Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots that is good, but you need another source, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: First Steps in Old English: An Easy to Follow Language Course for the Beginner (Paperback)
I bought this and the accompanying CD because I wanted to learn Old English, and there is much to praise in both the book and the CD. You do have to work out for yourself where things are and how they relate between the two, but that isn't onerous, and it is really important to be able to hear as well as see the words and texts. I haven't worked through all the sections yet but felt I needed to make a comment now, on reaching sections 4 and 5, about some discrepancies and confusions. This is when it is important to have an additional source to which to refer, to clarify anything that isn't clear (and occasionally there are things that are not) and to make sure that everything is actually correct. I struggled to understand the old English numbering system, and realised in the end that there are errors that should certainly have been picked up on by the editor, and which can send the student round in circles, trying to grasp the logic, when in fact it is simply an error. This came to light as I attempted the exercises, and found that however closely I followed Pollington's explanation, I could not arrive at the answer he gave for some of them! Once I decided that the explanation itself was in error, I could get on and succeed in the exercises. But I need another source to make sure I have the correct numbers (or grammatical construction - it isn't only one or two numbers that are wrong, unfortunately) and I am currently assessing the available sources to decide on one. So - there are errors that should most certainly have been eliminated at the editing stage, and that is a great shame because it throws doubt on all the rest, which is probably otherwise completely sound. It does illustrate the importance of having more than a single source of information, not only because you need to be sure you have correct information, not corrupted by errors of whatever kind, but also because another writer's approach to explanation can help very much. Getting the same information from two directions, in other words, can be very helpful indeed. I am not sorry I bought this book and CD, but I do realise that one source is not enough.
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