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Teach Yourself Swedish 3ED TYPB Paperback – 2 Apr 1992
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Top customer reviews
Comprises two parts, namely, the Swedish Sound System and Grammar, the latter being divided into twenty-five progressive chapters.
Although designed primarily for those who wish to acquire a knowledge of the language by private study, this book will be of value to all students. There is explicit instruction on even minor points; special attention is devoted to pronunciation, together with full explanations of grammar and syntax. Each chapter contains exercises, a key to which is provided at the back of the book, together with a basic two-way vocabulary and an alphabetical index of contents. Too rapid progress through the book ought not to be attempted by the new student, as it would lead only to disappointment. Rather, constant revision is recommended, preferably supplemented by experiencing the language spoken by natives or by listening in to Swedish broadcasts. Anyone who masters the contents of the book within six months has every reason to be proud of his achievement, and will have acquired a thorough grounding in the language.
"The difficult Swedish sound system is dealt with scientifically, with great thoroughness, and there is an equally exhaustive presentation of the grammar ... certainly an outstanding work."
"The Higher Education Journal"
First published in 1947 by the English Universities Press, with numerous subsequent revisions and reprints, this book is currently out of print.
Needs to be backed up by conversation and visits to Sweden (or at least Swedish communities).
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Instead of basing the course on a series of chapters dealing with some particular part of day-to-day life (ordering in a restaurant, going to the doctor, asking directions) like contemporary Teach Yourself courses, McClean has twenty-three chapters each dedicated to a grammatical category. In chapters one and two, he gives you the entire world of Swedish noun paradigms. There are sentences for translation after each long flood of conjugations and declensions, but no dialogues
It is pretty obvious that with a course like this on its own, you'll never get beyond a passive reading command of Swedish. For learning conversational Swedish, I'd recommend Gladis Hirt's Swedish: An Elementary Grammar-Reader as your main introductory textbook. Stay far away from the latest incarnation of TY's Swedish, which goes to the opposite extreme from old TY courses, and gives you tonnes of idiomatic dialogue with little grammar to help you make your own sentences.
But even if it is no good as a primary textbook, McClean's old course does tell you a lot about the language that you are not likely to see in friendlier textbooks. For example, he gives the old plural endings for Swedish verbs, now archaic but likely to occasionally be encountered in literary texts. There are a number of Swedish proverbs and idioms here, enabling the student to better understand stock components of colloquial speech. Some of the translation exercises, especially those from English into Swedish, are quite rigorous and beneficial, though there is no answer key and one would need to ask a native speaker for corrections.
I disagree with another reviewer who praises the chapter on pronunciation. True, this is enormously detailed (35 pages), but nowadays there are so many Swedish pronunciation cassettes and CDs out there that one no longer has to work through a printed phonetic transcription like in these old courses. Also, it gives no information at all about the pronunciation of Finland Swedish, which this student at Helsingfors Universitet would have liked.