Tasharrafnaa: A short textbook in transcription for use with Alif Baa or Bite-Size Arabic

Two introductory textbooks for the Arabic writing system—Alif Baa and Bite-Size Arabic—teach the alphabet gradually, introducing just a few letters per unit. If the teacher covers just one unit per class meeting using these books, we are left with the problem of how to teach communication skills with the remaining classroom time before students have the ability to read in Arabic. (Alif Baa attempts to do this with lists of vocabulary and expressions, but I find this unsatisfactory, as I described in my review of that book.)

It was to solve this problem that I wrote Tasharrafnaa, a short textbook of Standard Arabic in which Arabic is presented entirely in transcription. The material covered by Tasharrafnaa includes greetings, demonstratives, simple questions, expressing ‘to have’ with عند, and singular forms of the verb in the present tense.

Although I wouldn’t consider Tasharrafnaa ideal and although I am planning to write a replacement for it that takes a completely different approach (with more emphasis on conversation skills and with less explicit grammar), the textbook has served me well for the last two years in courses I have taught at UvA Talen.

I am hereby making Tasharrafnaa available to the general public in its current form under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, in two formats:

One attractive feature of the book is that there are homework exercises at the end of each unit. The answers to these exercises can be found in the answer key at the end of the book.

If you find errors in the book please let me know so that I can correct them when I update the version (which I will do, as needed). In particular, I have not had the dialogues that open each unit reviewed by a native speaker.

The current version of Tasharrafnaa is a bit shorter than the one I used until recently. I removed the final Unit 5, because it was too long and difficult and because it introduced too much vocabulary in the final week of my ten-week introductory course. This leaves me needing to develop new material for the end of my course. Since by Lesson 8, students have learned the entire alphabet, instead of revising Unit 5 (which was mostly in transcription), what I intend to write is easy material, including review material, in Arabic script, which will reinforce students’ reading skills, integrating them with the grammar and vocabulary that they have already learned in transcription. I will also post that here when I have finished it. (I have to do that soon, in February 2018, because a course is already in progress.)

I hope you find Tasharrafnaa useful!


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