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Cultural Studies. Reference. W. M. Thackston's AN INTRODUCTION TO KORANIC AND CLASSICAL ARABIC is an elementary-level grammar of standard classical Arabic, the literary norm of the Arabic language that has not changed appreciably in fourteen hundred years. An indispensable tool for all who are interested in Islamic religion, science, and literature, the language presented in this book will enable the learner to study firsthand the primary sources of Islamic civilization and the classics of the Islamic Near East. W. M. Thackston is Professor of the Practice in Persian and Other Near Eastern Languages at Harvard University, where he has taught Persian and Arabic for over twenty years. Author of numerous books and articles on the languages and literatures of the Near East, his works include a new English translation of the Baburnama, A Century of Princes: Sources on Timurid History and Art, and Tales from Luristan: Tales, Fables and Folk Poetry from the Lur of Bala-Gariva.
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Thackston's textbook is the most recent addition to Arabic instructional materials. It is perhaps the friendliest Western grammar of Arabic. Its grammatical explanations are lucid and concise, yet they provide a complete, adequate description of a basic grammar of Arabic. The book comprises a preface, a chapter on preliminary matters, 40 lessons, supplementary readings from the Koran (Qur'an ? the holy book of Muslims) and hadith literature (traditions of the prophet Muhammad), 10 appendixes, English-Arabic and Arabic-English glossaries, an index of verb and derivational patterns (56 of them), and a general index. All the lessons have one consistent design: Each one is subdivided into sections and subsections. The explanations are accompanied by numerous examples. Each lesson concludes with a vocabulary list and two types of exercises: grammatical manipulation (providing case and mood endings) and translation.
As a textbook, this work is particularly useful in programs where a reading proficiency of the Koran and hadith is desirable within a relatively short period of time, given that the students already have a reasonable grasp of Arabic structures and vocabulary. Overall, it is a very well designed book of basic grammar that can serve as a useful supplement for intermediate and advanced students of Arabic in various programs. --Mahdi Alosh, Modern Language Journal
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