HOW TO SPEAK,READ & WRITE PERS: Complete Course with 3 Cassettes Paperback – 1 Mar 2003
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How to speak, Read and Write Persian (FARSI) is a practical, quick and convenient method to learning the language of ninety million people. Whether one is planning to visit Iran, Afghanistan or Tajikestan, has friends who speak the language or is interested in the Persian language's rich literature, this book will help you. The course is divided into twenty simple, clear and concise lessons, which include all aspects of the spoken and written language. Grammar, pronunciation, spelling and helpful phrases are covered. How to Speak, Read and Write Persian can be used effectively as a self-teacher or as a textbook. An answer key is included in the back for those learning independently. How to speak, read and write Persian includes: 2,6000 word Persian-English dictionary; 3 ninety-minute audio-cassettes for pronunciation read by native speakers. No prior knowledge of Persian is necessary.
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I have thus rated Amuzegar's book 1 star for the beginner, but for a student who already has a solid working base in Farsi, I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. I recommend going to easypersian dot com as it's one of the best methods available, and all for free, to learn Persian. After doing maybe 50 lessons there, you'll appreciate certain qualities of "How to Speak...Persian" that you wouldn't have prior. As a beginning student I felt I got a lot out of "Teach Yourself Modern Persian" by John Mace, the 1960s edition--however, it is literary-based, and a lot of the vocabulary is archaic. The new edition by Farzad seems okay, but I haven't used it enough to recommend it. Book 1 and the CDs of "Contemporary Spoken Persian" is a good set for the beginner, learning the spoken word (and it's not written in the Persian alphabet), but it's horribly overpriced, too short, and is in great need of an extensive revision. Routledge's "Colloquial Persian" might be a good set to check out as well, but I do not own it. None of these resources are "grade-A, excellent" (except for the easypersian website--very commendable.), but with a lot of work you'll succeed. Easypersian dot com is always the beginner's best bet!
If a person must buy this book, then I recommend that s/he first familiarize her/himself with the Arabic script on pages 11 and 12; learn how to read and write them, individually and connected together. Then find an article in a book or magazine and write out the English words phonetically with the Perso-Arabic script. This really helps you to sound out the letters and know them intimately. Once ready, turn to page 23 and learn the "personal pronouns" such as "man = I", "mA = us", "shomA = you", etc. Turn to page 24 and learn the possessive adjectives and learn how they work, "-am = my", "-shAn = their", etc. Then turn to Lesson 3 (dars-e se) and on page 29 (safhe bist-o-noh) learn the verb "To be = Budan (boodan)" and pay close attention to the suffixes (the syllable at the end of the verb): "hast(am) = I am", "hast(i) = you are", nabud (no suffix) = he/she wasn't", "bud(and) = they were", etc. These suffixes will tell you whether the verb is referring to 1st person, 2nd person, and third person (singular and plural). Do any of the chapter exercises and learn the vocabulary and greetings to help you along. Then just skip to the chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Chapters 8, 9, and 10 discuss present, past, and future verb tenses; 11 compound verbs, the use of the ezafe "ye," and interrogatives; and 12 the use definite suffix rA, colloquial contraction/elision, and prepositions. Once comfortable, skip back and all the rest will make more sense. Otherwise, you'll just cram word lists and dialogues in your head and still not know how to speak to Persians (plus, you're likely to forget the lists, etc anyhow!). I don't know if the author intended an "assimilation" into Farsi using the first chapters' dialogues, but it clearly didn't work for me.
The most useful feature of the book is the colloquial (spoken) Farsi learned through it, although at times it's not colloquial enough and its explanations are incomplete. On the other hand, as a beginning student I continually questioned the relevance of a "colloquial" and "written" Farsi. Little did I realize that Farsi is not spoken as it is written; thus the student will need to learn both to get a complete education in Farsi. For example,the long vowel-A (Alef) is often colloquially pronounced as "oo" (as in "soup") and also the long-vowel "o" (as in the first 'o' in "motor"). "IrAni" becomes "Irooni" and the same for khAne, which is "khoone". The Farsi word for "mother is "mAdar" and becomes "modar". Similar changes in vowels are made throughout the language in verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. The book doesn't explain this until chapter 12. Also, maybe more importantly, verbs are almost always contracted to a simpler form in the present tenses. Although this is touched upon at times in chapters prior to 12, the author would have been wiser to add the colloquial version of each verb in the word lists in chapter 8 and thereafter, not waiting until 12 for discussion.
I'm glad I have the book and cassettes now that I'm passed the beginner's level, but I urge the authors to do some major revision.
However, it is completely overpriced. The quality of the edition and the print are dubious & the amount of information is relatively limited. On the other hand the quality of the recordings leaves a lot to be desired: terrible sound, flawed english,and in the end nothing more than a man reading whatever is written on the book, as you literally hear him turning the pages.
Considering it costs some $70 dollars and I paid half for a second hand copy, I strongly recommend to avoid this book. I still can not understand where the price comes from, but it is absolutely unjustified.
Extremely overpriced, very dissappointing.