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Being Colloquial in Esperanto: A Reference Guide Hardcover – Jul 1999

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A *very* useful book! 8 Dec. 2001
By Theodore M. Alper - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are some fine introductory books in Esperanto (and you can get a pretty good start from the free 10-lesson email course easily found with any internet search engine); this book is probably not the best FIRST textbook (though I think it could be used as a first book without too much trouble), but it is an AMAZING second book, with more information on subtleties of expression in Esperanto (and there are *some* -- it's still a foreign language, albeit one with a very regular grammar, and its logic is not always identical to the logic (such as it is) behind English) than I've seen in any other english language textbook. It's also fun to read.
Once you've wet your feet a little (excuse the metaphor), if you want more, this is an excellent book to own.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Book 30 Aug. 2005
By Donald J. Harlow - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm quoted on the back of the dust cover as writing, in another review: "I would say that this is a book which should be on the shelf of every serious American (and other English-speaking) Esperantist, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for those who want to move from the status of beginner to that of expert."

I'll stand by that, but go a step further: Despite this book's basic purpose (to help the English-speaking reader understand more about Esperanto), and despite the fact that it's definitely not a textbook, I would say that it's actually possible to learn the language from scratch via the first half of this book. Not for everybody, of course, but for the committed individual who is willing to plow through 118 pages of great (though never excruciating!) detail about Esperanto, its grammar and its word-formation system without drills or exercises. The fact that Jordan has a terribly dry sense of humor, which he doesn't hesitate to share with the reader, makes this relatively painless. By the time you reach the end of that first section, you should have a full command of the language, except, perhaps, for vocabulary (and I use the word "perhaps" advisedly, because at least half of those 118 pages are given over to a multitude of examples of usage, and you should be able to pick up a pretty good vocabulary just from those).

Oh, and if you want to increase your vocabulary beyond this (and you should), don't forget to read the second half of the book, "Potentially Troublesome Words," in which you'll find much more detail about those words in Esperanto that can mislead the English-speaking student, as well as the words you ought to use instead.

Note: Jordan's (not overlong) lists of transitive and intransitive verbs that will cause trouble for English-speakers (because in English the transitive and intransitive versions of the verb are identical) should be studied and memorized by every American student of the language. Read pages 77-79 and you'll be sitting pretty.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Jordan has a real feel for the language. 1 Feb. 2002
By R. J. Reid - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While a straightforward and logical tongue, Esperanto is not English, and beginners tend to think English-ly while writing Esperanto-ly. (And that last sentence is just one of the many ways I could use to demonstrate that one must adjust one's thinking just a tad to become more fluent and universally understood when learning to be more proficient in the language.)
Jordan makes the learning fun. He peppers the book with humor and with wordplay (even the title gets a chuckle) and shows himself the linguist that he is in everyday life. There is much which is fundamental in the book, and yet there are curiosities and rarities that one might find elsewhere only with great difficulty, and these serve to whet the reader's curiosity and lead him on to the next chapter. I loved this book and in a personal letter to the author (before the advent of e-mail) I let him know that my only criticism of _Being Colloquial_ was that there was just too little of the book. Is a mouse the polar opposite of an elephant? In Esperanto, it might be! Jog your grey matter and have fun doing it -- and learn the language which has been, for over a century, the most universal and successful of all planned languages. Talk to non-English-speakers all over the world. Just DO it! It may change your life. I know it changed mine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Master the subleties of the International Language 26 Sept. 2004
By Arlyn Kerr - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Being Colloquial has an enjoyable, readable style. It's extremely informative and interesting, for learning the subtleties of Esperanto. Jordan is very realistic; although he obviously loves Esperanto, he doesn't avoid talking about the few logical imperfections of this very logical lanuage. I've been using Esperanto for 18 years, and I still find useful information here.

If it's not available at Amazon, you can get this book through ELNA, the national Esperanto organization.
2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good book, a little dated 27 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book did help my esperanto a little, but some of the language is a tad dated. You'd be better off learning it from the internet.
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