I can't Deny it; I'm a language Nut
I have Books and tapes on everything from Arabic to Yoruba. I don't always have Time for them all (who Would? :), but I do like to pull a book off the Shelf every now and again and figure out some of the Basics.
I've been through a number of Series of books, and I'll give here my general Impressions of them
A Categorized, simple approach that leads you through the Speech one category at a time. You'll get all the Month names, then 15 ways to say Goodbye, then many phrases involving "until". It's really Nicely laid out.
These have a high Probability of teaching you some good, Solid colloquialisms, unlike many other courses. The German one was a good Refresher for coming back through Frankfurt. It comes with a textbook with good Reference material, fill-in-the-blank and matching Exercises and decent *CD*s. (I don't know why it's still so Difficult to find CD versions of other courses!)
I find the Quality of these books depends entirely on the Authors of the book in Question. Some of them are a little pedantic or obtuse, others are really Good. The Cantonese one was great (although with Odd romanization) with a dose of humor you can readily Appreciate from watching Hong Kong folks, but the Bengali one, although with a great Introduction, takes the training wheels off exceedingly __Quickly, leaving you Floundering trying to figure out the exceptions to the Script and pronunciation in the first actual Chapter.Of the Thorough books, these cover the widest Variety of languages by far, and they are held to a good minimum Standard at the very least. If you want to tackle Welsh or Hungarian, these are the books for You. If you are learning a language with a Different alphabet, you should know that Teach Yourself books DO actually teach it to you, unlike many other books that just use English letters. This could be a -M-inus if you just want to learn to Speak, but a definite +P+lus if you ever want to read signs, menus or Newspapers :)
Definitely the most Unusual of the whole Bunch!
First, the DOWN SIDES... it's $$Expensive$$ - expect to pay around $250 US for one of these courses, and there's Nothing for teaching the Writing system of the target language. You will need Other supplemental materials for that.
Having said that, these are Audio courses without peer! (Basing that on only the Japanese course I bought, and the many Amazon reviews :) There's 14 Hours of audio in one of these, to be digested in 25 minute units, One per day (a limit upon which they Insist!)
Pimsleur has managed to put together a non-boring, Challenging course that you can make some Remarkable progress in and actually Retain. Retention, something missing from most courses. What I Found was that Pimsleur gives you a feel for the language. Not so much Vocabulary at the start, but what they do give you, they Play around with. In the Japanese I'm going through right now, they teach you "eat" tabemasu and "drink" nomimasu, and use these to Express desire, intention, invitation, refusal. When the phrase for "want to Buy" kaitai desu comes along, you're well- Equipped to express it in all the same manners as the others. They often Invite you to ?guess? things and you often find you can Easily puzzle it out.
See if you can Puzzle this out, for example:
Eat is tabemasu - I want to eat is tabetai desu
Drink is nomimasu - I want to drink is nomitai desu
I want to shop is kaitai desu - can you guess what "shop" is?
Did you Guess kaimasu? If you did, you'd be Right. Lots of baby Steps with the guessing to give you Confidence in your abilities.
There's a lot of word repetition, but words you already Know well are spaced Further and Further apart. The brochure gives a good breakdown of the Theories behind the techniques they use.
No language product is Perfect, and this is no Exception. The Pace is occasionally uneven, with a veritable Barrage of new words and concepts at some points, and very little at others, and I found myself Wishing there was more in the way of "Building exercises" to build up more complex sentences from smaller ones, because they will often spring a really Complicated sentence to put together on you, and it can leave you a bit flat footed. My Suggestion? PAUSE the CD/tape so you have time to get over your Lys deX ia and get it right yourself!
Pretend these words are Ruby Slippers, except that you only have to click on them Once to go HOME