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Complete Babylonian: Teach Yourself Paperback – 27 Aug 2010
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"as you move through the book you become more and more excited about learning this language" (Amazon reviewer)
Discover a new and effective way to learn Babylonian.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Small gripes: the author takes a current rather trendy way of teaching entirely from 'authentic materials', so no English-Babylonian exercises. He makes the suggestion that the reader can if he wishes use the key to translate from English to Babylonian, but the key includes the English translation accompanied by the normalized Babylonian text that the student is trying to translate to. (No English-Babylonian vocabulary either, no doubt because of the lack of exercises, something that would have been a help.) So it will appeal less to 'hobby linguists' who like to produce ancient languages, and to those of us who believe that composition in a language is the best tool for deepening ones knowledge of a language.Read more ›
Martin Worthington's book however is targeted at exactly my type of learner and, so far, I have found it to be an easy to use introduction to Babylonian (a 'dialect' of Akkadian).
Some might find the limited content concerning cuneiform writing a disappointment but, I think he has taken the right approach for a beginner: get the basics of the language established using transliterated and normalised texts before delving into the world of cuneiform script itself.
I am very happy with this book.
There are three major strengths to this book in my opinion:
1. The explanations are not terse, as is common in most introductory books, and most points of grammar receive a decent discussion. I realise that those who have learned other inflected languages before might find the explanation of what cases are to be redundant, but I imagine you will be glad for this level of exposition when you reach the verbal system, which is the most difficult component of the language.
More importantly there is quite often an attempt to convey the "sense" of some grammatical construction, something I found wanting in other books, i.e. why would somebody choose this form instead of that one, the shade of meaning offered by choosing this construction over another, e.t.c. Other textbooks left me with the feeling that I was learning how to be a machine for converting Babylonian into English, rather than being able to fluidly read the language.
2. You learn three stages of the language simultaneously: Old, Middle, Standard (A literary language modelled after the two earlier stages, the spoken language at the time was Neo-Babylonian).Read more ›
- David Marcus 'A Manual of Akkadian' - this uses a kind of direct method, teaching grammatical points as they arise, so that the student ends up with a pointillistic impression of the grammar, with no clear overview. The explanation of the verbal system is desperately unhelpful. Furthermore you are forced to learn the cuneiform script, which involves memorising hundreds of signs, many of them polyvalent. I found the book unusable.
- Richard Caplice 'Introduction to Akkadian' - thorough, but so compressed as to be horribly indigestible. Here too you are forced to learn the cuneiform script. This book too, whilst maybe useful as a reference grammar, is unusable as a textbook for learning the language.
- John Huehnergard 'Grammar of Akkadian' - a very very thorough introduction to the language, introducing new grammatical points bit by bit, and introducing the cuneiform script gradually too. A beginner may find it overwhelming, and the grammatical explanations are written in a curiously convoluted way. The sentences for translation in the early chapters are mind-numbingly dull. It's an excellent book, but it's not fun. If you buy it, make sure you also buy the extra volume with the key to the exercises, otherwise you will struggle.
And now here comes Martin Worthington with 'Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian'. At last we have an intelligent, lucid, practical textbook. The language is taught entirely in transliteration, so that you can learn it thoroughly without having to do battle with the cuneiform script.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want to read ancient Babylonian and you don't happen to be 3,000 years old you may well need this book.Published 2 months ago by What an ace little game. The most intriguing fun I have had on my Kindle so far. Fun to play the bad guy (I mean bacteria/virus). No annoying ads,
If you know Arabic, then Babylonian uses the same word roots that all Semitic languages use - hence very easy to pick up. Read morePublished 7 months ago by ASIA HALEEM
A very thorough, well-structured book, with most interesting little snippets of information here and there, for example p. Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2013 by seimontadtecwyn
This book is badly written. There are some very poor expressions in this book that cause a lot of unnecessary ambiguity. Read morePublished on 23 July 2013 by Paul Curtis
A good book for all those interested in Babylonion. Well written and easy to follow. I would recommend this book.Published on 22 April 2013 by L. I. James
Martin Worthington's Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian is a very unusual book: it introduces you to Babylonian, the oldest Semitic language. Read morePublished on 14 Dec. 2011 by Lukianos
Okay, so I am only on chapter 8 but this is a fascinating book. At first I thought it would be silly to look at Bablyonian, then I found myself intrigued by its grammar and... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2011 by Oygen
As a victim of the reprints from the 19th century it was nice to get a nice clear modern approach.Published on 23 Dec. 2010 by S. Nicholson