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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very good
It's fun to learn Icelandic, because of its multifunctionality: even if the opening of the present Icelandic society to you may seem insignificant (with 290,000 speakers a very small language), you can also learn it for reading the medieval sripts of the Saga's and Edda's in their original form. And if you just enjoy learning languages, Icelandic may just be the step-up...
Published on 9 Nov. 2003 by JR

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle version I bought was unreadable in parts - if you buy it, check it carefully!
This is a criticism of the very poor production quality of the Kindle version which I bought in April 2012 and have just returned. I hope they will have revised it by the time you read this, but if you do buy it you should immediately have a good look through the first 3 chapters to make sure everything is readable.

I'd already bought the audio, and decided the...
Published on 22 April 2012 by Mike Taylor


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very good, 9 Nov. 2003
By 
JR (the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
It's fun to learn Icelandic, because of its multifunctionality: even if the opening of the present Icelandic society to you may seem insignificant (with 290,000 speakers a very small language), you can also learn it for reading the medieval sripts of the Saga's and Edda's in their original form. And if you just enjoy learning languages, Icelandic may just be the step-up to Latin and Greek, also languages with plentiful inflections.
This book is very very cool for self-studying Icelandic, whatever your reason to learn this most beautiful language. The book is divided in 16 lessons, gradually introducing you to new aspects of language, not found in English. The environment is amazingly fun, Daisy Neijmann did an honourable job, finding press-cuttings and other helpful items to have you "playing" with the language, when doing exercises (with full key!). There are also Icelandic texts here and there, which you can translate, if you want, because the correct translation is given in the back. The texts and exercises almost always have something to with Iceland.
Icelandic is hard to learn, especially when you are not familiar to terms like "subject", "dative" and "article". Lucky for you, Daisy has included a full list with all those terms, so you'll be brushing up your English as well!
The separately sold cd set, is not essential, but makes the pronunciation easier and with it, you can create a moment of being totally snow-bound by the Icelandic language, which, above all, is a good thing to become more or less fluent!
Buy this, and you can look forward to knowing a fairly high amount of Icelandic, and if worked consequently and eager, already in 3 months!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go for it, 14 May 2002
By 
Mr. B. M. Abel "bearliners" (Langley, Berks, Angleterre) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
It is known that Icelandic has a lot of grammar. here is finally a book that is really fun to use, extremelly well done, leads you from level 0 all the way up to a decent level of proficency,and all this without having to burn the midnight oil over declension cases, or the proper way to use the dual voice, and many others grammatical nightmares. The book comes with a set of 2 tapes. Buy the whole package. It is absolutely worth it. Not only for mastering these tricky sounds in icelandic but also because there are some orals exercises as well.
Everybody in Iceland speak perfect English, so why bother ??? Yes, Icelandic is far from being widely spoken, and it's difficulty could be too much of a burden to even bother with it. But, not only it's a lovely language, but it is also the latin of the north, and its knowledge opens access to all the sagas, and a lot of great writers as well. Iceland is the country in Europe where people read the most..By learning it, you will be mastering the language our viking ancesters were using, as Icelandic has not changed since the VIII century...
Talaršu íslensku? Ekki ennŽá...so go for it...it's never to late to learn
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, well structured, easy to follow, CDs available too, 7 Mar. 2003
By 
Androo (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
.
I've been to Iceland a couple of times and been ashamed to find that the language is so alien that barely a single word of it filters through. I'm going again soon and I've decided I want to at least understand a little of what I hear and read, even though "talaršu ensku?" (do you speak English) is a question you hardly need ask in Iceland. Learning a little of the language is all part of the fun!
Having tried and discarded the impenetrable "Teach Yourself" book, I came across this, and find it much more approachable.
I highly recommend getting the tape/CD that goes with this book. It really helps you understand how words sound when they are strung together in phrases and sentences. You would never get close to it simply by reading since lots of sounds (or whole words) are omitted in speech. Icelandic is very rhythmic. Without the tape/CD, it would be much less enjoyable.
Thankfully, the book starts out very simply, with greetings, pleasantries, "my name is" etc. The progression is well judged, so you don't quickly feel out of your depth, and it's satisfying to realise that the things you learn early in the book make sense later on. There are exercises to do, here and there, if you want.
I'd definitely recommend this to beginners who are more interested in starting to understand day to day Icelandic than studying Icelandic grammar. It doesn't give you lists of conjugations and declensions to learn, but gradually and gently introduces new elements of the language so that you don't feel overwhelmed, and genuinely feels like an aid rather than a hindrance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle version I bought was unreadable in parts - if you buy it, check it carefully!, 22 April 2012
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
This is a criticism of the very poor production quality of the Kindle version which I bought in April 2012 and have just returned. I hope they will have revised it by the time you read this, but if you do buy it you should immediately have a good look through the first 3 chapters to make sure everything is readable.

