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The Oxford-Duden Pictorial German - English Dictionary
The Oxford-Duden Pictorial German - English Dictionary
by Oxford
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 46.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Reference, Nov. 30 2003
A great noun builder for intermediate to advanced students of German (or German-speaking students of English), this book will help you attain a degree of precision in your vocabulary that would be difficult to achieve any other way without a substantial investment of time. The dictionary is arranged by subject areas varying from the highly technical (e.g. precision instrument parts) to the everyday (e.g. tableware). About one-fourth of the volume is taken up by the index which is eminently helpful if you want to quickly find the translation of a particular word without having to wade through the many subject areas. This edition did not incorporate the recent German spelling reform (Rechtschreibreform) which effected only a small proportion ofthe German vocabulary and for most purposes is a relatively minor distraction. Well-suited for browsing (a rare quality for a dictionary) and very different from most other language learning resources, consider this book a must-have for the serious language student.

Mastering Korean with Cassettes
Mastering Korean with Cassettes
by Park
Edition: Audio Cassette
6 used & new from CDN$ 34.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, Nov. 29 2003
All of Barron's FSI series uses dated materials and brute force audio-lingual methods of instruction (i.e. rote memorization,
repetition practice, lexical drills). This course is no exception but it shows its age more than most, particularly with the emphasis on formal honorifics and outdated modes of expression. The more expensive Pimsleur Korean course practically does the same thing. Nonetheless there is value here, particularly given the lack of variety of Korean language learning materials. Just plan on doing some follow-up work unless you have Korean friends that can help you along the way. With the exception of the introductory section this course closely follows the format found in Barron's "Mastering German" but is quite different from the format in "Mastering Italian."

Mastering German-With Book
Mastering German-With Book
by Brown & Christoph
Edition: Audio Cassette
7 used & new from CDN$ 22.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, warts and all., Nov. 29 2003
If old-school audiolingual style rote drills and model sentence imitation works for you this is the course you want. It's a bit dated but the approach still works well. There is also a Level II course with 12 ninety-minute tapes to follow-up with. If you've tried other courses in the FSI series this one roughly follows the format of Barron's "Mastering French" and "Mastering Korean" but is quite a bit different than that of "Mastering Italian." You have to be tolerant of some of the faults that have been pointed out by other reviewers and be ready for lots of repetitive exercises and drills. The side-by-side English translations of the German dialogs were particularly helpful.

Mastering German II, with Book
Mastering German II, with Book
by Foreign Service Institute
Edition: Audio Cassette
14 used & new from CDN$ 88.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Old School Still Works, Nov. 29 2003
Purchasing both Level I and II gives you 24 ninety-minute cassettes of audio which is quite a value if you like old-school "overlearning" type of instruction (i.e. rote memorization, repetition practice, lexical drills). It's a dated approach but does work well. The dialog portions are repeated with the student playing different roles in the dialog so the tapes do repeat themselves but are nonetheless a good value for learning German on your own. You'll spend triple the amount getting equivalent instruction from Pimsleur.

Mastering Italian: with 15 Compact Discs
Mastering Italian: with 15 Compact Discs
by Foreign Service Language Institute
Edition: Audio CD
13 used & new from CDN$ 41.45

3.0 out of 5 stars Ugly but thorough., Nov. 29 2003
The instruction in this course, particularly in the beginning, borders on the awful. It makes learning Italian much harder than it needs to be. The use of phonetic symbols, albeit relatively infrequent, was totally unnecessary. On the plus side there is a lot of audio (15 CDs) and the course is very thorough in teaching pronunciation. Living Language and Pimsleur offer better instruction but far less audio. "Mastering Italian" is also fairly decent as a stand-alone course. Purchase this course only if you are patient and want to slowly be walked through learning Italian. It does get easier the further you progress. After completing this course you'll know more Italian than you would have with other comparably priced courses but may wonder if it would have been more worthwhile to have shelled out the additional money for other courses and not have had to struggled so much. Since this course had been developed for diplomats it is intended for serious students of the language. Tourists wanting to learn Italian should go with Berlitz or some of the other phrasebook-type audio courses for travelers. The CDs are not suitable for use while driving and are designed to be used simultaneously with the textbook.
"Mastering Italian" diverges quite a bit from the usual audio-lingual format found in Barron's "Mastering French," "Mastering German," or "Mastering Korean" series. It has less emphasis on drills and more on the technical aspects of pronunciation (e.g. tongue flaps, intonation patterns, etc). The Pimsleur courses totally ignore these technical aspects yet are far more effective in teaching natural pronunciation. This is an ugly course but it clears the hurdle for three stars because it is very thorough.

