An Introduction to Modern Literary Arabic

The lessons are clear, in non-technical language, and have generous examples, with plenty of exercises for translation from Arabic to English and from English to Arabic. This is the manual that students interested in Arabic as a living and expanding world language will prefer. It is the first to deal mainly with modern literary Arabic. In Mr Cowan’s words: ‘The purpose is to explain to the students, in as concise a manner as possible, the grammatical structure of the modern Arabic literary language as it is found today in newspapers, magazines, books, the radio, and public speaking. I have endeavoured to restrict the material to the minimum which may serve as a stepping-stone to a deeper study of Arabic. As the fundamental grammar of written Arabic has hardly changed as an introduction to the classical language also. Having once mastered its contents the student should have a sound grasp of Arabic grammar and can then direct his studies towards modern literature or classical according to his needs and inclinations.


Preface; Introduction; 1. The Arabic alphabet; 2. Pronunciation of the consonants; 3. Vowels; 4. Doubled consonants; 5. ‘Tanwin’ or nunation; 6. Hamza; 7. Madda; 8. Accent; 9. Pronunciation; 10. Lessons 1-25; Appendix.


‘This is an excellent grammar which should commend itself to all teachers of Arabic.’ J. Robson, Journal of Semitic Studies

‘This introduction to the grammar of both classical and modern literary Arabic is the best I have seen.’ Arnold C. Satterthwait, Middle East Journal

‘Mr Cowan’s work has strong claims to be considered the best introductory grammar which has yet appeared.’ J. A. Haywood, Durham University Journal

‘An excellent grammar … the exercises strike a happy medium between the modern and literary.’ Virginia Vacca, East and West