I'd already bought the audio, and decided the Kindle version would be useful to use while commuting on the Tube. But any content which was originally laid out in columns or tables is in a mess. Sometimes everything has ended up in one vertical line, in other cases the second column seems to have disappeared completely (as in the list of countries in Chapter 2 or 3).

Sometimes (when there are more than 2 columns?) they have left the table in the form of an image - for example, the list of greetings in Chapter 1 - but the image quality is so low that even when you open and zoom the image, the words are unreadable.

I'd have been disappointed in the production quality it it had been free - but Amazon are charging 11 quid for this and I would say it's unusable!

This is no criticism of the content of this course - it looks good as far as I've pursued it, and I plan to buy the paperback version as a replacement.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent package., 20 Sept. 2007
By 
L. HALLS (North London, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I'll begin with a general conclusion to start : this book deserves 5 stars. It is, simply, the best book you can buy for Icelandic, as far as content, practicality and overall result go, and this is based on having bought "Teach Yourself Icelandic" and having used "Learning Icelandic" during university classes.

Specifically, as I imagine is the case for all the books in the Colloquial range, the dialogues from the first chapter are not designed to simply equip you with, "Hello, my name is..." which, although useful, is in fact not something you tend to say a lot anywhere you go. Instead, they start with high level language (limited to basic situations) and explain it bit by bit in the rest of the chapter, amidst other useful exercises and diagrams. This can be daunting to start off with, but the point is this : with a hard language like Icelandic, you simply need to accept that until much later on you're not going to always understand the difference between "Reykjavik" and "Reykjavikur", and so learning to say it in set phrases as shown in the dialogue is an extremely effective way of learning it. It is how we learn language as infants; we are not explained grammar at 2 years old, we simply repeat it. This is why this book is so good, simply. You learn to speak high level Icelandic straight away without needing it all explained until you're ready. However, when you are indeed ready it explains all the complex inflections extremely well.

By the end of this book, provided you have the cassette, you will be at an extremely high standard of Icelandic, and be able to read and write your own complex thoughts instead of just repeating set phrases. If you're in learning Icelandic for the long haul, buy this. It's worth every penny and you'll be amazed at how much you learn.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressive and enjoyable, 3 Mar. 2003
By 
Androo (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I’ve been to Iceland a couple of times and been ashamed to find that the language is so alien that barely a single word of it filters through. I’m going again soon and I’ve decided I want to at least understand a little of what I hear and read, even though “talaršu ensku?” (do you speak English) is a question you hardly need ask in Iceland. Learning a little of the language is all part of the fun!
Having tried and discarded the impenetrable “Teach Yourself” book, I came across this, and find it much more approachable.
I highly recommend getting the tape/CD that goes with this book. It really helps you understand how words sound when they are strung together in phrases and sentences. And it helps you get a handle on the subtleties of pronunciation. Without the tape/CD, it would be much less enjoyable.
Thankfully, the book starts out very simply, with greetings, pleasantries, “my name is” etc. The progression is well judged, so you don’t quickly feel out of your depth, and it’s satisfying to realise that the things you learn early in the book make sense later on. There are exercises to do, here and there, if you want.
I’d definitely recommend this to beginners who are more interested in starting to understand day to day Icelandic than studying Icelandic grammar. It doesn’t give you lists of conjugations and declensions to learn, but gradually and gently introduces new elements of the language so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, and genuinely feels like an aid rather than a hindrance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book, and long overdue, 17 Nov. 2009
I started dabbling with Icelandic nearly 10 years ago, and bought the Teach yourself Icelandic book that was on the market then. The book was written in 1961, and from page one it was all grammar, grammar and more grammar. It reminded me of Latin lessons back in the old days, with children reciting in class all the verb declensions and so on.

This book is what one would expect of a language learning aid in the 21st century - very hands-on, with plenty of spoken material on the CDs, relevant vocabulary and situations and lots of interesting cultural pointers about modern Iceland and its history, and especially, as the name suggests, plenty of up to the minute modern vocabulary and expressions relevant to the language as spoken today.

I highly recommend this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good and helpful overall, 17 April 2006
By 
Ms. S. M. Kerr (wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I bought this as my first step to learning icelandic. I was not disappointed, though i soon realised how much of a task i had taken on!

It starts off describing to you the different vowel sounds and various pronunciations, which is very helpful. I found listening to a cd from another textbook (i couldnt obtain the cd which matches this book unfortunately) made the pronunciation learning much easier, i would recommend buying the accompanying cd.

It's main beneficial feature, i found, is a simple one, and not found in all other 'colloquial' series language books. It is that up until about two thirds of the way through the book (by which point you are really getting to grips more) the dialogues have a direct english 'translation' to accompany them. This was valuable to me when first stumbling around the language, as it helped me to learn phrases easier, and to establish/identify structures better.

