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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put this into practice and you'll shine!
I have to say this is not a book for the casual learner. But then again, neither is the language itself! From a standing start, native English speakers may find the book a bit 'too much too quickly'. However, you must just accept the fact that the peoples of the former Yugoslavia just do not think the same way we do, so some of the language patterns can be very...
Published on 18 Feb. 2001

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for self-study
This book cannot be recommended for self-study. Only some of the exercises are covered by the answer key. The same is true for the translation of the lesson texts - rather annoying since the "Colloquial Series"-books are designed for self-study.
It has to be noticed that there are a lot of carefully graded text passages and therefore plenty of opportunities...
Published on 4 Oct. 2001 by Bonifatius


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for self-study, 4 Oct. 2001
This book cannot be recommended for self-study. Only some of the exercises are covered by the answer key. The same is true for the translation of the lesson texts - rather annoying since the "Colloquial Series"-books are designed for self-study.
It has to be noticed that there are a lot of carefully graded text passages and therefore plenty of opportunities to practice your reading abilities. However, as mentioned before, since the author did not bother to provide translations for every text passage, it is hard to check on your progress. Furthermore, the book introduces new grammatical features at an early stage without any explanation at all (e.g. past tense in dialog 2 of lesson 6 - past tense won't be dealt with until lesson 9). Given the fact that Croatian is without doubt a pretty difficult language to master, this can only add to the student's confusion.
Grammatical explanations are overall good. The vocabulary is well chosen - unfortunately not all of it is covered by the glossary at the end of the book, so you'd better be prepared to buy an additional dictionary right from the start.
The "Grammar summary" strikes the student as rather odd; not only does it not summarise all of the salient features of the language, as one might expect (e.g. past tense and future missing), it is also here that new grammatical elements like the imperfect or the pluperfect tense are presented to the student for the first time.
The two audio cassettes that accompany the book are excellent, no room for criticism there.
To sum up: This book is strong stuff. It is certainly not to be used for self-study, at least not for those without any prior knowledge of the language. Whoever wants to study Croatian or Serbian on their own should rather start out with David A. Norris' outstanding book "Teach Yourself Serbo-Croat".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Labour intensive, 6 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Colloquial Croatian and Serbian: The Complete Course for Beginners. Book, CDs and Cassettes. (Colloquial Series) (Audio Cassette)
Well.....you do need to be motivated. Unlike some of the other titles in the Colloquial series( I've reviewed Colloquial Dutch ) I found myself working for hours and hours without progression beyond chapter two! However, what IS useful is that there are subtle differences in the grammar in the spoken language in Serbia and Croatia.......and this is probably the most important if you want a friendly reception while on holiday. In addition to not providing answers to the exercises, the main 'stories' which build your vocabulary, occasionally do not provide meanings to the new words, which doesn't help. They also have another 'soap opera' like story running through the book -'Ljubav naprica' or " love story" consisting of a whole page about a young Croatian couple and their friends.......asides from providing new vocabulary, the usefulness of which is somewhat debatable, that's really it.
And the plus side? Yes, there IS one! The free CD's are excellent, making it a good for value package.... The audio assistance means you can develop a reasonable accent, something which a basic phrasebook can't offer.....
My recommendation, for 'Holiday' Croatian? Get Lonely Planet's 'Eastern European' phrasebook for all the essentials and use the CD's from this series. Then go there, start beyond Chapter 2 and go back for more!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone got lazy, 6 Feb. 2003
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Language learner (Aberystwyth - Wales / Cymru) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Colloquial Croatian and Serbian: The Complete Course for Beginners. Book, CDs and Cassettes. (Colloquial Series) (Audio Cassette)
This could be a very good book for learning Croatian. The idea that each chapter consists of three dialogues concerning tourism, business and a soap opera is very good since it enables the learner to cope with different situations. On the whole, the grammar is presented in a clear way and after finishing the course the learner should have a good grasp of Croatian grammar. Still, somewhere along the line someone got lazy - either the author or the people at lay out.
-Of the three different dialouges only the first in each chapter (tourism) has got decent vocabulary tables. For the other two dialouges in each chapter you do get some words, but since they aren't arranged into tables it is much harder to read and learn them. Of course you can write your own vocabulary for each of them but it will take quite some time - Routledge are the ones who should have put down that additional time.
-Speaking of vocabulary, the general vocabulary at the end of the book is a bad joke. My estimate is that even less than half of the words in the book made it to the vocabulary. It's quite frustrating to do an exercise, find a word you don't know and then for the umpteen time have to realize than the author/Routledge didn't bother to include that word either in the vocabulary.
-The exercises are quite good, but now the laziness reaches extreme hights. Only about 20% of the answers to the exercises are included in the book! I've no idea why, in every other Colloquial book I've read all the answers are given.
-Word accent in Croatian is not predictable and for some few words the accent is marked. For most it is not.
To sum up, the lack of vocabulary tables after each dialouge, the much-too-short general vocabulary and the non-existent answers to the exercises hugely diminish the value of this book. It is sad that a book with such good potential should be destroyed because someone didn't bother to add the final touch. My advice to the author: look at other books in the Colloquial series, such as Colloquial Slovak or Colloquial Lithuanian and learn from them.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put this into practice and you'll shine!, 18 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
I have to say this is not a book for the casual learner. But then again, neither is the language itself! From a standing start, native English speakers may find the book a bit 'too much too quickly'. However, you must just accept the fact that the peoples of the former Yugoslavia just do not think the same way we do, so some of the language patterns can be very confusing. If you can accept that you are beginning from that startpoint, you can then follow the various lessons step-by-step, taking as long as necessary to absorb the course materials. I believe, from a personal point of view, that this is the best book currently available on the subject and that it has assisted me in developing my own language skills considerably. You won't finish it in a month; if you do you've not given it long enough. Give it a few months, (maybe longer) and THEN see the level you have reached! You won't believe the reaction you'll get from the people who know the difference; native speakers of Serbo-Croat!
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