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on 17 June 2000
Having studied a number of African languages, I found that this Teach Yourself Course was one of the best available. It covers in detail the grammar of the Xhosa language through a number of dialogues and detailed explanations plus a few poems and songs.
The cassettes are invaluable too, especially when it comes to those difficult click sounds that occur in Xhosa and other Southern African languages.
All in all, it is a fast, fun and effective course and one that I could definately recommend to any potential Xhosa students!
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on 28 November 2004
This is another excellent language course from Teach Yourself. If you would like to learn how to speak, read and write this fascinating language then I can highly recommend this book. You cannot possibly learn a Bantu language without being taught a good deal of grammar, and this book treats that subject in a clear and precise way. The texts are interesting enough to make you want to read on, and are accompanied by interesting facts and photographs from real life.
Xhosa is one of South Africa's 11 official languages. Together with the closely related Zulu it is the most widely spoken native language of South Africa. It was also the language of President Mandela.
Like most languages south of the Sahara it is a Bantu language, which means (inter alia) that it has 15 noun classes and uses lexical tone to distinguish words.
Xhosa, and to a lesser degree Zulu, has borrowed some of the 'click sounds' that are characteristic of the neighbouring but unrelated Khoisan languages. These sounds are difficult to master, and in some cases even difficult for the non-native to distinguish (even if you are a linguist as I am), but they are very fascinating and make the languages that possess them highly expressive.
It is important to have the tape if you want to learn how to speak Xhosa. Especially as the book will only in a very few cases tell you which tones to use. This is the only serious flaw, but it should be remembered, that most language courses that deal with tone languages actually skip tone information in the books, so that is the standard way of doing it. I therefore give this book (with the tape!) 5 stars in spite of the lacking tonal information.
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on 1 July 2003
It's great! If you want to learn this graet language that book is for you. Well written, good coursebook. Every unit contains dialogue, vocabulary for everyday conversation, even idiomatic exspressions. Tha pack contains also two cassettes with pronunciation guide and dialogues from the book (of course with mother tongue speakers). So if you want to teach yourself this beautiful language you have to buy it. But remember that Xhosa is a tone langage so if you just want to speak a new language so maybe you should start from, for example, Teach Yourself Swahili from the same publisher (it's even better! ). And if you need to know Xhosa buy also Teach Yourself Zulu and you will find it very useful, because both, Zulu and Xhosa are Bantu languages so you will find many similarities.
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