Saturday, June 28, 2014

DLI MSA Basic Course - completed

Today I've completed the final lesson from the Defense Language Institute Modern Standard Arabic Basic Course. It took me over a year, but you need to know that this course covers extremely vast material. Suffice it to say that it consists of 18 volumes of 143 lessons plus several additional books with grammatical explanations, glossaries and supplementary exercises.

The course was developed and produced by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and was designed to use in training programs for diplomats, officials, military personnel etc. with the help of the teacher. But in fact you can manage without, because everything is clearly explained and until hundredth and something lesson all the drills are recorded so you always know if you do them correctly. The vast audio material is one of the biggest advantages of the course. There are many books for learning Arabic on the market but none of them offers you so many audio drills.

As a title says, it's a basic course. It gives a student a very solid foundation to build upon in further studies. It helps to aquire huge amount of vocabulary related to socio-economic questions, geography, religion, ruling systems etc.
Nevertheless I have to admit that it lacks vocab related to daily activities. I'm not sure if this is an important shortcoming because in fact I always heard that Arabs don't discuss everyday life matters in MSA, but in its respective colloquial versions. The second shortcoming comes from the fact that it was prepared in 1975 and revised in 1981. Some vocab may be outdated and it may occur that some words fell out of usage.

Now what I need the most is practice, practice, and once again practice. Thanks to my friends on Google+ I have this opportunity for which I am very grateful to them.

It's also time to decide what next. I have plenty materials to teach myself Arabic. With what I've already learned I can try to read newspapers and blogs, as well as I can watch TV news. I believe this will help me to enrich vocabulary and to improve reading and listening comprehension.

On the other hand, Arabic is much more difficult than other languages I've learned so far. That's why I think it would be a good approach to take to another textbook for a beginner - lower intermediate level in order to strengthen my knowledge.

I haven't decided on anything yet, but as for now I consider:

  • Elementary Modern Standard Arabic, by the Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan
  • Modern Standard Arabic - Intermediate Level, by the Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan
  • Al-9Arabiyyatu Bayna Yadayk, 3-book set with audio, entirely in Arabic, the lessons are available on You Tube in the form of recorded sessions
  • All The ArabicYou Never Learned The First Time Around, by the Defense Language Institute
This text is available also in Polish

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