The exercises are good too, my only criticism is that they could be a bit more varied or fun! The odd crossword or two wouldnt have gone amiss! Really though, the exercises do fit very well with the learning curve you'll experience in the book, and don't overwhelm the reader. It also has a full answer key at the back of the book so you can easily check your answers.

Throughout the book, it also has readings, which have no translation beneath. Instead they are at the back of the book to encourage the learner to work at the meaning a bit more. This, having been combined with the help provided by the dialogue translations everywhere else, helps the learner a great deal.

It leaves the complicated grammatical parts until a safe point in the book, where you're relatively comfortable ( if you've worked hard enough!) with the basics of the language. This part really is quite difficult but the book again provides a lot for the learner. My only criticism of this complex grammatical part of the book, is that there really should be more explanation. I find that the book tends to tell you something, but not give an alternative way of explanation so that if you can't follow the first explanation, you have something else to rely on. The back of the book, thankfully, includes a full grammar key which was invaluable which goes some way to making up for the occasional lack of explanation.I would advise anyone learning Icelandic that they should have several books at their disposal to aid them over the particularly tricky area of noun and adjective declensions! Once you've mastered them, you wonder why you found it so hard, but initially, i needed a lot of reassurance that i was using the correct rules. I thought also that the subject of noun declension in particular could have included a lot more exercises, because i tended to be going over the same exercises, and instead of learning the patterns i was really just learning it by rote! obviously if you move on from the initial section on declension, you'll be practising it constantly anyway, because it's part of normal usage in more advanced icelandic.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone starting out learning Icelandic, in conjunction with a few other books. I noticed that this book does not always point out the different in formal/informal vocabulary. for example, there are informal words for mother/father wife/husband etc and this book tends to use the formal, which may make you sound a bit odd if speaking to a native Icelander. The same goes for the greetings, i have learned from internet resources and other textbooks, the slight differences in certain greetings used between young and older people, though this is not as pronounced as it is in the english language for example.

The dictionary at the back of the book is english-icelandic and icelandic-english, making navigating the vocab nice and easy, especially at first, though an internet dictionary or (pricey as they are) a decent normal dictionary is definitely a must. I bought a small dictionary to go with the textbook and it is quite outdated, but it was so cheap and generally handy that i can't quarrel with it! After all dialogues there is a small vocab section which is also very helpful, and as you progress, the vocab tells you more about the grammatical aspects of the words (getting technical for a moment, for example it will tell what case the verbs govern, anyone who has studied german will remember these cases, nominative, dative, accusative and gentitive)

All of this is done clearly and if you are in any doubt, the dictionary at the back can confirm things like verb cases and noun genders.

So, to sum up, what can you expect from this book?

Well, from my experience, you will learn the basics, without being overwhelmed, progress well to advanced understanding and conversation, also learn a few things about icelandic culture, and eventually feel comfortable speaking the language and hopefully, in the midst of all the study, have a bit of fun while you're at it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about perfect, 7 Oct. 2003
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This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
A thoroughly enjoyable book. Excellent presentation - the book is very neat and evidently a lot of thought has gone into the layout. The examples are interesting, useful and plausible for everyday use, while the learning curve is just right.
The approach taken is to present the language as it is used every day in a variety of situations, and to to steadily introduce new aspects of grammar as you proceed through the book, eventually ending up with some very sophisticated constructions. What might be considered 'advanced' grammar is introduced fairly early on, but this is a good thing as you're going to come up against it sooner or later, so it may as well be sooner!
Icelandic is a fairly complicated language, but this book makes approaching it enjoyable and less daunting than tackling declension lists or verb tables. This doesn't mean that the book is light on details - the book is very thorough and all point of grammar and syntax are covered in a concise and informative way. At no point is the course hard to follow or unclear.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars useless, 5 July 2013
By 
Furio (Genova - Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
This is one of the worst languange handbooks I have come accross in my rather long life of learner of foreign languages.

I am not sure which language-tuition theory the author followed in compiling it but the assets of this book begin and end with its nice cover.
Dialogues are overlong with heaps of non essential vocabulary (every language has vocabulary core that should be used and given priority to in teaching beginners); explanations are long and unclear; excercises few and useless.

The accompanying CDs are even worse.
- There are no good excercises to master the basic sounds.
- The speakers use a normal rate of speech from the beginning making it very difficult for the untrained ear to catch the sounds that are different from English.
- There is no repetition drill (with pauses to allow the learner to speak in turn): this is not a problem with cassettes which can be stopped and rewound quickly but it is a problem with CDs.
- CD tracks do not allow the user to skip the introductions which obviously grow old after the first few listenings.

There are not many tools to learn Modern Icelandic but if you cannot found any other than this just type "icelandiconline" on your browser:
an Icelandic public body has prepared an online course for beginners which may not be perfect as it is short on grammar explanations but is very user-friendly and is available entirely for FREE (it requires the usual mail/password registration but you will not receive any spam).
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