Arabic Stories for Language Learners

by Hezi Brosh & Lutfi Mansur51LBT6hk2lL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_
Tuttle Publishing, 2013
255 pages, $22.95, paperback
ISBN 9780804843003
Rating: ✭  ✭ ✭  ✭  ✭ 

Great. The tales here are classical, from pre-Islamic times until the 15th century. They are all short, some just a paragraph or two and many have a moral to the story or set up to the punchline of some piece of wisdom (all work, no matter how simple, is better than sitting around and complaining about poverty and waiting for charity). The accompanying CD has all the stories read aloud by a man and woman; their voices and the rhythm of how they go back and forth works very well.

The two Muslim Arabic speakers I practice with both much prefer this book to the more modern Read Arabic (which I like). While not particularly religious, the stories have a mood and gentle didacticism they say is reminiscent of Islamic stories. I like them also; they remind me of Aesop’s Fables and the fairy tales that my mother used to read to me when she tucked me in at night.

The English and Arabic are on facing pages. No vowel markings for the Arabic, but I like to listen to the CD while I look at the text and pencil in the vowel marks myself. Bonus of many illustrations of works from many museums. They’re in B&W but some inspire me to look them up on the internet and see the colours of the originals. Really nice book.

Hezi Brosh is a professor of Arabic at the United States Naval Academy. Lutfi Mansur teaches at the Academic Arab Institute, Beit Berl College in Israel.

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