Teach Yourself Swedish (Teach Yourself Books) Paperback – 1 Sep 1995
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|Paperback, 1 Sep 1995||
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About the Author
Vera Croghan started teaching Swedish at Aberdeen University straight after her second degree from Lund University, Sweden. After her marriage, she moved to Edinburgh where she gave private lessons and translated and interpreted for the Swedish Consul and businesses. She began teaching at the University of East Anglia when it opened in 1963 and taught there for 30 years. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book contains 18 lessons, each broken up into 8 parts: a dialogue, the vocabulary to the dialogue, a true or false test, things you need to know about grammar and culture, important words and expressions, language patterns, exercises, and further dialogues testing your comprehension.
The book is very easy to get through. You can go at your own pace, and you can also use the book as a grammar reference once you've advanced to a higher level. With this book, you're bound to advance quickly if you're serious about learning Swedish!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Swedish is a fantastic language that is a lot of fun to speak and is very easy and rewarding to learn for English speakers due to its similarity to our own language. Swedish is not a language that requires rote learning of verb tables because unlike French and Spanish, etc. verb conjugations are not complex. This book does not ask you to rote learn as some do (notably Hugo's which is even worse than this one). Spoken Swedish is impossible to learn in a complete vacuum due to the nuances of the *sing-song* pronunciation that makes the language fun and can only be learned from imitation / mockery (Once you start learning you will understand what I mean when I say mockery ... you turn up the pronunciation to make fun of the language and the Swedes you are talking to, and it is only then that you are pronouncing it close to correctly. This light mockery is also central to the Swedes sense of humour).
It would be impossible, in my opinion, to learn to speak fluent or even passable Swedish from this Teach Yourself book alone, and if someone out there has actually been able to achieve passable Swedish, he/she could have cut their learning time into a fraction with a different choice of book. This book may do okay if you are only wanting to ask for directions and order a beer, but again I believe that the Colloquial Swedish book and tape set are better for that purpose also. Colloquial Swedish treats the subject more seriously with the ultimate goal in mind of getting you through the tedious early stages of learning a language to proficient as quickly and painlessly as possible (but again, I would not recommend that book as the sole teaching aid either).
I agree with some of the reviewers who decry the 'modernisation' of the Teach Yourself series. It has resulted in a product, which, in many respects, is inferior to the original. I can recall how the Teach Yourself editions for German and Russian that I used in the 1980s were essentially grammar books, in which a different part of speech was covered in each chapter and was followed by a basic vocabulary and exercises to test the reader's translating skills. My only criticism of these books is that they made for dry reading and at times their rote work was excessive. With the new Teach Youself series- Croghan's "Teach Yourself Swedish" being a case in point- grammar takes second place to the Dialogues, making it necessary for the reader to turn to other books, like Hugo's and Viberg's, for a better organised and more thorough explanation of grammar. But, although the Dialogues seem contrived, they cover a wide variety of topics dealing with everday situations. I realise that I may never be able to converse in Swedish if caught in one these situations, but at least the book showed me how such a conversation would be carried out. Furthermore, the book is filled with fascinating tidbits of Swedish history, culture, customs, and cuisine. Here, then, are two reasons why I felt the book was worth the purchase. (I hope that the publishers of the Teach Yourself series will take note of the criticisms that their books have received by Amazon reviewers, and re-write some of them, incorporating the best of the old with the best of the new.)
With regard to the companion audio tapes, I think that some of the reviewers have been too harsh in quibbling about the strange accents and intonations of speakers appearing on the tapes. As a new student of a foreign language, I am not all that concerned about slight regional differences in accent. What I found more annoying on these tapes, as well as on other tapes in the Teach Yourself series, is that the speakers assume a normal rate of speaking from the very first lesson. This makes it difficult for the listener to make out the individual sounds of vowels and consonants. To their credit, the speakers on the Hugo tapes deliberately speak slowly for the first half of the book and avoid the slurring of words, which can confuse the listener. One other fault of the Croghan tapes is that the producers skimped on the final chapters and recorded only one Dialogue and one exercise for each of them.
I strongly recommend Prisma's dictionary for the beginning student of Swedish. There was scarcely a word that I wasn't able to find in this sturdy little book. Each definition includes colloquial phrases and expressions to help the reader grasp the various shades of meaning that a word can have. Though the size of its type is somewhat small, on the whole, this dictionary is equal in quality to the Cassell's and Collins dictionaries I have used for learning other languages.
There is little that I can add to what reviewers have already said about Viberg's grammar. All of them have praised it highly.
Although the audio tape included with this book is a good way to get a feel for how Swedish sounds, it is definitely not at a beginner level. The book does not have enough detailed information for someone who has no prior background in a Scandanavian language to be able to learn this language without lots of extra help (and having learned Spanish and Japanese previously, I found them both MUCH easier to learn than this book made learning Swedish).