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Arabic Grammar


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On 11/17/2018 at 5:13 PM, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

This is an excellent book series for anyone wishing to come out speaking Arabic (or Modern Standard and Classical Arabic) with a high intermediate proficiency.

Salaam Brother @Ibn Al-Ja'abi, so this Madina course teaches both MSA and classical Arabic? From the quick google searches I’ve done Arabic is divided into 3 categories, there is Classical Arabic, MSA, and then there are the dialects. So from what I found, MSA is really close to the classical version of Arabic but it’s like a modern version of it like the name says lol. So, does this Madina course focus more on one, classical or modern standard, or does it really make a learner proficient at both? 

Also, I read that it’s better to learn MSA first then classical? Is this true? Because MSA is easier and after learning it it’d be easy to learn classical...

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46 minutes ago, AStruggler said:

Salaam Brother, so this Madina course teaches both MSA and classical Arabic? From the quick google searches I’ve done Arabic today is divided into 3 categories, there is Classical Arabic, MSA, and then there are the dialects. So from what I found, MSA is really close to the classical version of Arabic but it’s like a modern version of it like the name says lol. So, does Madina course focus more on one, classical or modern standard, or does it really makes a learner proficient at both? 

Salams,

From what I remember the Madina course is more focused on MSA. That being said it is still very good. You are right that MSA is very similar to classical Arabic in that it tries to maintain as much Classical vocabulary as possible and employs grammatical categories from Classical Arabic which are otherwise phased out in dialects (e.g. duality). Any book teaching MSA worth its salt would give you a solid foundation for Classical Arabic, however you need to keep in mind there are differences. MSA repurposed a lot of vocabulary from classical Arabic in order to avoid importing vocabulary from foreign languages (which does still happen). So you ended up having shura become a parliament rather than a council which elects a Caliph, and the example I always like to give is that Ja'far al-Tayyar ends up becoming Ja'far the pilot rather than Ja'far the winged. There is also a somewhat more simplified sentence structure. You also have a lot of archaic vocabulary in Classical Arabic which doesn't show up in MSA. Overall, if you know MSA well you'll be able to read a Classical Arabic text as long as you have a dictionary near by to look up archaic words and can stand what can be rather baroque sentences at times. You should think of it like a reasonably educated English speaker trying to read English texts written between 1600-1900, you'll be able to especially with practice. I've also added another book (New Arabic Grammar by Haywoord and Nahmad) to the list that I discovered recently, it's a book designed to teach MSA but is incredibly useful for giving you a solid foundation for approaching classical Arabic.

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18 minutes ago, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

Salams,

From what I remember the Madina course is more focused on MSA. That being said it is still very good. You are right that MSA is very similar to classical Arabic in that it tries to maintain as much Classical vocabulary as possible and employs grammatical categories from Classical Arabic which are otherwise phased out in dialects (e.g. duality). Any book teaching MSA worth its salt would give you a solid foundation for Classical Arabic, however you need to keep in mind there are differences. MSA repurposed a lot of vocabulary from classical Arabic in order to avoid importing vocabulary from foreign languages (which does still happen). So you ended up having shura become a parliament rather than a council which elects a Caliph, and the example I always like to give is that Ja'far al-Tayyar ends up becoming Ja'far the pilot rather than Ja'far the winged. There is also a somewhat more simplified sentence structure. You also have a lot of archaic vocabulary in Classical Arabic which doesn't show up in MSA. Overall, if you know MSA well you'll be able to read a Classical Arabic text as long as you have a dictionary near by to look up archaic words and can stand what can be rather baroque sentences at times. You should think of it like a reasonably educated English speaker trying to read English texts written between 1600-1900, you'll be able to especially with practice. I've also added another book (New Arabic Grammar by Haywoord and Nahmad) to the list that I discovered recently, it's a book designed to teach MSA but is incredibly useful for giving you a solid foundation for approaching classical Arabic.

I see, thank you!

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On 12/11/2018 at 7:45 PM, AStruggler said:

Salaam brother @ali_fatheroforphans

How’s the progress going?

