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Colloquial Croatian and Serbian: The Complete Course for Beginners: A Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) [Paperback]

Celia Hawkesworth
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 May 1998 0415161312 978-0415161312 2nd Revised edition
Colloquial Croatian and Serbian is specially written by experienced teachers for self-study or class use. The course offers you a step by step approach to written and spoken Croatian and Serbian and no prior knowledge of the language is required.
What makes Colloquial Croatian and Serbian and Bosnian your best choice in personal language learning?
* interactive - lots of exercises for regular pracitice
* clear - concise grammar notes
* practical - useful vocabulary and pronunciation guide
* complete - including answer key and special reference section
By the end of this rewarding course you will be able to communicate confidently and effectively in a broad range of situations.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd Revised edition edition (7 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415161312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415161312
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,158,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for self-study 4 Oct 2001
Format:Paperback
This book cannot be recommended for self-study. Only some of the exercises are covered by the answer key. The same is true for the translation of the lesson texts - rather annoying since the "Colloquial Series"-books are designed for self-study.
It has to be noticed that there are a lot of carefully graded text passages and therefore plenty of opportunities to practice your reading abilities. However, as mentioned before, since the author did not bother to provide translations for every text passage, it is hard to check on your progress. Furthermore, the book introduces new grammatical features at an early stage without any explanation at all (e.g. past tense in dialog 2 of lesson 6 - past tense won't be dealt with until lesson 9). Given the fact that Croatian is without doubt a pretty difficult language to master, this can only add to the student's confusion.
Grammatical explanations are overall good. The vocabulary is well chosen - unfortunately not all of it is covered by the glossary at the end of the book, so you'd better be prepared to buy an additional dictionary right from the start.
The "Grammar summary" strikes the student as rather odd; not only does it not summarise all of the salient features of the language, as one might expect (e.g. past tense and future missing), it is also here that new grammatical elements like the imperfect or the pluperfect tense are presented to the student for the first time.
The two audio cassettes that accompany the book are excellent, no room for criticism there.
To sum up: This book is strong stuff. It is certainly not to be used for self-study, at least not for those without any prior knowledge of the language. Whoever wants to study Croatian or Serbian on their own should rather start out with David A. Norris' outstanding book "Teach Yourself Serbo-Croat".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Labour intensive 6 Mar 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
Well.....you do need to be motivated. Unlike some of the other titles in the Colloquial series( I've reviewed Colloquial Dutch ) I found myself working for hours and hours without progression beyond chapter two! However, what IS useful is that there are subtle differences in the grammar in the spoken language in Serbia and Croatia.......and this is probably the most important if you want a friendly reception while on holiday. In addition to not providing answers to the exercises, the main 'stories' which build your vocabulary, occasionally do not provide meanings to the new words, which doesn't help. They also have another 'soap opera' like story running through the book -'Ljubav naprica' or " love story" consisting of a whole page about a young Croatian couple and their friends.......asides from providing new vocabulary, the usefulness of which is somewhat debatable, that's really it.
And the plus side? Yes, there IS one! The free CD's are excellent, making it a good for value package.... The audio assistance means you can develop a reasonable accent, something which a basic phrasebook can't offer.....
My recommendation, for 'Holiday' Croatian? Get Lonely Planet's 'Eastern European' phrasebook for all the essentials and use the CD's from this series. Then go there, start beyond Chapter 2 and go back for more!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone got lazy 6 Feb 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
This could be a very good book for learning Croatian. The idea that each chapter consists of three dialogues concerning tourism, business and a soap opera is very good since it enables the learner to cope with different situations. On the whole, the grammar is presented in a clear way and after finishing the course the learner should have a good grasp of Croatian grammar. Still, somewhere along the line someone got lazy - either the author or the people at lay out.
-Of the three different dialouges only the first in each chapter (tourism) has got decent vocabulary tables. For the other two dialouges in each chapter you do get some words, but since they aren't arranged into tables it is much harder to read and learn them. Of course you can write your own vocabulary for each of them but it will take quite some time - Routledge are the ones who should have put down that additional time.
-Speaking of vocabulary, the general vocabulary at the end of the book is a bad joke. My estimate is that even less than half of the words in the book made it to the vocabulary. It's quite frustrating to do an exercise, find a word you don't know and then for the umpteen time have to realize than the author/Routledge didn't bother to include that word either in the vocabulary.
-The exercises are quite good, but now the laziness reaches extreme hights. Only about 20% of the answers to the exercises are included in the book! I've no idea why, in every other Colloquial book I've read all the answers are given.
