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on 14 February 2015
I am a complete beginner and have looked at very little comparative material. Also, I have not finished it, yet. But I feel I am making good progress. I find it well-structured and easy-to-use for a complete beginner (though my experience in learning various other foreign languages has helped use it more effectively) and it manages to keep my attention and enthusiasm by focusing on vocabulary and situations one would use in every day situations. But I recommend to study and become familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet before starting it, eg using the book of the same series that teaches to read and write Russian script. I found the extra practice very helpful to get through the material in this book a lot more quickly because, after having completed it, reading Cyrillic characters has become almost as natural as reading the Latin script used in English.
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on 2 October 2012
I recently bought this book to begin learning Russian. I am a languages teacher by profession. I teach Spanish, Italian, French, Greek and Portuguese and I have studied many other languages.
The conversations and grammar explanations in this book are good and the grammar is explained clearly. However, I would like to point out a couple of bad points about this book:

1. The book does not explain the pronunciation rules well.
After working through the pronunciation chapter and upon listening to the conversations in the following chapters, you soon realise that certain letters are simply not being pronounced according to what was explained in the pronunciation chapter. You are taught that "oh" is pronounced as the "o" in the English word bore. However in conversations, it if often pronounced as "a" as in "car". There seems to be no explanation for this whatsoever in the book and it seems impossible to predict when an "o" is pronounced like and "o" and when it should be pronounced like an "a".
This is just once case. There are many other letters that are pronounced in a different way to what is explained in the book. Some letters (especially the vowels) completely change their sound but there is no explanation by the author, thus leaving the learner completely confused and unable to pronounce words unless listening to them on the cd.
As a beginner, this is very confusing. Having studied many languages from Hindi, Japanese & Arabic to Tamil, Yoruba, Bulgarian etc... I can honestly say that Russian pronunciation needs much more of an explanation than what has been given by the author.

2. The audio cds only cover the main conversations. This means that every time new vocabulary is introduced, you will have no idea how to pronounce it correctly or where the stress should fall. Of course not knowing how to pronounce those new words correctly could make it difficult for natives to understand you.

3. Some new words are given in the conversations without a translation at all and those words are not even in the dictionary at the back of the book. So this means you keep reading the new words again and again and still have no idea what they mean.

In conclusion, the book itself is good for learning but without a Russian native sitting next to you, you are going to struggle to pronounce many of the words.
In my opinion, the author should explain the pronunciation in more detail rather than just teaching the alphabet and main sounds and completely ignoring the "major" changes in pronunciation that occur depending on where letters are in words. This NEEDS to be explained to learners. New words need to be given on the audio cd so that students know how to pronounce them. Furthermore all new words introduced must have a translation so that learners are not left clueless to their meaning.

Explaining grammar and teaching vocab is one thing but if you don't know how to pronounce them, you won't be understood!
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on 8 August 2014
This material is perfect as a brush-up course, and I simply love the CDs. To a complete beginner, however, I guess that the progression is pretty steep, and there are some obstacles making the understanding more difficult. For instance, I have found 2 faults in the Russian writing in some of the first lessons, and as I haven't read so much of the text at all, I suppose that there are more than that. Anyway, to my private purpose the material deserves 5 stars.
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on 25 October 2012
I have to agree with the review by Mr. C. L. Grindley except I would rate it even lower.
Russian - like English - is a language where the pronunciation of EVERY SINGLE word must be learned.
The pronunciation of most French and German words follows the spelling - not so in Russian.
Mr Grindley mentions the different pronunciation of the letter "0". You need to know that it is pronounced
like "0" if the syllable is accented and like "a" if the syllable is unaccented. You only get to know this by hearing the word.
Only a tiny fraction of the text in the book is recorded on the CD's.
Without a teacher this book is next to useless.
In my own case I have recorded a Russian friend who has read out every bit of Russian text not on the CD's.
If only the publishers had done the same this could have been a fantastic book,
I just cannot understand how these 5-star reviewers reached their conclusions.
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on 5 May 2015
This is another very good book with CD that really does help learn the Russian language. It is a good purchase
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on 13 August 2011
Without any doubt this is one of the best books available on the market for people wanting to learn how to speak russian,by the time that you have finished this language course you are truly an expert(it's easier to learn the language because it contains a double cd that you can listen to it over and over again so you get the language pretty quickly and speak it fluently without any complications within a short period of time you will be amazed with the final results)and at a cost effective price,truly a chance not to be missed.
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on 20 May 2012
The good thing about this book is that the author neither assumes you're a linguist nor treats you like a complete stupid. It's fun, very well structured and effective, so I would definitely recommend it.
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on 27 November 2015
Is what it says and getting good use
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on 9 June 2013
It is a good method to learn Russian. Very clear and effective. The CDs are very useful as the prononciation in Russian is a bit difficult! I recommend it!
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on 17 June 2013
I can't fault this book however like many other books i looked at it progresses very quickly and just left me stumped.. e.g page one alphabet, two some vocab, three conversations four - grammatical structure.. I am a bad student and maybe need something more repetitive and baby like. I imagine that if you have the ability then this is a great book.
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