DE JONG, Everdene.

Spoken Arabic of the Arabian Gulf.

Beirut: Printed at the American Press, 1958 Stock Code: 131259
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Scarce Arabic grammar

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); this copy with an excellent provenance, from the library of Warren C. Benedict, linguist with the US Foreign Service Institute, who joined the department in 1958 and in 1960 was "assigned as Scientific Linguist and Regional Language Supervisor at the FSI Field School in Beirut" (obituary in the Department of State Newsletter, March 1972); his Rockwell Kent-designed bookplate bears his ownership inscription. He was the author of Urartian Phonology and Morphology (1958) and Levantine Arabic: Basic Course (1971).

Other such grammars 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-pat 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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Octavo. Original olive-green cloth spine, moderate green buckram-patterned paper sides.


Minimal shelf wear, small dent and tear to front joint, letterpress light toned. A very good copy.


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


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