-Word accent in Croatian is not predictable and for some few words the accent is marked. For most it is not.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put this into practice and you'll shine! 18 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have to say this is not a book for the casual learner. But then again, neither is the language itself! From a standing start, native English speakers may find the book a bit 'too much too quickly'. However, you must just accept the fact that the peoples of the former Yugoslavia just do not think the same way we do, so some of the language patterns can be very confusing. If you can accept that you are beginning from that startpoint, you can then follow the various lessons step-by-step, taking as long as necessary to absorb the course materials. I believe, from a personal point of view, that this is the best book currently available on the subject and that it has assisted me in developing my own language skills considerably. You won't finish it in a month; if you do you've not given it long enough. Give it a few months, (maybe longer) and THEN see the level you have reached! You won't believe the reaction you'll get from the people who know the difference; native speakers of Serbo-Croat!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Croation specific 17 Feb 2001
By Kingsbury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
If you are a newcomer to the language, it is important to know that this course teaches in the Croation dialect, which is different from the Serbian dialect spoken in Belgrade and the surrounding areas. This course is applicable to those who wish to master the Croation spoken around Zagrab, and the unique Serbian spoken within areas of Bosnia. HOWEVER, if you are attempting to master the more common Serbian of Serbia and southern provinces, and you have no experience with these languages, this course could confuse you.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Destroyed by lazyness 6 Feb 2003
By Gwilym - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This could be a very good book for learning Croatian. As said below, the idea with each chapter consisting of three dialogues concerning tourism, business and a soap opera is very good since it enables the learner to cope with different situations. On the whole, the grammar is presented in a clear way and after finishing the course the learner should have a good grasp of Croatian grammar. Still, somewhere along the line someone got lazy - either the author or the people at lay out.
-Of the three different dialouges only the first in each chapter (tourism) has got decent vocabulary tables. For the other two dialouges in each chapter you do get some words, but since they aren't arranged into tables it is much harder to read and learn them. Of course you can write your own vocabulary for each of them but it will take quite some time - Routledge are the ones who should have put down that additional time.
-Speaking of vocabulary, the general vocabulary at the end of the book is a bad joke. My estimate is that even less than half of the words in the book made it to the vocabulary. It's quite frustrating to do an exercise, find a word you don't know and then for the umpteen time have to realize than the author/Routledge didn't bother to include that word either in the vocabulary.
-The exercises are quite good, but now the laziness reaches extreme hights. Only about 20% of the answers to the exercises are included in the book! I've no idea why, in every other Colloquial book I've read all the answers are given.
-Word accent in Croatian is not predictable and for some few words the accent is marked. For most it is not.
To sum up, the lack of vocabulary tables after each dialouge, the much-too-short general vocabulary and the non-existent answers to the exercises hugely diminish the value of this book. It is sad that a book with such good potential should be destroyed because someone didn't bother to add the final touch. My advice to the author: look at other books in the Colloquial series, such as Colloquial Slovak or Colloquial Lithuanian and learn from them.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceedingly good 22 Jan 2002
By Mike Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
This must be one of the best language courses for learning the language spoken in Croatia (which is extremely close to the one spoken in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro). There are three themes running through the book, all of them useful. The first one is the familiar "English Tourists" which will give you the vocabulary for ordinary situations, just as in most other language courses. Then there is a very interesting "soap-opera", which will be most useful if you're into some flirting. Given how extremely good-looking the Croatian girls are, this section is a blessing. Then there is a further theme focusing on a businessman going to Croatia.
The grammar is very concise and well-structured, and the vocabularies in each chapter are fairly full-covering. The audio is great as well, with natural Croatian speech. There is only one small problem and that is that the course does not show whether stressed vowels are long or short.
Though focusing on the speech in Croatia, the book also contains many references to the differences between Croatian and Serbian, which I found very interesting.
Be aware that the overall rating of this book is rather low, NOT becuase it's a bad book (it's great) but because some people like the previous reviewer from Greece attack all books that aren't exclusively in Serbian. That is a political action that has nothing to do with the qualities of this book. As someone who have never visited the region and have no passions about the political situation in the region, I would like to see reviews focusing on the qualities of the book
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing 3 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette|Verified Purchase
I got this book because of the glowing reviews here, but so far I'm unimpressed. Maybe my expectations were unreasonably high. The tape just starts off with no indication of what page we're on, and picks out seemingly random bits and pieces of the book to narrate. On top of that, some of the dialogues on the tape aren't in the book. This can be particularly frustrating for the beginner, e.g. me. The glossary in the back is not as complete as it should be. I would think it should at least have all the words used in the book so that the reader doesn't have to keep referring to another book or dictionary. Maybe as I keep plugging away at it, I'll learn this language, but this book and tape have definitely not been very user-friendly so far.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial Croatian and Serbian 17 Feb 2000
By Zak Draskovich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
I WAS RAISED BY SERBIAN SPEAKING PARENTS AND IGNORED THE CHANCE TO LEARN FIRSTHAND. THESE TAPES ARE WONDERFUL AND DO HELP TREMENDOUSLY. I AM PLANNING A TRIP TO SERBIA AND THE TAPES BRING BACK ALOT OF WORDS THAT WERE LURKING IN THE DIM RECESSES OF MY MIND. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE ES SERBO-CROATION LANGUAGE/30 IN CONJUCTION WITH THESE TAPES.
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