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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2012
When I first ordered the Colloquial Lithuanian self study course I had my doubts about it. I had just about completed a self study course in German which was completely audio and reading based and was relatively easy which took me about a year to complete and then thought, well, I'll have a go at Colloquial Lithuanian after all I now live in the country. I listened to the introduction and pronunciations at the beginning of the book and then started the first Unit. Then I thought this is way far to much studying and too much work compared to the German course I had just completed, so I promptly stored the book away and looked for alternative way to learn Lithuanian.

Since self study Lithuanian courses are very thin on the ground there is not much alternative so I also ordered the newer version of Teach Yourself Lithuanian to compare with the Colloquial version. The reality is, both are very good learning tools and if followed should bring you to a decent standard of fluency and you should be able to communicate effectively. What Colloquial Lithuanian makes you do is study the language and study the grammar and vocabulary between the dialogue and exercise sections, but after all, Lithuanian is quite a grammatically challenging language. Perseverance and practice is definitely the name of the game here.

I must admit that I do have a big advantage living here in Lithuania and having a wife that is a native speaker and being surrounded by Lithuanian speakers. But that still does not change the fact that Lithuanian is completely different from any other European languages and takes that bit more effort to learn. If you are thinking about buying this book to learn a few phrases before going on holiday then don't. This book is aimed at the serious language learner who is aiming for fluency. I am about three quarters of the way through this book and my fluency is coming along fine but I have been putting a lot of time and effort into it. So as one other reviewer said this language is not for the faint hearted.

If you are looking for a comparison to Teach Yourself Lithuanian I would say Colloquial Lithuanian has the edge over TYS. The grammar points are easy to follow and the dialogue is spoken at a normal speed. Where as the Teach Yourself is spoken at a very slow pace but does give you good pronunciation. But the mind does tend to wander away because it is so slow.

For an absolute beginner that knows nothing at all about the language, not even a single word, it may be worth going through the TYS book first and then read and listen to the Colloquial series. I am using the dialogue from TYS along with Colloquial and has been effective. But for someone with no knowledge at all it worth trying to find or contact a native speaker at the start.

This book is like anything else in this world, you will get back what you put into it. If you put in the time and effort the rewards of speaking a new difficult language will be rewarding. If you don't put in the time ten you will get very little back.

