Answers to common questions about this course and your system
Is this course really free?
Yes. As long as you download and use Arabic Script for You for a non-commercial purpose, it is entirely free. You can also print the course files, for personal use only. Any commercial use of the book, in whatever form, is prohibited.
Are there different types of Arabic script?
There is only one alphabet. As with our own alphabet, there are different fonts or typefaces and, of course, everyone’s handwriting looks slightly different, but there is only one way to write Arabic.
What countries use the script taught in this course?
Arabic is an official language in 19 countries across North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to Oman. Arabic is also one of the official languages of the United Nations and its agencies. In addition, the Arabic alphabet with a few extra letters is used for about a dozen non-Arab languages such as Urdu in Pakistan, Persian in Iran and Pashto in Afghanistan. You will see Arabic script on old buildings in Turkey and in Central Asian countries such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Will this course help me when I take a holiday in an Arab country?
If you go for a week to a well-trodden tourist spot, no, because studying the book will take you longer than the holiday (and most tourist notices will be written also in English or French).
If you go for some weeks away from the tourist trail, then yes. And if you stay and/or work In an Arab country – then definitely yes. Using this course will really pay off; see the Contents page.
I hope to study Arabic. Is this course suitable for me?
For students beginning Arabic, definitely yes. Most university students of Arabic have to start by learning the script. Imagine the advantage you will have if you arrive at your first class already able to read and write simple Arabic. You can immediately tackle the language, the history and the literature, ahead of your fellow students. Everything taught in this book is relevant and important for a full university course in Arabic studies.
Is this course for beginners?
Yes. Lesson 1 starts at the very beginning. By Lesson 15 you will be able to read signs, newspaper headings, advertisements, timetables, product labels, numbers, warning notices and the like; you will pronounce correctly and copy in good handwriting everything you can read. You will also be able to use an Arabic dictionary.
I have difficulty with foreign languages. Is this a book for me?
No problem. Technical linguistic terminology is avoided in this book. The necessary points of spelling and grammar are presented and explained in everyday English – with examples, exercises and revision.
Can I use the book for reference?
Definitely. At the end of the book you will find: an alphabetical Index of topics covered; an Arabic-English, English-Arabic Vocabulary List of all the (approximately 600) words taught, with references; a Card (in bank-card format) summarising the alphabet, the numerals, and the most important word forms; and a short Appendix showing non-alphabetical signs sometimes encountered.
Can I print the course pages?
Yes. The pronunciation and the handwriting demonstrations can be activated only on the computer screen, but on the printed page you can make notes to take with you. Printed course pages should be only for your personal use.
Do many colleges or universities offer courses in Arabic?
Ten British universities offer Arabic degree courses (some have been doing so for over a century): St Andrews, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh. Exeter, Leeds, London, Oxford, Salford, Westminster. Over ninety American and Canadian universities offer Arabic degree courses.
System requirements: PC and Mac
- At least 180MB available disk space;
- Adobe PDF Reader version 5 or later;
- Your computer sound turned on;
- Microsoft PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer (the Internet has several viewers available for free download).
How do I start?
Read the note about Copyright and conditions of use of this course on the Welcome page, under Downloading. If you accept these conditions, click the ‘Download’ button once. The folder of PDF course fiIes will be downloaded to your computer desktop or your Downloads folder as a compressed (‘zipped’) archive called arabicscriptforyou.zip. This ‘zipped’ archive may open automatically; if not, open it by double-clicking, or right-click once and > 'Open', or > 'Extract all'. You will then see the e-book as a list of 22 PDF files. To start learning, double-click on the Introduction file and away you go. The Introduction will tell you what you need to hand, how to use the PDF chapters and how to get the most from your course. It’s as easy as that.
Do I need any special software?
No. A PDF reader, PowerPoint viewing software and sound playback software are sufficient, and are found on most modern computers. Throughout the PDF course pages you will see the icons which prompt the pronunciation files and handwriting files to play; double-click them to hear an Arabic-speaker correctly pronounce the words and phrases in the text or to see how Arabic is handwritten. These features make learning enjoyable and easier – give it a try!
Will the course run on a PC and Mac?
Yes, as long as they are fairly recent computers. The pronunciation files embedded in the PDF course pages are uncompressed .wav format which is very similar to Apple’s .aiff format and will normally play on a Windows or Mac computer.