on 11 October 2011
This is a silly book, its main virtue being it is the only Serbian grammar readily available in English. It has been extremely badly edited, if it has been at all, with Latin script versions of Cyrillic suddenly turning into Cyrillic before the end of the sentence. There are many, more obvious, English typos. She lays out what she says are the patterns of declension for nouns, then follows this by an example of how the (singular) cases are used. The examples employ a noun that does not conform to any of the model declensions. In explaining the Nominative case, she explains that the interrogative for What? (Shta?) is invariable, but decides that she should right there illustrate full declensions for other declinable interrogatives. (There is no way to trace this in the Contents or Index). This, and many other instances, indicate that her organising principle seems to be, write down what occurs to you while writing.
Her overview of how the Serbian verbal system works will only be intelligible to someone who is already familiar with it, and even then it is hardly easy to follow. She is discussing the "present tense" and her examples suddenly start showing a "past" tense, and one wonders why. It is a truly bad book.
on 21 September 2006
Of all the books about the Serbian language I own (including some Serbian text-books), this is probably both the most useful and the most boring. Boring because it's 300 pages of grammar (hardly a 'pick-up-and-read' book), but it's the most useful for the same reason. It covers everything you could ever want to know about Serbian grammar, with many, many examples in both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. Don't buy this as your only book for learning Serbian, but alongside "Introduction to the Croatian and Serbian Language" (Magner) or "Teach Yourself Serbian" (Ribnikar / Norris) it's indispensable.
on 11 December 2009
There aren't many English-language Serbian grammars around, so it's good to find this one. Every Serbian word is given in both cirilica and latinica, an editorial decision which however increases the visual complexity of the page layout as well as generating some odd variations in font size. The author seems not quite sure who she is writing for: someone who needs to have "verb", "pronoun" and other grammatical terms defined (as they are)? If that is the reader's starting point, then he or she is unlikely to find it easy to absorb the rest of the text. Although subtitled "an essential grammar", the general principles (e.g. of the standard declensions of nouns and conjugations of verbs) are too often submerged in a wealth of detail. Nevertheless, you will probably find what you need if you have the patience to look for it.
on 7 January 2009
I am very pleased that I bought this book.
It has been very useful to me while learning Serbian and has provided me with explanations of points of grammar that my Serbian teacher and other learning materials could not.
Serbian grammar is complex but this book gives clear descriptions, easily understood explanations and lots of illustrative examples.
If you are serious about learning Serbian, buy this book as a useful reference to complement a teach yourself or formal language course.