Preface (2)

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          All the grammar books which I took great pains to study were indeed very useful.  However, I found it difficult to apply them in my classes, because I found that they were intended, in reality, for teachers, for scholars, as it were, and not in general for students or people of an average educational level.  I therefore had to readapt this methodology for my own teaching needs.  For this reason, I considered it useful and urgent to publish a new Arabic grammar book.  I undertook this task, not only as a teacher of Arabic, but also as a student of several other languages, while at the same time continuing to increase my knowledge of the Arabic language.  This enabled me to make comparisons between these languages on the one hand and Arabic on the other.  However, I certainly have not added anything new in this grammar book.  All I can offer are a new presentation and approach to make Arabic grammar more accessible to and within reach of everyone.  It is a grammar book produced for the students and, in a sense, by the students, as I had to find, one way or another, the replies to all the questions they raised and the explanations which I could not find anywhere else. 

          I would also like to point out that the examples used by the ancient grammarians and reverted to by modern ones were often of a violent character, as in: Zaid hit Amr, etc.  It was certainly not the fault of the grammarians, but the violent educational character of the period which produced this, I imagine.  That is why I have resolutely replaced all these examples by others, more pacific, more jovial and more practical.

          Modern teaching methods, which may be more practical, are certainly not proficient, as revealed in the low level of knowledge of the Arabic language in general, and of Arabic grammar in particular, in the Arab World. The Arab World today deplores a high rate of illiteracy among its growing population. Another problem of which, apparently, no one is aware, as I have not heard anyone referring to it, is the shortage of competent, proficient instructors to teach good Arabic to both Arabic- and non-Arabic-speaking learners. Knowing the language well, as a learned person, is not sufficient; being able to communicate one’s knowledge is essential.

(*) Talmon, Rafael.  The first beginnings of Arabic linguistics: the era of the Old Iraqi School.  In: Auroux, S., et al.  History of the Language Sciences.  Vol. 1.  Berlin, New York, Walter de Gruyter, 2000, p. 245-252.

          The first edition of this textbook was published as an internal document of the United Nations Office in Geneva under the title New Approach to Arabic Grammar, in September 1988. It was also published in French under the title Nouvelle approche de la grammaire arabe, in November 1988.

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