36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Provides easy access to the language, but treat it as an aid,
This review is from: The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners (Penguin Handbooks) (Paperback)
I am one those people who can kinda of speak Russian by having a Russian parent but who never studied Russian, makes plenty of mistakes, can't really read and don't really understand the workings of the language (so im pretty far from the perfect Pushkin scholar). I bought this book in the hope of adding a rigerous element to my understanding.
I thought this book was absoloutely brilliant for my needs. It quickly and easily guides you into a stage where you comfortably read new words (even if you don't understand them). Secondly this book introduces words and grammer in a way that they are actually used. As someone who is comfortable in domestic and mundane conversation i found the corner stones of my own vocabulary brought up and dissected within the first few chapters. In answer to one of the above criticsms about it being heavy on grammer, to be honest if you want to learn to speak Russian rather than survive a holiday, grammer is unavoidable its just the way Russian is. If its too hard take it slowly but its the highly inflexive element of the language that adds vibrancy and colour to its usage.
But as a word of caution when using this book don't get overly bogged down in the gritty detail of the grammer. Learn the common rules and say it out loud so that you can get the general gist of how a case should sounds. Arm yourself with ability to just use the common rules nad try and speak and listen (rent films, use TV and Radio on the internet etc). You will make many mistakes but it makes the giant of a language manageable and enjoyable,besides making mistakes is just a different way of learning. In summary use this book as a reference and an aid in conjunction with other ways of learning, do not use it as a bible where you obey every word.