Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
There are better books for beginners
on 29 February 2008
This book is frankly poor. The emphasis is on vocabulary, although it does throw in a few set phrases for you to use. However, this book is not going to enable you to actually SPEAK Russian or understand anything of any real merit. Yes, I realise it is for complete beginners, but Take Off in Russian is also aimed at the beginner market and can do a lot more for you than this. If you want short lessons, then Take Off provides this (although they are more like half an hour than 10 minutes - but then what can you really learn in 10 minutes?). Take Off also provides you with the tools to produce language on your own, rather than relying on the few set phrases you might have found in a book like 10 minutes.
Another criticism of 10 minutes is the pronunciation guide. It's way off the mark. There are no stress markers, which are found in all other Russian books I have come across, and as stress is very important in Russian pronunciation, it's important for even beginners to learn it correctly. The romanised guides are also bizzare at times, and sound nothing like the word should sound.
I do quite like the stickers section (although having a sticker for words like 'dog' and 'cat' seems a bit pointless, because 1) I don't have a dog/cat to stick it on 2) I wouldn't stick it on my dog/cat if I did), and the crosswords are quite good for vocab revision, although there are only 2 or 3 of them. The menu translator is the best thing in here - ideal for trips to restaurants and good to stick on your fridge to help you learn the words while you're in the kitchen - and the flashcards are a good idea, although I didn't really take to them.
For these good points, I'd give it 3 stars, but because of the pronunciation issues, I'm reducing it to 2. Buy Take Off in Russian instead. It's a little pricier, but if you want to actually learn Russian, you should be prepared to fork out a couple of quid more.