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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy the one with the CD, 18 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Complete Old English: Teach Yourself (Paperback)
I don't want to discourage people from buying this introduction to Anglo-Saxon, but I do want to encourage them to get the edition with the CD, not just the paperback. The issue is with the pronunciation of the texts. The pronunciation guide in this book is inadequate. I know that it's hard to convey the sounds of one language, in print, in another language (although that shouldn't be so hard in this case, between Old and Modern English), but the problem lies in the failure to identify the correct pronunciation in tricky places, e.g. where "c" is pronounced "ch" and where "k". The vocabulary lists include pronunciation guides, but not for all words, and it's the problem words which are skated over. Just as an example: in Unit 10, we are told that Anglo-Saxon "hid" is pronounced "heed", but not how "aecer" is pronounced.

I imagine that most people reading this book have two aims: to be able to read Anglo-Saxon easily and to be able to pronounce the sounds fluently, to know how the original texts sounded. By itself, the paperback fails on the latter, but is a good guide to the former. I really can't pretend to understand the point of the introductory sections, such as "Only got five minutes?" The texts used throughout, however, are authentic; no "Cotta and Balbus are attacking the ditches" stuff here. If you don't get your interest piqued by the historical context passages in this book, then you're probably learning the wrong language.

The word index does not contain all of the words used in the texts (and I am taking into account inflections of nouns, adjectives and pronouns and conjugations of verbs). I agree with another criticism of this book, which is common to all the Teach Yourself books I have used: there is no summary of the grammar at the back of the book.

You probably will eventually need an Anglo-Saxon grammar and an Anglo-Saxon dictionary, in addition to this book, but, right now, for a beginner in Anglo-Saxon, getting the book WITH the CD is the important thing. As far as I know, the CD isn't available to purchase separately.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jul 2013, 14:34:01 BST
ruth says:
I see this note is now attached to the description: This product is most effective when used in conjunction with the corresponding double CD.
- You can purchase the book and double CD as a pack (ISBN: 9781444104196)
- The double CD is also sold separately (ISBN: 9781444104202)
It's currently cheaper to buy the pack. Thanks or your review

Posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:04:44 GMT
I originally bought the earlier text and like the reviewer found it to be limited without the CD. Fortunately I was able to buy the CD separately (from Amazon), but this was linked with the later, revised text so the CD bullet points don't always match up. But not to worry, with a bit of attention it is obvious that what is being read is not what is being said, so regardless of which edition of the text you have then the CD is definitely a must. Thank you for a well balanced review.
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Location: Hants, England

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