Review: Levantine Arabic Verbs by Lingualism

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I normally only review free resources on this site (since that’s pretty much all I use) but I’m breaking with that pattern for this book.

Levantine Arabic Verbs by Lingualism (see my review of their site here) is quite possibly the best resource I’ve seen for learning Levantine Arabic Verbs in a systematic, easily referenceable manner, free or paid.  The only site that rivals it in its treatment of individual verbs is the venerable Team Maha, but there’s nothing the beat the variety and scope of this book.  This book is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to the classic (for a reason) Barron’s 501 verbs books for Levantine Arabic.

Levantine Arabic Verbs starts out with a treatment of the vowels and consonants of Levantine, and then gives 97 verbs (and six phrasal verbs) of various measures, fully conjugated in the perfect, imperfect, bi-imperfect, imperative, and the active participle.  Each conjugation is written in Arabic script (yay!) but also transliterated for those still learning.  There are 5-7 example sentences for every entry, as well, so you can see what the verb looks like in action.

The back of the book is dedicated to the use of each tense and form, but it’s after that that the true comprehensiveness of this book shows through.

There are three indices in the back: by table pattern (sound measure 1, hollow measure 1, defective measure 1, etc.), Arabic to English, and English to Arabic.  It’s here that the brilliance of this indexing system is evident.  Say you want to look up the word “to bury” so you can say “you (male) bury”.  Go to the English-Arabic index and you see it’s دفن (dafan).  There’s no table for that particular verb but it has a 1s2 (sound measure 1, pattern 2) next to it.  Go to the table pattern section of the index and you find a list of verbs, some with T-(number) next to them.  That T-(number) indicates that that particular verb has its own table.  Pick your favorite one for 1s2.  Let’s say درس (daras), to study, at T-31.  Find the conjugation pattern for درس and you’ve found it for دفن. Knowing this you now know that you (male) bury is بتِدفُن. Easy as that (but just hard enough to engage your mind while you’re figuring it out).

Doing this allows this fairly slim (155pp) book to incorporate far more verbs than just 103 tables would be able to (although the verbs chosen for those tables are some of the most common and useful).  The website also has an audiolibrary, accessible for free, which contains audio files of each table in the book so you can hear any given word being pronounced in all conjugations.

Levantine Arabic Verbs is the book I wished existed when I first started learning Levantine.  Now that it does I have a feeling this will be a well loved, much used, often referred to volume in my library.  Now, if you’ll excuse me لازم ادرس


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