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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2010
For the English-speaking beginner, Czech prsents three major problems which combine to make it a difficult language to get to grips with: the pronunciation, which has sound combinations alien to English; the vocabulary with its lack of recognisable cognates; and the finicky system of declensions for nouns, pronouns and adjectives. A good textbook would attempt to minimise these problems, but Teach Yourself Czech, far from doing this, exacerbates them.
There is an accompanying CD, but a) it's obviously been recorded from a crackly old cassette, and the sound quality is poor; b) instead of giving a clearly, slowly enunciated example, then repeating it in a more natural way, the speakers merely mutter the same thing twice, in such a way that the learner cannot hear the phonemes properly.
Given the lack of obvious cognates with English (or German, or French), it would be better to have a light load of useful and useable words. Instead, this book goes in for a huge vocabulary overload - each half-page dialogue is accompanied by 1.5 to 2 pages of vocabulary lists, with no attempt to make the words memorable.
But the worst fault of all is the way the noun declensions are introduced - dry as dust, rule after rule after rule, exception after exception, and with pitifully few useful examples. There are better ways of doing it than this - all you need is a bit of imagination.
I speak as a archetypal 'good language learner' (and a language teacher), who has learned Japanese and Thai to fluency, as well as several European languages. I will learn Czech too, but not from this book, which is going in the bin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 1998
This text, no matter how good, cannot be recommended. There is a huge mistake that exists with the letter: t', it comes off incorrectly printed as: afl. Thus, any occurance of a word which contains the letter t', reads as: afl.
The Czech word: at' will appear as the non­Czech word: afl and the Czech word: vrat' will appear as the non­Czech word: vrafl.
I wrote to the publisher four years ago asking for my money back. They only offered a corrected copy when it would be printed. I've never received one, and, these incorrect texts are on the shelves in book stores worldwide.
Look at pages 205, 208 and 215 for some incorrect words.
Once again, no matter the good and great things in this book, you will learn an embarrassing Czech that does not exist if you use this book. Buyer beware!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2011
Too complicated and dry. Focuses too much on grammer rather than giving you the confidence to start speaking quickly. And why is that these books assume the reader has a degree in English language?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 1997
David Short has put together a wonderful text. Truly comprehensive, it goes far beyond the usual survival guide. Each unit is wonderfully laid out and all information is introduced clearly and at a comfortable pace. The "something extra" section at the end of each unit provides an informative and interesting glimpse into Czech culture and lifestyle. While it is a complete language course, this traveller found the dialogues and exercises perfectly appropriate for someone travelling to the Czech Republic. Pick it up today! (And then hope that Short puts out an intermediate coursebook soon...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 1998
I found a simple dictionary that showed how to pronounce each word in English. This book assumes a person learns the pronounciation of words throughout the text by reading the front of the book. The book needs to show the phrases throughout the book so that a person is not always trying to dig back to figure out how to pronounce a word or phrase in English. Czech does not look like at easy language to learn.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I am not happy with this order as you are suppose to have a BOOK with a CD and I first got the CD and when I mentioned that the book was not with the CD I was told that this would be put right. Then what happens next I get another CD and again no BOOK.
Is it possible for anyone to get this right.
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