on 7 May 2000
Colloquial Norwegian aims to take the absolute beginner to a reasonably competent level of language ability, and it succeeds. It's an accessible, friendly book which illustrates grammatical concepts well whilst keeping the reader entertained with amusing dialogues involving the 'Dale' family who are featured throughout the book. A few concepts are not always introduced in a logical order but on the whole the structure is good, teaching the language and vocabulary by using a different topic in each chapter. There are lots of very varied exercises (both written and aural) which test your knowledge and stretch your ability without being boring or repetitive. The aural exercises are an essential part of the learning so don't be tempted to buy the book on its own - make sure you get the cassette pack that goes with it too, or you'll be missing out on a lot. Throughout the book the language used is fairly neutral, erring on the side of colloquial (as the title implies) but with plenty of guidance about more formal terms when required. It also has lots of guidance about actual language usage and so the book is very practical and down-to-earth but it does this without compromising grammatical basics. Overall, a well-written book which, with a bit of regular study, should teach enough to help anyone get around in Norway in a matter of weeks.
on 2 March 2015
This is a really excellent course. The layout of the book has the usual superb uncluttered clarity of the Routledge Colloquial... series. Grammar explanations are lucid and thorough. The range of vocabulary introduced is wide, and not confined to trite holiday situations. The dialogues too cover a wide range of realistic everyday topics, and are acted, on the audio support material, with complete realism. Most dialogues take place within a family where not everyone behaves nicely all the time, and the actors are good, so the dialogues remain vividly in the mind. I have learnt Norwegian extremely effectively from this course, and I recommend it wholeheartedly: five stars richly deserved.
on 6 January 2009
The first thing in using a book to learn a language is you feel confident about the book and I don't with this one.
For example the scripts of the dialogues are not complete and don't feel to flow. One says for example here you are not expected to remember then it finishes with a test on them (Numbers pg 25)
Also not sure who uses cassettes these days so why can't the book give references to the actual sound clips.
The grammar certainly could have been written better, the description of word order(pg 22) doesn't seem to mention object??
Final dislike is there is not much of a specific vocabulary for each chapter.
Feels sort of cobbled together.
As said could do a lot better.
on 12 April 2000
One maybe gets the main steps for the language but it is far from being concise and the grammar definitely could be easier... For example, why teach 'past participle' when still not mentioned 'simple past'? Talk about the auxiliary verbs but only in some tenses and then changing subject completely... Ah, and the exercises besides from being boring, have some strange meanings like "she ought to make my bed" or "she ought to iron my shirt"? (pg 88).