Beginner’s Iraqi Arabic

by Nawal Nasrallah & Nadia Hassaniiraqi
Hippocrene Books, 2006
365 pages, $36.95, paperback & 2 CDs
ISBN 978-0781810982

The blurb on the back of the book says that it’s “designed for both classroom and self-study” but then you open it up and there’s not one word written in Arabic. What? Although not on the cover, the title page helpfully includes the descriptive subtitle “An Introduction to the Spoken Language of Iraq”. The chapters follow the usual subjects found in phrasebooks. On the two CDs the 114 tracks are not as pleasant as one might hope, as they involve stilted reading from script; the english sections are particularly… imperative. I was unable to find any key connecting the audio tracks to the text.

The painting on the cover, Dialog, is by Khalid Al-Jadir and it’s lovely.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANawal Nasrallah is an Iraqi native who taught English language and English literature at the Universities of Baghdad and Mosul. Her other books include Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of Iraqi Cuisine.
Nadia Hassani obtained her master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Bonn in Germany.
Her previous books include a German-language travel guide to Tunisia, and the cookbook Spoonfuls of Germany.


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