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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2004
I'm currently on Chapter 7 of Colloquial Czech and have found it really useful so far. I'm very slapdash when it comes to learning languages and when I've tried learning langauges before I've started enthusiastically enough but got disheartened when I can't grasp the grammar. This book explains the grammar effectively and in in small manageable chunks, which has meant I've found it a lot easier to perservere with this element of the language. I've not struggled at all so far with the speed on the dialogue on the tapes/CDs (although maybe that will come later). This is definitely the best Czech language book I've found, so it's probably a bit harsh not to give it the full five stars. However, to make this a more perfect learning experience for me I would have liked to have more audio material that you can listen to in the car without having to reach for the book all the time. Also, this book also has the annoying habit of presenting a lot of new vocabulary mixed up in big paragraphs of English, rather than in lists, which I'd prefer as lists allow me to test myself.
The book is very texty and the going is tough, but the flipside of this is of course that there's an awful lot of stuff packed into it - so even after 7 chapters I'm feeling confident enough to take on all the everyday interactions that the Czech Republic throws at me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2011
I have the previous edition of this excellent book and since this new edition promised to be much extended and had increased in length from 384 to 480 pages, I decided to get an updated copy.
Unfortunately much of the increase in length is due to a different typeface having been used, making much the same content longer!
There are a couple of pages of extra material, not nearly a hundred, although here and there throughout there have been minor changes made, including an obvious effort to improve the presentation of the grammar which some reviewers criticised in the previous edition. For me this was not enough to warrant the purchase, and I returned it, ordering instead the same author's "Czech - An essential grammar."
(You really need to buy the audio CDs too in order to make best use of all the titles in this Colloquial Series, and the pack is the best way to buy this.)
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on 9 April 2015
Good introduction to the Czech language, and although a later edition has been published in 2010, this 1998 edition is perfectly adequate, and much of the content is the same as in the 2010 edition.

The content covers meeting people and being able to say who you are and being able to talk about your personal circumstances, hobbies, eating out, travel and transport, shopping etc.

I purchased this edition for revision purposes, but for anyone new to learning Czech, I would recommend purchasing the book + audio support, because listening and repeating is vitally important in learning any language.

The only alternative that I am aware of for English speakers beginning to learn Czech is 'Complete Czech' by David Short in the Teach yourself series published by Hodder and Stoughton. Again, this book can be purchased with audio support, and I would not recommend purchasing the book without purchasing the accompanying Cds, if you have not studied Czech previously.

The content of both books is similar and :-

"By the end of this course, you will be at Level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages: Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party." (quote from the introduction to the David Short book)

In my opinion, you have to do a lot of reading and research beyond either of these 2 books to feel confident of being at Level B2, and it is worth searching the internet for pen-pals or chat-pals who want to pratice English with you in return for you praticising your Czech. To be able to do this effectively though, you will need to have a basic grasp of the language, which both books will give you - when you have mastered the chapters on introductions and being able to talk about your personal circumstances, your family and your hobbies.

I am aware that both these books are now available as Kindle books are are a lot cheaper than the printed versions.

'Complete Czech' by David Short is currently available on Amazon at £18.19 with audio/video and 'Colloquial Czech' is £24.69 but the audio support has to be purchased separately. Although I have not used the kindle editions, I would recommend that you have a look at them as an alternative to the printed formats, simply because they appear to be better value for money.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2004
I found this book very useful, but I have also found some problems in the book.One of the problems with this book is that it shows various "cases" of words piece by piece, and not in a structured way like in a table. I am sure that the author deliberately chose this way, but I must say that for a beginner, it is extremely difficult to memorize piece by piece without any systematic way. So, I would recommend you buy some grammar book as well.Another problem is that this book shows the "cases" of words in a different order from how it is actually taught in the Czech Republic. More specifically, the order of the cases should be: 1. Nominative, 2. Genitive, 3. Dative, 4. Accusative, 5. Vocative, 6. Locative, and 7. Instrumental. All Czech people and foreign students learn the cases in this order so that they can memorize. So, it is not a good idea to change the order simply because some cases have similar forms (such as nominative and accusative).On the other hand, this book is very good because it shows real spoken Czech, not written one. I think you can use what you have learnt immediately in the real life.All in all, I can recommend this book to any beginner who wants to use the language in the real life, and not to read Czech literature.It is definitely better to buy a package with CD's and cassettes so that you can develop your listening skills if you do not live in the Czech Republic.
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on 28 December 2012
Got it for my boyfriend, as it is hard for me to explain to him the pronunciation of certain consonants / words for the start. Wanted it to have some nice overview / summary of grammatical principles (case, tense etc.) So if you are looking for something like that, get a different book, cos you wont find it here. When I compare it with other books where you have nearly a description of how to set your tongue in your mouth, this is very poor version. I think this book is unsuitable for self study. On contrary Dirty Czech (bought here on amazon) has great introduction in to pronunciation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2010
Well this is a good book to healp you learn czech assuming you also have a grammar, something that this books absolutely fails to accomplish. The grammar is actually somehow treated, but in a very bad/messy way.

I would recommend a Modern Czech Grammar, instead. This book is handy if you just plan to use it to learn idioms and build your own vocabulary.
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on 11 March 2014
Very well organized and up-to-date content. Interesting lessons for practical every day situations. Supplementary audio CD helps in understanding the pronounciation (must be purchased separately). This book is suitable for beginners, but it also provides challenges for more developed students since basically all the language aspects are presented.

Highly recommended!
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on 23 February 2014
Nice book. Explanations seems good but grammar not properly explained. Probably since English grammar is very different. Many examples and sentences/vocabulary to learn by heart. English is not my first language so the way grammar was explained did not help. But for an English speaker probably one of the best books available.
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on 19 April 2015
A must for any expat living in Czechia
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on 29 April 2015
love it
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Czech: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars)
Czech: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars) by James Naughton (Paperback - 1 Feb. 2005)


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