Does anyone know the best books to buy to learn Arabic? I am an absolute beginner when it comes to knowing the words or grammar, though I have learnt how to read and write Arabic off the internet.
If you did apply to be an OPMI (L) and undergo language training, it wouldn't be until after you've completed your first tour as brew-bitch/Map Storeman etc. Also, in accordance with Defence Language Policy, the Army doesn't recognise civilian language qualifications. In order to be employed as a linguist, you'd have to qualify as a linguist under STANAG 6001
I started learning some simple words when I found I was going to hot and sweaty places, just so I could make simple things understood. The big problem (for me as an english speaker) is pronounciation; it's not like German or French which share a lot of the same sounds. I'd really really recommend a book/CD combo with pronounciation guides on the CD; you can get them at most big bookshops. I'd look for one that covers common words rather than conversational arabic, which is a much bigger subject!
Does anyone know the best books to buy to learn Arabic? I am an absolute beginner when it comes to knowing the words or grammar, thoought I have learnt how to read and write Arabic off the internet.
Arabic language books are usually a safe bet. I wouldn't bother with Harry Potter or the latest Gerald Seymour. Although, by reading the last bit of your original post, sounds like you could do with mastering English first.
Am I stating the obvious or does this page have lots of links to language training? Sorry. Anyway, there are several packages available on Amazon (look under 'Gulf Arabic'), most of which come CDs and books so you can work on the written language and pronunciation. They are a good starting point and pretty cheap at around Â£20.
Just joined ARRSE as a bit of a fraud to be honest, I'm Navy but have worked a lot with the Army (primarily Int Corps) over the last 10 years and am due to deploy to with them to sandier climbs next week.
I noticed your question about Arabic books. It caught my attention because I am currently an Arabic instructor at Chix, I would strongly advise against you doing a great deal of prior learning as its always best to start with the whole class having a clean sheet. Learning the script in advance is not a bad thing I guess, but I would advise against learning much more. I'm not saying you will, but if you were to mis-learn anything, you'd have a worse job trying to re-learn it. Just my advice. Good luck with the Arabic.
I learnt a bit about eighteen months ago. It's a very difficult language to solo, though. You need a classroom environment then some immersion (which I did courtesy of the Edgeware Road).
This is what I did:
1. A Linguaphone, just to hear the language spoken slowly. Bear in mind though, that 99.9% of civvy courses will teach you the Modern Standard (i.e. Egyptian). Therefore when you try out your silky skills in a Lebanese restaurant they will look at you blankly.
2. FFS do not, whatever you do, rely on transliterated Arabic to learn words. Learn the script, there are several good books dedicated to just that. Transliterated means the sounds of the words are written in English, i.e. shu-k'ran (thankyou). Your progress will be immesurably better if you learn the alphabet...I can read Arabic much better than I can speak it!
3. Do a quick evening class if you can. I did two terms at a local college, but work pressure meant I had to bail which was a shame because I was about to start "A" Level (and you all get A grades nowadays, so what a result!).
4. Talk to Arabic speakers and watch Al-Jaz on telly. I'm lucky, I live in London and all you have to do is walk into a coffee shop and give it a quick hello and I'm off. In the UK a lot of Arabic-speakers are very patient and gracious to Westerners learning their language (in my experience).
5. Good luck...you really have to stick with it. Although, apparently, it's technically easier to learn than German!
Good post and good tips Vegitus. I favour watching some of the many free channels available by getting a cheapo sat box and dish, point your dish at 13E and you can choose from a baffling array.
Good point about differences between Egyptian Arabic and other "brands" though with the popularlity of Egyptian films you would be largely fine with it in most countries.
In my own travels and time spent in the Arab world I have invariably found that Arab women welcome me, are patient and willing to add to my language skills with new words, explanations and good humour.
Had a cracking week staying at a friends house and attending a wedding in a very small village in Southern Tunisia this summer. Expanded my knowledge hugely. Nobody spoke English at all, great way to learn.