I am re-writing my review because I talked with someone about the book and we went over it section by section. I realize the book is better than I thought it was in the beginning. Having said that, the book does still have some issues. I still think the book is lacking in direction, content and good ways in how to describe yourself, talk with others, etc. and some of the dialog is outdated but considering the original publish date, I guess one can expect that. I really wish that they had spent a bit more time on making this book better. Its almost like this is a bigger phrase book, not a course and that is unfortunate. Some of the book is good.
I have to say that it does give some good things to know like colors, numbers, days of the week, etc. but even then, they could have given a bit more in that area. I do think that the dialogs are horrible and really need to be updated in the worse way and they need to be a bit more relevant to everyday life that people live instead of some political issues, secretarial office work, and so on. A few dialogs do talk of things that happen but not really all the time. At first, I thought the dialogs were a bit strange but after reading them through, they made a bit more sense but still the problem of it being relevant to regular life.
While I don't really don't think that grammar is the best way to learn a language, I would have appreciated a bit of explanation of the grammar they have in the book and a bit more, I guess you could say, practical grammar? What they do have in the book, is not really explained very well, especially for the "grammatically challenged", like me! lol! There should have been more vocabulary and the layout of all of the book is confusing. The glossary-dictionary is about 12 pages long--just barely; so it is not even a good book to look up Malay words that are even in the book.
There are a few good points of the course. If you don't know how to pronounce Malay and have never seen it written, or heard it before then this is a good course for that. The cassettes and CD's I got with the course (they have the same material on both formats, I don't know why), are great for helping you to learn the vocabulary and sounds; although, be prepared, they talk really fast. The book is great in that it does force you early on, to learn to read and do exercises in the language. They provide a lot of exercises for practice and I like that--it makes you think about the language, not just read and listen. It is not a bad course if you are not using it to learn the language, for the sake of learning Malay. It is good for the very beginner, like me, who needs something as a jumping off point; to hear it, see it in print and understand a few basic phrases and get a feel.
If you want to learn Malay seriously, then I don't recommend this course for that. I can barely recommend it for someone who just plans on using it as a tourist going to visit because there really isn't much for that in the book, either. I would recommend to keep looking on Amazon for a few other courses and Teach Yourself does have one but I don't know how good it is (my next purchase!)and I haven't read reviews yet. I do pray that when they update this book, that they will add more vocabulary, better, up to date EVERYDAY dialogs, a better dictionary, grammar explanations and better layout. For the price, I'd buy it used and as low as you can get it--over $20 would be far too much to pay. I was blessed and got mine for, believe it or not, $2.98 with audio in cassettes and CD's!