I'm up to lesson 4 so far - I've memorized all the vocab of the lessons up till now.

If your planning to learn Arabic Grammar too, use the newer Medina book which @Ibn Al-Ja'abi posted - the pictures help a lot.

But yeah, I'm busy with work so don't have that much time as I would've liked. Regardless, you need motivation man, like everyday you need to study Arabic (even if it's for 10-15 min), otherwise you'll go rusty.

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On 12/12/2018 at 3:40 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

I'm up to lesson 4 so far - I've memorized all the vocab of the lessons up till now.

If your planning to learn Arabic Grammar too, use the newer Medina book which @Ibn Al-Ja'abi posted - the pictures help a lot.

But yeah, I'm busy with work so don't have that much time as I would've liked. Regardless, you need motivation man, like everyday you need to study Arabic (even if it's for 10-15 min), otherwise you'll go rusty.

Wow that’s good. I have some things I’m busy with rn but yeah I really hope to learn in some time iA, hopefully soon. 

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On 11/17/2018 at 5:13 PM, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

Salams

....

Any chance you can give a link to some of the online material like the Readers? I've searched online but none of them are available to download for free apart from the Kalilah wa Dimna (which looks like it is all in Arabic - I was hoping for an Arabic English book)

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11 hours ago, gajarkahalva said:

Any chance you can give a link to some of the online material like the Readers? I've searched online but none of them are available to download for free apart from the Kalilah wa Dimna (which looks like it is all in Arabic - I was hoping for an Arabic English book)

Salams,

Here's a link to the Ibn Battuta one. You can also find these MSA readers to download from Library Genesis: Routledge's reader for advanced Modern Standard and a reader for elementary MSA. These are alright, nothing to write home about though. There's also a reader for Classical Arabic, but it's a bit old school, I prefer the Classical Arabic reader I recommend, however this isn't the worst thing you could use, don't like how the annotations are done. Then there's Chaim Rabin's reader which is on archive.org. I do like this reader, it's a good introduction to various pieces of literature in MSA and gives you a good variety of passages to read.

Unfortunately the Kalila wa Dimna reader doesn't seem to be online. It also is an annotated reader as opposed to a bilingual reader. I personally am a fan of annotated readers wherein you can translate the text yourself with new or difficult vocabulary or phrases being noted by the author, you'll also get a feel of reading books on your own this way. You also need to see if the translations in Bilingual readers are literal or more stylized, for a reader you'd want a more literal rendering of the sentence.

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10 hours ago, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

Salams,

Here's a link to the Ibn Battuta one. You can also find these MSA readers to download from Library Genesis: Routledge's reader for advanced Modern Standard and a reader for elementary MSA. These are alright, nothing to write home about though. There's also a reader for Classical Arabic, but it's a bit old school, I prefer the Classical Arabic reader I recommend, however this isn't the worst thing you could use, don't like how the annotations are done. Then there's Chaim Rabin's reader which is on archive.org. I do like this reader, it's a good introduction to various pieces of literature in MSA and gives you a good variety of passages to read.

Unfortunately the Kalila wa Dimna reader doesn't seem to be online. It also is an annotated reader as opposed to a bilingual reader. I personally am a fan of annotated readers wherein you can translate the text yourself with new or difficult vocabulary or phrases being noted by the author, you'll also get a feel of reading books on your own this way. You also need to see if the translations in Bilingual readers are literal or more stylized, for a reader you'd want a more literal rendering of the sentence.

Jazakallah Khair for this. Really appreciate the time you took to give me the links. 

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On 11/17/2018 at 10:13 PM, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

Wightwick and Gaafar's Arabic Verb Tenses (McGraw Hill) -- This only concerns itself with you learning MSA, but it'll teach you verbs very well. There's two other works on Arabic vocabulary and on pronouns and prepositions that are also good but this is the best between them.

Thanks just pre-ordered the 2nd edition of this, out on 1st Feb 2019.

