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Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebook Paperback – 18 Jul 2008
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National Geographic Traveler, September 2006
'Lonely Planet Phrasebooks. Portable, pocket-size, cheap, and available for almost any country you might want to visit...'
National Geographic Traveler, September 2006 'Lonely Planet Phrasebooks. Portable, pocket-size, cheap, and available for almost any country you might want to visit...'
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As one of the other reviewers of this book pointed out, the special lonely planet transliteration is not used on road signs and wont be understood by natives. The Pashto chapter is nearly useless because it is spoken in AFGHANISTAN, a country every western government strongly advises travel to. So unless you're a war journalist for The Sunday Times, that particular chapter isn't necessary.
The book layout is boring and every chapter's colour scheme is a depressing shade of blue-green. Hardly reflecting the beauty and newfound modernity of many of the central Asian nations. All in all a very bad if not the worst phrasebook on sale from Lonely Planet, which is unfortunate as there are no other Central Asian phrasebooks
Firstly, a lot of useful basic phrases are missing from the book. Being able to ask complex questions about your hotel room are all well and good, but not giving you simple building blocks such as "Why?" is inexcusable.
Secondly, the book has only the English phrase and a transliterated version. The absence of the Cyrillic text for the phrase is incredibly frustrating as no native speaker can read the transliterated phrase. Hence, you will struggle to communicate until your pronuniciation improves. If they had included the Cyrillic for the phrase then you could just point to it and the native speaker can read it and understand you, and also they can correct your pronunication immediately so that you learn quicker.
Lonely Planet would do well to look at their other phrasebooks (such as the Mongolia phrasebook) to see how to improve this book.
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1) travelers in the central Asian parts of the old USSR, and
2) language buffs.
The languages covered, in this very limited format (it's a small book, 240 pages or so) are:
along with an array of "other" languages, about 10 of them.
Pashto and Tajik are related to Farsi, the others (of the group numbered), are in the Turkic group, and are rather similar to each other.
It's the usual phrasebook stuff, with well-written but very brief introductions to each language, a bit of pronunciation, no grammar, for the most part. There's a lot of cultural information here, which makes it good "armchair" reading, for those are interested in such things. How useful it would be to a tourist or business traveler, I don't know.
There's a later edition of this book available. I haven't seen that.