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on 27 July 2013
First let me say that I'm not new to learning foreign languages, and I've past experience of learning Russian, Spanish and Italian through book and CD courses. I have Serbian in-laws and so was keen to learn Serbian. I began (thankfully) with the Teach Yourself Serbian course - very similar in scope, size and price to this Colloquial course. I bought this Colloquial course as a follow-up support for the TY course.

I'm very glad I studied the Teach Yourself course first: it's much more logically laid out, with clearer explanations of the (difficult) grammar which the beginner must grapple with in Serbian, and the vocabulary was much better taught, more realistic than the some of the bizarre esoteric vocabulary introduced quite early on the Colloquial course. For example, in the Colloquial course, within the first few lessons, you are taught an archaic word for suitcase (now rarely used), and the words for gunpowder and barrel - please! Worse, there are many words introduced which are not even defined at all, while some of the definition lists contain words which aren't even in the passages - so it appears that the reading passages have been altered without any proper proof reading altering the corresponding vocab lists. Yes, you can look up the words in a dictionary (as one slightly petulant reviewer has pointed out here), but surely a competent beginners' book would provide this. The TY course manages to without difficulty. There are misspelled words, and words wrongly defined for the context, eg. ujna instead of tetka - two different sorts of aunt - but the table provided on page 147 mixes these two up, very confusing. A diagram on another page with a signpost illustrating 'left, right, backwards, forwards' in Serbian manages to even get left and right the wrong way around!

The Colloquial course is not all bad - the 'Ekipa' section at the end of each chapter, introducing everyday conversation between a group of friends is a great idea, just disappointing at intervals because of the poor execution described above.

So I recommend you start NOT with this course, but perhaps get it after another course, just to get more listening/vocab exercise - though just be wary of the errors and glitches. Sadly, many of the passages in the Colloquial book do not have corresponding audio on the CD - but it's still usable for secondary practice.
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on 26 February 2012
I had a limited time in which to find out the essential structure and basis of the language. I like the tone of this book and its examples but there are features which make it very difficult to use.

1. I would like clear lists and tables of things like the first person and infinitive of verbs. I have created my own but had to guess some of the words because they did not appear in the vocabulary: a pity when the book says that it is important to know both parts of verbs.
2. If I were not a language teacher I would not have understood some technical terms like the partitive genitive.
3. It is a nightmare trying to work out which of the passages are recorded and which are translated so that I can listen to a series of them as revision. They need to be labelled more clearly, with page numbers and titles which correspond with each other and translations positioned where they can be found quickly.
4. There are a few little mistakes, like conversations attributed to the wrong person in the recording, but they are not too misleading.
5. It is very difficult trying to work in both a modified Roman alphabet and the Serbian version of the Cyrillic alphabet from the beginning. Grammar notes should be displayed in the Roman alphabet so that essential points can be grasped without the additional problem of making possible mistakes with the actual letters.

All in all, I was rather disappointed that the course was so hard to use. i could only face opening it when I had a lot of time and energy to spare. I expected to find the language a challenge and I was looking forward to that, but the layout and design of the course did not help me.

I have taken the time to write this review because I think it is basically a good course and if these problems were ironed out it would be superb.
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on 8 December 2011
Having read the other reviews, I feel I must defend what is a pretty good course. For a start, show some gumption and get a dictionary. No beginner should rely totally on one textbook. Secondly, as a beginner do you just want to order in a cafe or do you want to equip yourself to explore more widely ? Either is fine, but this course caters for the latter option, and it is not fair to criticise it for its ambition. There is plenty of audio, varied texts ( you could ignore those at the close of each chapter, returning to them later ), and it is interesting. Too many courses are dull, pitch at pondlife level, and assume we are pond creatures. I know I'm taking a stern line, but one other review just whinged.
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on 11 November 2010
The Amazon site called it 'the complete course' when it is only the CDs. On their own the CDs are useless. They may possibly be useful with the book but there was nothing in the content of these CDs to spur me on to buying the book. Even in the early chapters, some of the phrases that we are asked to repeat are far too long and complicated for a beginner. This is especially true for those who, by buying such a course, can be assumed to be self taught.
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on 25 April 2010
This course is actually pretty good in most respects. But be warned! Of the 20 lessons, 8 of them do not have the lead dialogue on the recording. That's pretty bad for any language course but for a language with irregular stress patterns and differing vowels lengths it's a major disaster for the learner.
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on 14 December 2010
Talk about in at the deep end. Very good but hard work and not for beginners. Much of the serbian heard is never explained, spelled nor translated. It is a pity that the slightly patronising englishman cannot intonate the serbian names correctly. His voice tends to teach learners the wrong way to say words, e.g. Knez Mihailova.
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