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Learn Albanian [Paperback]

Cezar Kurti

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Learn Albanian/Mesoni Shqip: An Introduction to Albanian Grammar [Book and audio CD] Learn Albanian/Mesoni Shqip: An Introduction to Albanian Grammar [Book and audio CD] 4.0 out of 5 stars (4)
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning Albanian made simple and accessible. 3 Jun 2000
By Andy Murrin - Published on Amazon.com
Cezar Kurti's "Learn Albanian" is a very useful tool for those who are interested in learning the Albanian language. It is broken up into 40 lessons, with two review sections as the 10th and 20th lessons, respectively; also, the last two lessons are just translating passages to put to use what all the previous lessons have taught. While it is covers a great deal of the language, it must be noted that no one book can fully cover all the grammar and vocabulary of a foreign language. Nevertheless, all the major aspects are well covered, and will allow for sufficient usage when learned. The lessons themselves follow the paradigm of starting off with a passage in Albanian, with its translation below. This is proceeded by grammar lessons, exercises for the grammar, and concludes with vocabulary. The paragraphs cover a variety of situations that one would most likely encounter and need to use the language - restaurants, hotels, etc.. It is effective in helping the learner to become aware of how Albanian is expressed in conversation. Another "bonus" to the paragraphs, is that a good deal about Albania and its history is learned as well. The grammar lessons are broken down in each section to provide the learner with just enough information that (s)he will not be overwhelmed. And the vocabulary is thorough for each section. There is even a brief Albanian-English/English-Albanian dictionary at the very end. The main reason that I did not give a 5th star to this book, is that I felt - even though the grammar exercises were mostly readily comprehendible - there should also be an "answer key" as a means of confirmation. But overall, this book is very worthwhile. To learn more Albanian vocabulary, I also recommend the pocketbook "Albanian-English/English-Albanian Dictionary & Phrasebook" by Ramazan John Hysa - this for more practical vocabulary. But for in depth vocabulary, I also recommend "Albanian-English Dictionary" (Hippocrene Comprehensive) and "Oxford English-Albanian Dictionary".
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book for beginners in Albanian 18 Jan 2002
By David G. Taylor Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
This book is the best I have found for learning Albanian from scratch. I am in Kosovo and needed a crash course; Mesoni Shqip turned out to be the perfect book. I have two Albanian interpreters here and both agree it is the perfect book for the beginner. The lessons are managable and follow each other logically. The nuances of the language are easy to discern in the lessons without there being a great deal of unnecessary explanation. The book offers a great deal more than just expressions as you would find in a phrase book. I am actually able to learn the mechanics of the language to a useful extent. You will appreciate this book if you need to learn Albanian quickly.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aspiring Albanian Speaker's View!!!! 21 Dec 2005
By Romanista - Published on Amazon.com
I must admit that even though I have probably bought over $1000 of stuff over the years on amazon.com, this will be my first ever review of anything on Amazon. I feel compelled to do so because there seems to be very few books of this nature to learn albanian as an English speaker. First I would like to give you a little bit of a background so that you have a better understanding where I am coming from. I hate reviews where people give long winded explanations of why a product sucked or was good, but in the end the review was not a good one beacuse it wasn't relevant to you.

First off, I am an Italian-American living in Italy. I am fluent in both languages. I also have a decent linguistical background in Vietnamese, German and Greek. Though I wouldn't claim anything but elementary speaker at this point in the latter two. My fiance is Albanian and we speak almost exclusively in Italian (99%) even though she is fluent in English as well. Being that we live in Italy, that has a large part in why we speak exclusively in Italian.

Anyways, I have been wanting to learn Albanian for a couple of reasons. First, that is a huge part of my fiance's life. She is Albanian and out of respect to her, her family, and all Albanians I feel that it is only fair. Second, we already speak two languages in common so why not make it three. Third, Albanian is a very cool language. It has a very unique sound and at first glance it has a slavic tone to it. But if you have a well trained ear, you will notice right away that it is not a slavic language. It does however borrow some words here or there (even from italian) but in the end it is a truly unique and thriving language that should bring you much enjoyment. There. That is my background. Now on with the review.

I am going to do a mixed review. I am adding Isa Zymberi's Colloquial Albanian (book only) to the mix as well because these are almost exclusively the only two good books out there that will teach you Albanian with an emphasis on grammar as well as vocabulary. Both of these books are a must for anyone wanting to learn Albanian. And I would recommend using both at the same time. For example: At the same time you have completed the first 10 chapters of this book, you should have completed roughly 4 or 5 chapters of Isa Zymberi's book. And after doing so, go back through those chapters once again before moving on.

This book has 40 chapters and seems to be a little lighter or slower on the grammar side. You still get all the grammar that you need, it just seems to go about it a little bit slower. Isa Zymberi's book has only 26 or so chapters and the grammar and self-tests seem to be a bit better or more indepth. Probably due to the concentration of matter being split into a smaller abount of chapters. Either way, I have found that using both books are way better than limiting yourself to only one.

All that is missing now is a really good dictionary!!!

If I had to rate each book seperately I would give them 4 stars or 4.5 stars a piece but together they get a collective 5. In the end, if you only have the loot to get one book, either book is fine. But since these are pretty much the only two books out there, I would still get both.

I hope this review will help you in your decision.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great help 15 Oct 2005
By A. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
This book will help you learn the basics. I have struggled for over 2 years in finding some kind of help in learning Albanian and this is the best that I have found. If you go to the authors web site, a few of the chapters from the book are posted. If you are impressed, buy the book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book of the 10,000 errors - and very few texts on the CD 17 Mar 2007
By H. A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many reviewers have written positive comments about this book, but it's worth asking how much of it they have actually studied. After studying it cover to cover, I profess bewilderment. The Albanian texts are very good (the life of a journalist in Tirana), grammatical explanations are adequate, and the book is succinct. But there are spelling mistakes in the texts, and the translations are literally full of errors (e.g. Thursday = wednesday, clodhur=shlodhur, etc). They are also too liberal to help learners understand what each word means, have segments missing, and the glossary skips most of the vocabulary. (I used 3 dictionaries to figure things out.)Thus the learner is constantly in danger of learning things wrong. Some formatting is skewed, again leading the learner to learn items incorrectly. How could the distinguished philologist who authored the book allow the publication in this condition?
The author also decided to record the text of only the first 9 of 40 chapters, then chapters 39-40. The remaining CD consists of poetry recitations, including Shakespeare!!
I realize the choices for English-speaking books on Albanian are few. This book is only usable with a teacher who will correct the mistakes. Other books to buy are the one by Isa Zymberi, which has pretty comprehensive audio although some words are Kosovar. The best may be the $90 book by Leonard Newmark with its 6 cassettes, although these represent only the first 12 lessons or so. At least these books are accurate. The author has recently issued a second edition and a book of dialogs but I would not risk buying it.
I suspect that Cezar Kurti used as a source a 1989 book produced in Albania by Androkli Kostallari and others. That books is long out of circulation and has communist philosophy, but is excellent.
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