[Thoroughly revised on 2008-05-15]
This course is designed for anyone who wishes to learn the basics of Basque for travel or further study. It is both practical, with broad coverage of basic grammar and expressions you would be likely to need, and at the same time linguistically sound, with clear explanations of the grammar. And it's got tapes.
There are twelve units in the book, most of which begin with a dialogue and a list of vocabulary used in the dialogue. These are followed by sections entitled "Doing things with words", "Saying what you mean", "Grammatical nuts and bolts" and similar headings, and containing a mixture of useful structures and vocabulary. Many of these also have short exercises, the answers to which are in the back of the book. A second dialogue is followed by similar grammar and vocabulary sections, and finally a culture section ("Language and Life") with more, slightly less useful vocabulary.
The dialogue follows the story of Elin, from Wales, who is visiting the Basque Country. Thankfully for the reader she is treated as nearly Basque, so we are spared the excesses found in some language courses. However, there is still a strong emphasis on topics such as travelling around and meeting people. The dialogues appear to be relatively natural, but they do seem to lack many useful phrases.
Unit 8 replaces the dialogue with a longer text, which seems a little out of place. There are also no lists of the vocabulary used in the text of Unit 8 or of any dialogues in the latter part of the book, which makes looking up vocabulary rather more tiresome. Those following this course will probably want to purchase a dictionary, since much of the vocabulary isn't listed in the vocabulary section at the back of the book either. (I would somewhat cautiously suggest buying the more expensive Basque-English dictionary by Aulestia and White, and perhaps its English-Basque counterpart, rather than the cheap and nasty two-in-one dictionary I opted for. There is also a good online Morris Student Plus dictionary at [...]
For people wishing to learn Basque, especially outside the Basque country, the options are limited. Basque is not an easy language for English speakers to learn, but those wishing to come to grips with the language will find that Alan King and Begotxu Olaizola Elordi's course provides a practical introduction to the language.