DE JONG, Everdene.

Spoken Arabic of the Arabian Gulf.

Beirut: Printed at the American Press, 1958 Stock Code: 131258
£1,500.00

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Notes

First and sole edition of this decidedly uncommon grammar, one of the first guides to Arabic as spoken in the Arabian Gulf, "a still valuable text" (Scudder, p. 349); other such guides produced around this time were issued by the major oil companies for their staff in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, and by the government of Qatar, then a British Protectorate, which was also experiencing a surge in oil revenues and in need of ex-patriate staff.

The American Mission, founded in 1889 by the Dutch Reformed Church of America, aimed to evangelise the Arabian Peninsula from bases along the Arabian Gulf, and a transit station in Beirut. It opened field stations in Basrah, Bahrain, Muscat, and Kuwait, and sub-stations at Amara and Nasiriya, Matrah and Qatar. In support of its missionary work, these stations provided medical and educational services (lacking in the pre-oil days), and bases for tours into the region. Its Kuwait Station (1910-67) was judged to be of special strategic and commercial importance because of its proximity to the Tigris-Euphrates corridor and caravan routes into the interior, as well as giving an intimate connection with the kingdom of Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, whom the Mission held in high regard, and with whom they were careful to foster diplomatic ties (see Abdul Malek K. Al-Tameemi, The Arabian Mission, 1977).

The author, Everdene de Jong, together with her husband the Reverend Garrett Edward de Jong (founder of the Kuwait Mission Church), were in charge of evangelical work in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Amarah. Her book was prepared to facilitate the work of Mission staff at the stations, and language training was conducted at learning centres in Kuwait, Basrah, and Bahrain, using this work and John van Ess's pioneering handbook for the Mission, The Spoken Arabic of Mesopotamia (1917), with de Jong and van Ess assisting with training.

Reflecting de Jong's long involvement in the region and the much wider and deeper range of interactions that Mission staff had with the local population, this work is more substantive and thematically more diverse than the oil company offerings, with exercises covering home life, family relations, school, shopping, world affairs, agriculture, parts of the body, etc., even including a visit to the oil fields. De Jong credits her idea and general plan to the series of lessons developed in the late 1930s by Mrs L. P. Dame of the American Mission ("which impressed me with the value of exercises in the colloquial"). There is also reference to tapes having been prepared.

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Description

Octavo. Original olive-green cloth spine, moderate green buckram-patterned paper sides.

Condition

Only light shelf wear to binding, general toning to letterpress, a few neat marginal emendations (at pp. 62, 110, 137, 180, 181). An excellent copy.

Bibliography

See Lewis R. Scudder III, The Arabian Mission's Story (1998).

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