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On 1/2/2019 at 12:19 PM, Don'tMakeA١٠١س said:

@Ibn Al-Ja'abi what do you think of the al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya textbooks that are typically used in introductory Arabic classrooms? Are they outdated? I noticed you didn't mention them in your list.

Salams,

The books I mentioned are ones I've used or examined myself in depth. I have seen the second volume of al-Kitaab and it's an alright book, but it's scope is to teach you the Arabic of educated Egyptians. It's great for what it is but my recommendations cover books on Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.

On 1/2/2019 at 10:51 AM, Haji 2003 said:

Thanks just pre-ordered the 2nd edition of this, out on 1st Feb 2019.

Good luck, InshaAllah. You can do really well with this book.

Wassalam

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On 12/13/2018 at 1:34 PM, gajarkahalva said:

Jazakallah Khair for this. Really appreciate the time you took to give me the links. 

I'd like to post an update, I did find the Kalila wa Dimna reader. This is an excellent book, give it a try.

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Thanks for your post. I am using it to shame Maryam into using the book and then writing up her experience of it. She says it's similar to the French one she has in the same series. More details from her later.

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4 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Thanks for your post. I am using it to shame Maryam into using the book and then writing up her experience of it. She says it's similar to the French one she has in the same series. More details from her later.

Yes, this is one of the few books which teaches Arabic in more appropriate modern pedagogical ways. I've always thought books like this should be written especially for classical Arabic seeing how hawza students lose hair trying to figure out theoretical Arabic rules and learn Arabic at the same time. It's best, as far as I'm concerned, to teach someone to speak, read, and write Arabic to an intermediate competency and after that introduce them to the complexities of Arabic grammar and its theoretical discussions. I think there is one institution that teaches Arabic like this (though they've moved out of Qom now). Nevertheless, this is very much a book for teaching Modern Standard Arabic but I believe it should give you a very good foundation for working in Classical Arabic (since all the verbs of MSA are found in CA, but CA has 6 extra verb stems (ix and xi-xv) not found in MSA dealing basically with verbs of colour and defects -- clearly very rare things). 

If you want to move onto the next level of high intermediate (on the verge of being an advanced learner), check out Haywood and Nahmad. Their grammar is more expensive and the answer key is sold separately but you will have an unparalleled competency in Arabic if you do that work after this one. It'll allow you to have a good foundation for CA and MSA both.

Tell me how you guys find it when you start using it. Very eager to hear other's feedback, I feel like I always sing praises of Arabic Verb Tenses and want to see how justified I am in it lol.

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Going back to this precious thread of mine, wow been 5 years!! 

I was slow during those years to make a start. I only started properly like full force only a year ago, (before it would be very light and casual which did help slightly).

I decided to pick up Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) since the grammatical structure is similar to Classical Arabic with the difference of vocabulary. The reason is that I want to also be able to gain the confidence to be able to communicate to at least an intermediate level, this involves speaking, listening in addition to reading. 

So I started off with Medina Arabic and finished book 1 by myself. I also finished the first book of Kitab Al-Asasi (thanks to @Ibn Al-Ja'abi and his recommendation). Besides this I had initially memorised the sarf (conjugation) charts, but this just involved the common patterns and not advanced sarf. 

Then I decided to go through the Al Arabiyyah Bayna Yadayk series which I have now completed the first two books (Book 1 part A, B) with a teacher. I do all the readings and exercises with him. This has been my favourite book so far because you learn vocabulary which is very relevant and widely used in fusha. It is focused on expressions, conversations and improves your vocabulary. It is not focused too much on grammar which is fine although slowly some grammar lessons are incorporated, although they are kept at the bare minimum.

Alhumdulillah now I feel more confident in forming my own sentences and get my teacher to check if they are accurate for exercises. I also have started reading children Arabic books on the side (going through one atm).

In addition I listen/read Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, Al Akhbar for practice and being exposed to new vocabulary. I find the more I consistently incorporate this into my routine, it drastically improves comprehension. In addition, also filling up my instagram feed with Arabic stuff so my eyes get used to seeing Arabic content and there is always something new one would pick up be an expression or vocabulary. 

