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In-Flight Arabic

Living language does a great job with their longer courses, so I was interested in these 1-CD versions of a travelers vocabulary. Twenty (really short) lessons cover the absolute basics of the new language -- enough to get you buy in a tourist situation, at least.

There is a little phrase booklet (about 16 pages) that displays the words used on the CDs, but no lessons to study. The CD contains native speakers repeating common phrases in Arabic and English, for you to mimic. No grammar, and no ability to read the language, but a pretty good learn-by-example way to pick up the bare minimum of vocabulary.

They claim you can do this on the plane on the way to Cairo, which I suppose is true. They're easy enough to follow along, but they do seem to work best when you actually repeat things out loud, which might garner you a few stares on the plane.

The lessons cover the absolute minimal vocabulary-- greetings, counting, addressing people, asking where things are, please and thank you, ordering food, etc. The native speakers are clear, although there isn't always enough time to really repeat the phrases in the later lessons. You're expected to simply memorize the common phrases, which works well for casual use.

This was the quickest way for us to learn the basic polite phrases - "please" and "thank you" and "yes" and "no" -- and was easy to do in the car over a few days. I'd recommend this CD for anyone wanting a quick introduction to the language and some confidence in saying the basic pleasantries.

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