Edited by Bassam Frangieh
Recorded by Hayat Alkhateeb, Evan Haning & Firas Raad
Educational Services, 1994, Revised and expanded edition41BHS5EPQML._SY300_
Booklet & 2CDs
ISBN 978-0910542708
Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭

For the tourist: General Expressions, Numbers, Personal Needs, Communications, Transportation… Somewhat outdated since you will not need Arabic in the airport, etc but we get a number of airport phrases; maybe in 1994 but not now. The booklet lets you follow along with the CDs in Arabic (unvowelled), English, and transliterated Arabic.

On the CDs the voices are pleasant, both Hayat Alkhateeb and Evan Haning being professional broadcasters. Some of the phrases are needlessly long: “Let me introduce Mr Wahid Ash-Shami to you” when maybe “This is Wahid” might be a little less intimidating. I think this is out of print. It doesn’t come up on a search at the MacMillan Education page (parent company of ES) and amazon has only the French/Arabic version on cassettes.

I wouldn’t want this as main tool on a trip, but I don’t mind playing it in the background while I do something else, just in case I soak up something by osmosis.

bfBassam Frangieh  بسام فرنجيه is a scholar of contemporary Arabic literature and culture.  He is department chair of Modern Languages and Literatures at Claremont McKenna College in California.


In-Flight Arabic

author unknown41IB6dTBYAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Living Language, 2001
CD & booklet, $13.95
ISBN 978-0609810644
Rating: ✭ ✭

Uh… no. A 60 minute CD which goes over too much and some of it useless for its intended audience (khawajias on their way to the Middle East for the first time). “Where are international departures?” Please believe me when I tell you that if you are in an airport big enough to have international departures there are  going to be a) lots of signs with the symbol for departures and b) lots of customs and check-in people who speak english. The booklet that comes with the CD (Boarding pass with the edition I looked at; “eticket” with an updated one) is also available online.

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Instant Arabic

by Fethi Mansouri & Yousef Alreemawi41tA3dyMr+L
Tuttle Publishing, 2007
190 pages, $8.95, paperback
ISBN 978-0804838603
Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Based on MSA so as to be useful across the Arabic speaking world. Helpful usual words and phrases. Two forms of transliteration: one where the phrase is spelled out the way it should be sounded; the second based on the IPA. No foolish cartoon drawings. Nice section at the back of additional vocabulary which includes countries, cities plus Islamic expressions.

The blurb on the cover says, “How to express different ideas with just 100 key word and phrases!” but I think there’s more than that here. Pocket sized. Good bang for your buck. If you want to take this (or any phrasebook) on a jaunt to the Middle East, you’ll be far and away ahead of the game if you can find a native speaker to read through the book with you before you go; and really get a gold star if your speaker is from the country you’re going to.


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PhraseGuide Arabic

by Thomas Cook Publishing51Jt-bNA-3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Thomas Cook Publishing, 2007, 1st edition
96 pages, $9.95, paperback
ISBN 978-1841576688
Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭

A bit too skimpy; it seems likely there will be times you just won’t find what you need. The usual English, Arabic and Arabic transliteration; the Arabic here is printed slightly bigger than in the Berlitz.


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Say it Right in Arabic

by Clyde Petersimgres-2
McGraw Hill, 2008
162 pages, $10.99, paperback
ISBN 978-0071544580

The EPLS or Easily Pronounced Language Systems uses a newly invented vowel symbol system as a pronunciation guide. The book has only the most basic of phrases in Arabic and English and EPLS, along with petersthe traditional dopey clip art illustrations, in colloquial Egyptian. At least the printing is larger than in most.

Clyde Peters lives in Las Vegas. He is the co-owner of EPLS Publishing and author of a number of their phrase books.

Berlitz Arabic phrase book & dictionary

by Berlitzberlitz-arabic-phrasebook
Berlitz Publishing, 2003
224 pages, $8.95, paperback
ISBN 2831562643
Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭  

Use of a modified Modern Standard Arabic makes this a book to take along to any Arabic speaking country. The usual sections (Accommodations, Eating Out, Travel, Sightseeing, Leisure, Making Friends, Stores and Services, and Health). Words and phrases given in English, Arabic and Arabic transliteration. So you can say to someone, Hunaak aHad yatKallam al-injileezeeya? and when they look at you with a what-in-the-world look on their face, point to هناك أحد يتكلم الانجليزية هنا؟ in your book, except they better have good eyesight because the printing is tiny in places.

Small section on the alphabet, pronunciation and vowels: something to read while your waiting for your felucca to arrive. Sidebars with points of grammar throughout, and English index. There is a newer edition out.


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