Good luck with your learning. Viso gero!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2012
I bought Colloquial Lithuanian hoping to be able to progress fairly easy and effortlessly on my own to at least be able to converse the basics. As I don't have time to attend a night school or take private lessons I thought this book and audio cd would be the one for me. But how ever, like the many other self self study courses available in Lithuanian this one is just as flawed as the others. The book itself is fine but it's always the accompanying cd that lets it down as with the others I have tried. The dialogue is to fast, there is no attempt to follow the written text, there is no breaking down of key words in a sentence and there is no breaking down the sentence or dialogue so you fully understand. There is no listen and repeat.
I have successfully learned another language with self study but the method was very good and interesting and all words were repeated and broken down so you could fully understand all words and sentences that were being spoken. So far I have never come across any self study Lithuanian course that comes anywhere close to the standard of other courses in other languages to help the person or individual learn. It's all about the method pf teaching. I have lived in Vilnius on and off for six years now and most of my Lithuanian has been learned from native speakers who I know.
I hope one day a good fully comprehensive course will be available but until then! Good luck everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2013
I ordered the item after reading the enthusiastic reviews referring to the book and accompanying CDs. What I got is only the CDs which without the book are pretty useless. I'm rather careful while ordering stuff but there seems to be a tremendous confusion on Amazon site concerning this item. The ISBN number referring to the book/CD set links to paperback edition only, the reviewers speak about a book that doesn't exist, there is a "look inside" function suggesting that you can view the actual product etc. Another issue is that the CD's themselves are faulty. They won't start off at my laptop as all other CDs do without any problems. This seems to be Routledge specific CD incompatibility issue. I had previously bought another Routledge Colloquial Series cours and had the same problem with the CDs. Some other CD players are however able to read them so if you are lucky the CDs may prove useful. The recordings are clear, there are dialogues read by I think four different native speakers etc. So now for the rating: the mythical book does not exist, so I can only give zero stars, the CDs are OK given the above limitations, so two stars, since I can't use them where and when I want. The total is therefore only one star.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2009
I usually don't find it too hard to pick up a language, but I'm afraid to a large extent I was defeated by Lithuanian. I gave myself about 7 weeks before my short trip to Vilnius to try to get to grips with it with the help of this book and the accompanying audio material. I worked quite hard at it, and listened repeatedly to the dialogues on my i-pod most days. But I didn't manage to get much beyond lesson 4 in the book and once in Lithuania I felt paralysed by my lack of vocabulary and grammar. I did however manage to buy 4 trolleybus tickets from a kiosk successfully, which to me felt like a really major achievement.
The book has a difficult job, trying to teach such a complex language (rather like Latin I felt, but with hardly any familiar words). Some aspects of the book were good - I particularly found the audio CD's useful. But after 6 weeks I'd have liked to have felt more confident in a restaurant or a shop. I knew the word for "student halls of residence", but not for bread or milk. I found the grammar was not explained in as systematic and clear a way as I'd have liked, and it was frustrating that some of the Lithuanian words used in the texts were not to be found anywhere in the vocabulary index at the back of the book.
Overall I'm not sure how much of my problems were due to the book, how much to the complexity of Lithuanian itself and how much to my ageing brain. But if you're going to have a go, I suggest buying the book 6 months or even 6 years before your planned departure date!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 1998
This is the best guide (book plus tape) currently available for learning Lithuanian. My brother, who studied at Vilno Universiteto in 1994 - 1995 strongly recommended it to me, and wished he had had it available then. I had previously tried to learn using the Easy Way to Lithuanian book and tapes, and found this much better.
Of course, learning Lithuanian without living there or with a Lithuanian family member is basically impossible, but such is life.
Su Diev!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2006
I sometimes think Lithuanian is deliberately designed to make it impossible for foreigners to learn but this well structured, accessible book eases the pain admirably.
I started using the book before a visit to the country and what I'd picked up even in the first chapter was well received.
The book emphasizes the importance of pronunciation in its early stages, and rightly so; stress patterns in particular are hard to get to grips with in this language. Students will not be bombarded with the phenomenally complex grammar (even Lithuanians don't always get it right!)but a little is built up at a time.
The recordings are good,and aspects of the national temperament and psyche are neatly incorporated, even if you don't realise this at the time. There is an extensive pronunciation guide at the beginning of the CD for reference.
English transcriptions of the recordings are provided in the earlier chapters, but these are rightly ditched later on as comprehension increases.
Naturally Lithuanian instruction books in English are thin on the ground, but this course provides all you need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2010
Hi

After some month of trying to expand my knowledge in Lithuanian, i found this book very detailed and very clear for the pronounciation aspect.
I recommend this book.
Of course you may have understood that Lithuanian is not an easy language to learn, but piece by piece, this book will give you some knowledge of it. I use this one with 2 other books and cd's.

thanks

aurelien
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2011
This is a good course for learning Lithuanian. It starts with basic Phonetics, which is always interesting, and it follows with traditional Grammar Exercises. The CD's included allow you to follow the dialogues and texts and are a great help as well.
Another advantage is that it includes a Key to the Exercises, so that is very useful when studying alone and far from Lithuania!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 1998
This is the best guide (book plus tape) currently available for learning Lithuanian. My brother, who studied at Vilno Universiteto in 1994 - 1995 strongly recommended it to me, and wished he had had it available then. I had previously tried to learn using the Easy Way to Lithuanian book and tapes, and found this much better.
Of course, learning Lithuanian without living there or with a Lithuanian family member is basically impossible, but such is life.
Su Diev!
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on 23 June 2015
Lithuanian might not be the easiest language to learn. This book seems to be the best on the market, even it is already some years old. Its a good combination of vocabulary, Lithuanian/English short texts and small tasks. For me it is really fun learning it
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