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Arabic Textbooks for English Speakers
Oct. 3, 2018

Textbooks may be old school, but it doesn’t mean it’s no longer cool. 

It’s one of the most traditional methods to start learning a new language, it’s effective, and the perfect starting point to your journey to begin learning a new language. 

They provide us with the basic mechanics of a new language as well as explanations of those mechanics in our own native language. This gives us the solid framework we need for the rest of our language learning journeys.

Professors and teachers use textbooks as a source for content, as well as homework and assignments. It’s a miraculous resource if you’re studying solo as it sets a classroom atmosphere and you can go at your own pace.

For the sake of this article, we will focus on Textbooks recommended for the Arabic Language. There are many reasons why people strive to learn this language; to understand the words of the Quran, or to achieve a job etc. Whatever reason it may be, it’s undoubtedly very hard. 

The Arabic language consists of an unfamiliar and unique writing system, it’s filled with complex phonologies and linguistic concepts. 

It is after all, considered as one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn therefore, a comprehensive Arabic textbook is a vital resource to have.

There is a major difference between the Arabic spoken across the Middle East, however the one which binds all countries together is the classical ‘Fusha,’which the Quran is written in. 

Here we will list textbooks that have been highly recommended to purchase and study through thoroughly by Professors from Egypt and Turkey. We will describe three sets of textbooks beginning with the set most appropriate for starters/beginners and proceed on to sets which develop on to higher levels which require more Arabic texts dominating the books. 


GATEWAY TO ARABIC by Dr. Imran Hamza Alawiye

The Gateway to Arabic book set is a well-structured, progressive collection that has been carefully designed to teach Arabic in a non-Arabic-speaking environment, to learners from a broad age range. It contains a wealth of exercises to reinforce vocabulary acquisition and the understanding and application of grammar. Extensive research ensures that the materials are easy to learn from and to teach.

Each volume of Gateway to Arabic Book focuses on different themes such as ‘family relationships’ and ‘life in the home’. It builds upon the student’s knowledge of past, present and imperative verbs and syntaxes. Each topic is supported by realistic passages of dialogue to enable the student to gain greater confidence and fluency in using Arabic and utilise the phrases every day in regular conversations.


IQRA ARABIC READER by Fadel Ibrahim Abdallah

This set of textbooks are suited for upper junior level students and introduces aspects of theoretical grammar besides applied linguistics. Based on a format of 6 fields of activities and 15 lessons, it carries the learners to a gradually higher level of linguistic skills. It teaches, for the first-time theoretical grammatical concepts and terminology such as demonstrative and relative nouns and pronouns, definite articles, the nominative case, verb tenses, comprehensive reading selections, 6 fields of activity and more. Reading selections are more comprehensive than those of the previous textbooks and the topics are aimed at teens growing up in the west.This textbook takes the students to a higher level of language proficiency in reading and writing Arabic and understanding its structure. But students must have had prior exposure to the Arabic letters, sounds and writing system. These popular books concentrate on the four basic skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. They are written in Arabic with practical English guidelines. Themes and lessons focus strongly on Islam and the Qur'an. 



This set was composed by a group of scholars, linguists and educators based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Firstly, these books don’t consist any trace of English hence why, it is perfect for learners. l Arabiya Bayna Yadayk is an Arabic book geared towards learning Quranic or classical Arabic but it is also useful for modern standard Arabic.

This book comes in 3 volumes but newer editions have been released which split each volume into two parts making them easier to handle. The books also accompanied come CDs which are very handy as there are numerous exercises within the pages of these books. It helps the student learn Arabic through listening and conversation along with reading and writing. 

What is also useful for Muslim learners is the fact that there are Quranic verses as well as hadeeths used throughout the books. The books are not cheap but are a good investment if you take Arabic seriously. These books although marketed to a Muslim audience are useful for those non-Muslims who don’t mind a little a little Quran or are used to it.

The books are meant to take you from scratch and there is much repetition in the 1st volume to reinforce the concepts and terminology. 

The book series aims at achieving the following competencies goals:

1. Language competency, including the following skills and elements:

            a) The four language skills:
              1. Listening 
              2. Speaking
              3. Reading
              4. Writing (both automatic and creative)

            b) The three language elements:
              1. Sounds (Different Phonetic Phenomena)
              2. Vocabularies (Contextual and idiomatic expressions)
              3. Grammar Structures (Good number of grammatical, morphological and dictating rules)

This particular set of books are used in institutions worldwide including the Fajr Centre for Arabic Language, one of the most popular Arabic teaching centre in Egypt for foreign students, so that definitely proves something! 

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