All the lessons are constructed more or less along the following lines:
1. Presentation of the main topic of the lesson (the conjugation of a particular verb, a certain type of sentence structure, etc.) The idea is to help you focus on this specific issue while reading the text.
2. A vocabulary list of the new words that appear in the text. These lists will help you with the exercises provided at the end of each lesson.
3. A conversation or story in Arabic, with a parallel translation into English. This text is designed to provide “real life” examples of the material and vocabulary presented in the lesson, and it is accompanied by footnotes containing explanations or related material that will help you remember a particular word or better understand its meaning. If you feel that you are drowning in an excess of new information you can ignore the footnotes if you prefer, especially the first time you go over the material.
4. The text is followed by explanations that explore the conclusions to be drawn from it and explain relevant rules by means of examples, summaries, tables, etc.
5. At the end of each lesson there are exercises that will enable you to practice the newly-learned material.
A. First exercise: “Translate into English” – this gives you the opportunity to try to understand sentences in Arabic that make use of the words you have learned in that lesson (and in previous ones, too).
B. “Complete the sentence”: this exercise, too, requires you to understand sentences in Arabic, and to show that you do so by filling in the missing words.
C. Final exercise: “Translate into Arabic” – translation from English to Arabic, using the new vocabulary and applying the rules you have just learned. This is the most difficult and important of the exercises, as it will help you to make active use of what you have learned. Apart from enabling you to understand the sentences, the exercises will also teach you to express yourself using the Arabic words and expressions you have acquired so far.
Note: This course is designed, first and foremost, to give students a practical knowledge of the rules of the language, to instill instinctive linguistic reactions and to enable learners to construct sentences, move smoothly between tenses and from negative to affirmative, conjugate all verbs competently in every conceivable situation, etc. While learning these skills students will also acquire a basic vocabulary, but – in Book 1 at least – the emphasis is not on learning as many words as possible, as new words can be obtained from the dictionary or by asking a native speaker. Such sources of information, however, will not provide learners with the skills they need to express themselves freely (after all, if you buy a piano you won’t be able to play it properly straight away, no matter how many explanations about notes and rhythm you may hear. Long hours of practicing scales are required before the theory “comes out through the fingers”).