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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tool for Someone Serious about Learning Vietnamese
I disagree with an earlier posted negative review of this material. I feel that this book and 2 CD set is excellent. I have searched for many books to help me learn to communicate with my wife's family in Vietnamese in my annual visit to Vietnam. This is by far the most useful. This material is not designed for the traveller who wants to learn a phrase or two...
Published on 12 Jan 1999

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agreed - do not buy
The critical review below is spot on. Apart from a cursory overview of the six tones, there is no systematic explanation of Vietnamese pronunciation whatever. I would have liked the tape to go through the sound of every Vietnamese vowel and consonant. But instead it just plunged straight into complicated dialogues from which you're expected to pick it all up...
Published on 26 July 1999


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tool for Someone Serious about Learning Vietnamese, 12 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I disagree with an earlier posted negative review of this material. I feel that this book and 2 CD set is excellent. I have searched for many books to help me learn to communicate with my wife's family in Vietnamese in my annual visit to Vietnam. This is by far the most useful. This material is not designed for the traveller who wants to learn a phrase or two. It is designed for someone who truly wishes to learn to communicate in Vietnamese. The book and CD force you to think and learn to listen in order to comprehend real conversational Vietnamese. In real life, Vietnamese people speak quickly. One will never learn to listen and speak this language unless you are given a strong push. That is what this material does. This book and CD set will make you work harder, but in the end will give you practical speaking and listening abilities. Expect to make a serious time investment in learning this language. As an additional comment, except for a fortunate few, learning any language likely requires real life experience coupled with this material. The material teaches terms and grammar from the north. This is the official version of the language of the country and is understood everywhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial Vietnamese CD, 7 May 2008
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This course is one of those rare things in that it actually teaches the language to a very good level. Two Cd's have a total of 17 lessons with Tone practise at the start of each lesson. Vietnamese has 6 tones which MUST be learned to a high level and this course gives plenty of practise. There are a large number of quite lengthy dialogs to study the language in some detail and role playing to get the student to hear,think,and speak in the language from the very start. Main difficulty here is hearing is easier than speaking as Vietnamese words are all spoken seperately with their own tone,so to western ears it seems "stilted" the tones are also very subtle and may not be heard at first listening so a degree of serious study is required here.

The recordings are all by native speakers so you hear the language as it is spoken in Vietnam. The course pushes the student to actually LEARN the language as opposed to just picking up a phrase or two so I think it would suit a serious linguist or someone who wants to have an in-depth knowledge of a difficult language. At the end of this course you should be able to read sections (if not all) of a vietnamese newspaper with some degree of accuracy.

My only critique concerns the CD's as they appear to have been recorded continuous so you can't pause or re-wind/fast forward to each lesson making finding you place annoying,hence the 4 stars. In closing this is an excellent intro to a difficult language and well worth the investment of time and effort.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agreed - do not buy, 26 July 1999
By A Customer
The critical review below is spot on. Apart from a cursory overview of the six tones, there is no systematic explanation of Vietnamese pronunciation whatever. I would have liked the tape to go through the sound of every Vietnamese vowel and consonant. But instead it just plunged straight into complicated dialogues from which you're expected to pick it all up.
....
By the way, I wouldn't tar the whole Routledge Colloquial series with the same brush. I've found the Italian and German volumes quite useful. Both of them start out with the kind of systematic exposition of pronunciation that's missing here. I've never actually learnt a language from one though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost...just what you need, 30 Sep 2005
Further to the other reviews here, I agree that there is not enough discussion of pronunciation. But I feel that since the tones are such a key area, and probably the main area of difficulty for english-speakers, then I understand why the book might concentrate on them. There are so many vowel combinations that I (too) really wish they could have been made more clear. But I tried to listen carefully to the CD and wrote down my own pronunciation key for the vowels. OK, you shouldn't have to write the missing parts of a book you have just bought. But it is just one point among many that could be made about this book, and since the other points are good, I can recommend it happily.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Vietnamese textbook, 4 Feb 2012
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VIetnamese language primers are comparatively thin on the ground. Fortunately this book is well up to the task. It feeds the vocabulary and grammar to you in bite sized chunks and then gives you some neat exercises to reinforce the learning. I was very happy with this purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Getting there at last!, 12 May 2010
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Susan Platt (Bath, Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the best book I have yet found for help in speaking Vietnamese - streets ahead of the 'Teach Yourself' by Dana Healy - because it is infinitely simpler and more practical; and I really need to learn Vietnamese! The accompanying cassette is less impressive; speech is too fast for the beginner; the best recorded material in this field is the disc accompanying the Berlitz phrasebook or another very accessible disc accompanying Perfect Recall (Vietnamese); both purchased through Amazon.
I make this point because although one can repeat the tones until blue in the face it is only when speaking a sentence that the music of the Vietnamese language becomes relevant.
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Colloquial Vietnamese: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
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