promoted it, such as newspapers, the Internet, advertisements, boards, signs and all other means of information. As to spoken Arabic, it cannot either be strictly limited to such "monologues" as official speeches, news bulletins, exposés or lectures. Written Arabic is more and more commonly used as a tool for communication and in the world of work (during meetings, for debates, speeches made on TV and on the radio, thanks for instance to satellite channels). Thus being able to use literal Arabic as a spoken language as well as a written language is essential to be able to communicate, even if it must be completed with some indispensable knowledge of dialectal Arabic.


he teaching method Al-Manhaj has been especially designed for non Arabic-speaking students. It complies with the syllabus counselled by the “French Education System” and means to be a strict didactic tool for learners. It can be used both by students who wish to have a simple and easy access to the Arabic language, as by those who intend to get a further command of the language, in view of higher studies or in order to use the language currently in their private or/and professional life. Perfectly adapted for self-learning for all those who cannot attend classes, this method can however also be used in classes provided the teacher makes the necessary changes.


Teaching Arabic as a second language implies using different teaching methods from the ones used for those who are studying Arabic as a "national language" and who already have a command of the dialectal language but are taught the literal (or written) Arabic at school in their countries. We can of course not use the same methods when teaching Arabic to English students since they have no notion of Arabic whatsoever. In Europe as a whole, but more especially in France, the researches led on language teaching methods have been quite invaluable to the teaching of Arabic so that students of Arabic may now benefit from the latest and best means of learning the language. The language studied in the teaching method Al-Manhaj is modern written Arabic. Hard as it may be to give an appropriate and accurate definition of what modern written Arabic is it must be acknowledged that it is no longer strictly confined to books but has long been part and parcel of our everyday background, especially through administrative papers but also thanks to the modern media which have


Al-Manhaj - Literal Arabic for beginners



which, besides, follow a strict and methodical lexical and grammatical evolution. They may however be studied separately or in a different order if studied within a class group with a teacher. Learning how to write and how to pronounce Arabic for people who do not speak any dialect is a point which is tackled in the first two sequences, throughout the first five lessons.

Teaching method Al-Manhaj for beginners

his is the first level which will enable the learner to get some basic command of the language, so as ultimately to be able to understand and make simple sentences both in the oral and written language.


Didactic choices are made according to the current uses of Arabic : for instance the method will take into account the fact that there are no short vowels in the written Arabic, that whenever possible declensions as well as the “ta' marbûta” will not be considered, while noun clauses are quite commonly used as well as every sentence structure close to what is being used in the dialects… The dialogues and texts which serve as starting points to each lesson may not be quite genuine yet but are a necessary step in the learning process and should ultimately lead the learner to a better understanding of genuine documents with a richer content, such as excerpts from novels, press articles, radio or TV programmes… This beginner handbook includes 5 sequences each focusing on a specific theme dealing with different types of communication situations : greetings and polite replies or requests, how to introduce someone or oneself, how to get or ask for information, how to find one's way around a town, time markers, the body and its sensations, how to express one's feelings, family links… everything always being related to the Arabic culture, in other words distinctive codes, traditions and customs… Each sequence is divided into lessons all dealing with the same theme. The first sequence is divided into three lessons while the other four are divided into two lessons. The lessons of one same sequence complete each other. So do the different sequences

Al-Manhaj - Literal Arabic for beginners


Third step : phonetic exercises

Instructions for use

Icon : You have to make out which sounds are characteristic of the Arabic language and do not exist in English. That is the reason why not all the letters which you can find in the different lessons will appear in the tables.
Fourth step : learning how to write Arabic correctly

Sequence I Lesson 1

For every part of the lesson which leads to an oral work you will find the related recordings which will be signalled thanks to the following two icons :

Track xx
and numbered track by track, the first track being used for the theme music.

Icon : The letters which you have to learn appear in their different written forms, from the first initial lines to the final written form. They can all be found at the end of each lesson in the order of their appearance. You are meant to learn how to move your hand to get as close as possible to the Arabic way of writing and learn new writing habits. Do write as much and as long as need be, following the examples marked with arrows, so as to get a fluent, adequate and readable handwriting.
Fifth step : writing exercises

First step : understanding / memorising

From the tables of programmed letters on, you will be given a series of writing exercises. The series starts with a list of words all made up of letters which you have already studied. You will first need to listen carefully to the way each word is read, so as to memorise them as well as possible, then you can start doing the exercises.
Lesson 2

Listen to the text or dialogue as often as necessary. Check by comparing with the full translation enclosed at the end of the lesson. We have deliberately chosen not to put the translation right next to the dialogue, so as to prompt the learner to listen carefully to the dialogue and try to understand the vocabulary by himself. Once understood the dialogue will only need memorising fully by repeating every line outloud, so as to improve the pronunciation, the rhythm and the intonation… It may then be useful to go back to the written text to try and identify the “global” pattern of every line. Every word from the dialogue can be found in the vocabulary together with its translation.
Second step : writing

Icon : Follow the same steps.
Lesson 3

Follow the same steps as for lessons 1 & 2. The third lesson explains the first basic grammatical structures.

The letters which must be learnt will be shown in their different positions, with examples and the necessary explanations.


Al-Manhaj - Literal Arabic for beginners


Instructions for use

The way the lesson is structured will enable you to understand as you go along thanks to the given vocabulary. How to use the vocabulary is explained in sequences 1 & 2.
Texts for reading practice

From sequence 2 on you will find a series of texts destined to improve your reading skills. These texts are as close as possible to genuine written documents and meant to check how well you have improved all along. They should be read and listened to on the audio CD. Try to understand the texts as much as you can thanks to the vocabulary. Only use the full translation (at the end of the lesson) once you have made the effort to understand by yourself and only as a means to doublecheck your understanding of the texts.

It must be said that this part of the lesson cannot in any way be considered as a thorough grammatical analysis : it is just meant to help understand the few main basic grammatical structures which you will find in each lesson so as for you to be able to master them correctly when doing the related exercises. For each grammar point you will find three figures : the first number corresponds to the sequence, the second one to the lesson, the third one to the grammar point in hand. Example: 2.1.1 = sequence 2, lesson 1, 1st grammar point.

Sequence II Lessons 1 & 2.

Follow the same steps as for sequence I.
Sequences III, IV, and V

You will also follow the same steps but from sequence 3 on, you won’t need to memorise the texts and dialogues entirely. Besides it is strongly advised that you should look at the full translation only as a last resort.

Al-Manhaj - Literal Arabic for beginners

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