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on 11 April 2006
I have managed to learn some Estonian from this course, but there are some really serious flaws which make the course extremely difficult, confusing and frustrating to use.
The major difficulty is with the descriptions of the grammar, which are often either unclear, misleading or even quite wrong. For example we are told that the past tense is formed from the -da infinitive. In fact it is formed from the -ma infinitive. Until I had realised this I was very confused by an apparently huge list of exceptions which result from trying to build the past tense from the -da infinitive! In other instances a grammatical point is defined very vaguely where the simple statement of a firm rule would have been much more useful - for example the description of the genitive plural, Unit 9.
The vocabulary lists for each unit sometimes omit words used in the unit and some lists even have words which are not used at all! The vocabulary lists for Unit 7 are particularly sloppily constructed, with some words not even included in the usually reliable glossary at the back of the book.
Some dialogues have idioms or grammatical constructions which are totally unexplained or are only introduced later in the book. This leaves the learner confused and undermines confidence.
The answers to the exercises are full of dreadful mistakes: sometimes they miss the point of the exercise, sometimes they are wrong, and - worst of all - sometimes they include vocabulary, grammar or constructions not yet introduced. In the latter case students are confronted by a set of model solutions which they could not possibly have come up with and which in some cases are not even comprehensible. This too undermines confidence and is certainly the most serious flaw of the course. The exercises do not consolidate what has been learnt, which is what they ought to be doing.
All in all this is a poor effort, sloppy, inaccurate and ill-conceived.
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on 23 January 2008
If this was a drug it would be recalled from the shelves and you'd get your money back. It is so full of mistakes that it is unuseable. You do an exercise and when you look up the answers you find the exercise uses words and constructions you have not had yet. It also has many misprints, and I understand that the voices on the CD are not even native speakers. After five chapters I catalogued two pages of mistakes. I have even complained to Routledge who after two years have agreed to give me my money back.
Judge a book by its cover for once. A Russian cathedral on the front cover, as sensitive as putting a union jack on an Irish course or a swastika on a Yiddish one. They can't even spell Tallinn correctly.
No excuses, the book has been in print for over ten years and it's been cynically left out there. This does no credit to Routledge or anyone who stocks it.
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on 25 November 2011
I found this riddled with misprints and with exercises (for example 7 on p.28) needing information only presented later (in this case p. 128).
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on 28 November 1997
I've used this book to teach Estonian at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. It's not bad, but it doesn't explain the essential aspects of the fiendishly difficult 'lengths'of vowels and consonants. These lengths cannot be explained adequately without knowledge of the history of the Estonian language. Maybe a beginner's guidebook isn't the place for a detailed exposition, but when there are so few textbooks in English, more detail might have been expected.Why is it always assumed that a beginner's textbook cannot contain historical explanations?
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on 12 April 1999
YEEEOWWW!!!! Can we say complicated, kids?! For my first visit to Estonia, I purchased this book with an intention to acquire a "get-by" knowledge of her language, and little did I know I was in for such a treat... The book does a good job in explaining the basics, but I really think that they try to cram too much into too little space. The first few chapters are straightforward, but require much revision to obtain a basic working knowledge of the language. After the beginning chapters, the content FLIES by and there is even more studiousness required to keep up, as more and more of the language and its inherent complexities becomes exposed. BEWARE, this language is not for the faint of heart. :) All in all, the book is very thorough and quite informative with regard to both grammar and vocabulary. The tapes are EXCELLENT, being both clear and varied in voice type.
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on 12 August 2011
i have started to learn estonian and find it useful to have not one book , but two or three, so as to get varioous ways of explaining grammar to me. and this one seems to do the trick!
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on 19 December 2012
Covers everything, but rendered less effective because CD of pronunciation guide that is mentioned inside the book, is not supplied.
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on 28 February 2013
Still working my way through it. I need to get the audio though, it will help, as the book really needs it.
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