Alhumdulillah after I have gained fluency to an intermediate level maybe 70-80% I will start intensive grammar (nawh, sarf) and obviously balagha too in the future. It's a long journey but I am determined inshallah.

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Actually i'd recommend using children's learning books too especially for those with 0 background in Arabic as they start with the basics, once you get the hang of that it'll make everything easier for you. Arabic is pretty complicated even for us Arabs we find it hard, so i can only imagine the difficulties non-arabs would face trying to learn the language.

 

Goodluck

xo

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On 2/2/2024 at 2:04 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Going back to this precious thread of mine, wow been 5 years!! 

I was slow during those years to make a start. I only started properly like full force only a year ago, (before it would be very light and casual which did help slightly).

I decided to pick up Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) since the grammatical structure is similar to Classical Arabic with the difference of vocabulary. The reason is that I want to also be able to gain the confidence to be able to communicate to at least an intermediate level, this involves speaking, listening in addition to reading. 

So I started off with Medina Arabic and finished book 1 by myself. I also finished the first book of Kitab Al-Asasi (thanks to @Ibn Al-Ja'abi and his recommendation). Besides this I had initially memorised the sarf (conjugation) charts, but this just involved the common patterns and not advanced sarf. 

Then I decided to go through the Al Arabiyyah Bayna Yadayk series which I have now completed the first two books (Book 1 part A, B) with a teacher. I do all the readings and exercises with him. This has been my favourite book so far because you learn vocabulary which is very relevant and widely used in fusha. It is focused on expressions, conversations and improves your vocabulary. It is not focused too much on grammar which is fine although slowly some grammar lessons are incorporated, although they are kept at the bare minimum.

Alhumdulillah now I feel more confident in forming my own sentences and get my teacher to check if they are accurate for exercises. I also have started reading children Arabic books on the side (going through one atm).

In addition I listen/read Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, Al Akhbar for practice and being exposed to new vocabulary. I find the more I consistently incorporate this into my routine, it drastically improves comprehension. In addition, also filling up my instagram feed with Arabic stuff so my eyes get used to seeing Arabic content and there is always something new one would pick up be an expression or vocabulary. 

Alhumdulillah after I have gained fluency to an intermediate level maybe 70-80% I will start intensive grammar (nawh, sarf) and obviously balagha too in the future. It's a long journey but I am determined inshallah.

Barakallahufeek this is wonderful news.

Any example of what you're able to read or comprehend currently?

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On 2/22/2024 at 12:26 AM, In Gods Name said:

Barakallahufeek this is wonderful news.

Any example of what you're able to read or comprehend currently?

It's hard to answer this question because if I try some of the harder texts I could make sense if I search some of the vocab but it takes some time etc. 

But reading something where I don't have to stop as much and where it kind of naturally flows is something like the following story (just an example I could find).

Search this story up and check out the PDF:

الوزير-السجين

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Posted (edited)

Another thing I have learnt is to not be obsessed with the perfect translation when going through texts or listening to Arabic, as long as the meaning is extracted or understood this should suffice especially if we are reading beginner level books that don't require us to dive deep into the etymology of words.. If we are constantly in 'translate mode' then we will not truly dive deep into the language. Obviously there is an exception, like if one is translating for academic purposes ensuring the perfect vocabulary is selected and this obviously requires skill. Contextual cues are extremely important. We have to let our brain do the work by figuring out, guessing etc. And not trying to find exact equivalents of a certain language in our target language. This obviously is more relevant when one has surpassed the early beginner stage. But the earlier fixes this habit the better.

I have spoken to some hawza students who tell stories about some who despite studying Arabic for years are still very poor in their comprehension. Some have focused way too much on the grammar aspect and have lost touch with the practical aspect. Another reason is that some students don't read a wide variety of literature and fail to obtain vocabulary and understand different styles of the author. Writing varies depending on style of author. This is why listening a lot is also very important because when people speak they are not tied down in a sense and various expressions can be picked out that may not be available in texts. 

 

 

 

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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