Top critical review
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Nice cultural insights but not good for learning Tibetan
on 7 January 2014
Routledge's Colloquial series enjoys a good reputation for many European languages, but the courses for Asian languages are almost all of far lower quality. Colloquial Levantine Arabic, Colloquial Hindi, Colloquial Tamil, Colloquial Punjabi, Colloquial Vietnamese, Colloquial Urdu are all much shorter and more rudimentary than the average European language course. Unfortunately, Colloquial Tibetan is no exception.
There are some nice advantages to this course, such as the cultural insights. The problem is how little you learn. For most other Colloquial courses, the vocabulary you learn in the course is somewhere around 1400-1600 words. Many courses include over 2000 words (Colloquial Italian, Icelandic, Albanian, Czech, Russian, Spanish of Latin America and probably others as well). This course, in sharp contrast, doesn't even include 1000 words, and that's far too little for a course calling itself a "complete" language course.
So only half of the vocabulary found in other Colloquial courses. That's not good enough. I do wish Routledge would start taking Asian languages seriously, and understand that a course with a vocabulary below 1500 will never be an option for any serious learner as long as there are other courses available. The learner interested in Tibetan is fortunate, as there are several good Tibetan courses more than twice as extensive as this one.