other grammar essentials; examples that reflect contemporary usage and real-life situations; and a high-frequency index to 400 Arabic verbs, cross-referenced to relevant sections in the book. New to this edition, twelve Authors’ Tutorials that will help your understanding of the system of Arabic verb roots. These recordings are available as streaming audio through the McGraw-Hill Language Lab app.

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The Concise Arabic-English Lexicon of Verbs in Context

The Concise Arabic-English Lexicon of Verbs in Context

Author/Editor: Ahmed Taher Hassanein, Kamar Mostafa Abdou, Dalal Abo El Seoud
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Edition No.: Revised Edition
Publication Date: July 2011

Book Description:

This classic learning aid, popular with teachers and students alike, has now been fully revised and substantially expanded for a complete new edition. With a fully vocalized Arabic text in clear, legible type, this invaluable lexicon now contains more than 3,500 Arabic verbs from 1,450 verb roots. Entries feature concise English definitions, the perfect and imperfect tenses and verbal noun of each verb, and carefully crafted context sentences to illustrate the correct usage and clarify the meaning. An index of English definition helps the user navigate the entries.

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DK Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

DK Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

Author/Editor:
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Edition No.: Revised, Updated Edition
Publication Date: March/April 2017

Book Description:

Newly revised and updated, the Arabic–English Bilingual Visual Dictionary is a quick and intuitive way to learn and recall everyday words in Arabic. Introducing a range of useful current vocabulary in thematic order, this dictionary uses full-color photographs and artworks to display and label all the elements of everyday life—from the home and office to sport, music, nature, and the countries of the world—with panel features on key nouns, verbs, and useful phrases. The illustrations provide a quick and intuitive route to learning the language, defining the words visually so it is easier to remember them and creating a colorful and stimulating learning resource for the foreign-language and EFL/ESL student.

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The Connectors in Modern Standard Arabic

The Connectors in Modern Standard Arabic

Author/Editor: Nariman Naili Al-Warraki, Ahmed Taher Hassanein
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: March 1995

Book Description:

Most Arabic textbooks concentrate on morphology and syntax, but while these provide the indispensable structural base, students still find there is a wide gap between their theoretical knowledge and their practical ability to write connected prose. This unique textbook concentrates on the connectors (those articles, phrases, or idioms which join words, phrases, clauses, or sentences) in a functional setting with the aim of developing and improving the writing skills of intermediate and advanced students of Arabic as a foreign language. Each lesson of The Connectors begins with a presentation of the structures, followed by a sample text and sample sentences, before moving on to a graded series of exercises. The book contains twenty-seven lessons, including five review lessons, and a sample test at the end.

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Using Numbers in Arabic

Using Numbers in Arabic

Author/Editor: Jamal Ali
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Edition No.:
Publication Date: December 2013

Book Description:

Using Numbers in Arabic is an invaluable reference for the intermediate to advanced learner of Arabic. The proper use of numbers can often be perplexing for students of the Arabic language. While most Arabic grammars and textbooks include a chapter or discussion on the topic, that coverage is inadequate for serious students, scholars, and researchers. This guide shows the reader, using clear explanations and examples, exactly how to use cardinal and ordinal numbers in Arabic, from one to the billions and beyond. Each entry features a brief description in English followed by examples in Arabic from actual written and recorded texts; each example is also accompanied by an English translation. All information is based on real-world practice, with helpful citations from literature and media to illustrate each principle. In a second section, the author covers useful number-related topics, such as dates, times, fractions, decimals, and percentages, as well as basic arithmetic functions. While focusing on Modern Standard Arabic, the volume also covers Classical Arabic and describes and illustrates differences between classical and modern practice. The volume’s glossary, bibliography, and index will also be useful to students. Using Numbers in Arabic is a handy addition to the reference shelf of every serious student of the Arabic language, and it will be welcomed by native speakers with fluency in English interested in a reference on how to render numbers correctly.

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The Arabic language is one of the most difficult languages to learn. It is a Semitic language which has its own script that is written and read from right to left. But we hope that with the help of the listed books above, your journey towards speaking and writing one of the most widely spoken languages on earth will be smoother and easier.