Mastering French, Level 2: Book and 12 Cassettes
Mastering French, Level 2: Book and 12 Cassettes
by Foreign Service Language Institute
Edition: Audio Cassette
11 used & new from CDN$ 50.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Outdated but okay., Nov. 29 2003
Same format, native speakers, and instruction methodology as in Level I. The going will be a bit easier in this second part because by now you should have already mastered some of the pronunciation hurdles that trouble English speakers. Purchasing both Level I and II gives you 24 ninety-minute cassettes of audio which is quite a value if you like old-school "overlearning" type of instruction (i.e. rote memorization, repetition practice, lexical drills). It's a dated approach but still works well.

Mastering French-With Book
Mastering French-With Book
by Mastering
Edition: Audio Cassette
11 used & new from CDN$ 35.78

3.0 out of 5 stars Old-School Audio-Lingual Approach, Nov. 29 2003
If old-school style rote drills and model sentence imitation works for you this course will be a great value. It's a bit dated (the course was developed in the early 1960's) but it works well. Unlike Barron's "Mastering German" tapes they there aren't as many translations of the drills and they don't slow down their dialogs for the student to grasp pronunciation; you'll be hearing them at normal conversation speeds right from the beginning. Six types of drills are presented along with some grammar notes and written exercises. There is also a Level II course with 12 ninety-minute tapes. The dialog portions are repeated with the student playing different roles in the dialog so the tapes do repeat themselves but are nonetheless a good value for learning French on your own. If you intend to use this course as your primary means of learning French on your own purchase a French grammar book to go along with it. A cheap option is Schaum's Outline Series "French Grammar" by Mary Crocker but there are many others.

Concise Compendium of the World's Languages
Concise Compendium of the World's Languages
by George L. Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 77.32
23 used & new from CDN$ 25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many errors in an otherwise commendable effort., July 6 2003
This overview is an abbreviated version of the two-volume Compendium of the Worlds Languages by the same author containing about one hundred of the latter's three hundred language entries. For this volume some of the entries have been expanded and amplified. Languages having a written tradition are accompanied by verses 1 - 8 of the Gospel of John in their native orthography.
After an introductory sketch and script description, each language entry contains a brief section on phonology followed by a section morphology and syntax. The phonology section discusses palatalization, stops, aspirates, and fricatives, short and long vowels, diphthongs, stress, and the use of tones. The morphology and syntax section covers noun usage (case, gender, etc), verb forms (e.g. tenses, voices, moods), adjectives, pronouns (their forms, declensions, etc), numerals, and word order. An appendix of scripts and a bibliography complete the book.
This is an accessible work in comparative languages although some basic familiarity with grammatical terminology is assumed on the part of the reader. Some of the phonological errors in the first volume have been dealt with but many others remain. Most of the widely spoken and contemporarily relevant tongues are covered and most language families are represented by at least one entry. A similar volume by Kenneth Katzner ("Languages of the World") covers more languages but not in the linguistic context that Campbell follows. Purchase Campbell's volume if you are interested in brief phonological and morphological snapshots of a language; purchase Katzner's volume if linguistic aspects do not appeal you as much as the distribution and historical development of its speakers. Given the errors, however, do not use this volume as an authoritative reference.

Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary
Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary
by Rick Harbaugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.57
27 used & new from CDN$ 8.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The swiss army knife of Chinese character dictionaries., May 31 2003
You'll might need several dictionaries to be comfortable learning Chinese. This simultaneously phonetic and semantic-based dictionary and character genealogy is too unique not to be in your repertoire. Not only can you search by stroke, radical, pinyin, or English spelling, but also by looking for the part of the character you do regognize and going from there, or by pronounciation, or by bopomofo. Its format is perfect for learning characters and their roots. Presented are 182 root ideographs from which 4000 other characters are derived. Find the character for horse ("ma") and you'll find associated terms which contain that character (e.g. saddle) as well as homophones which have nothing to do with horses but sound somewhat similar to "ma" (e.g. jade, scold, mom). Very well done.

Story Of Writing
Story Of Writing
by Andrew Robinson
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 1.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An overview of writing systems., May 31 2003
This review is from: Story Of Writing (Paperback)
A richly illustrated nontechnical introduction to the history of writing. The author briefly touches upon the relationship between language and script and the challenges involved in the classification of writing systems but the bulk of the book is on presenting different families of scripts and accounts of thier development. The sections on extinct writing, such as cuneiform, and on undeciphered scripts were interesting but the book's chief attribute are the illustrations of alphabets, inscriptions, and glyphs, many of which are interpreted for the reader. A similar volume for the more linguistically inclined is "A History of Writing" by Steven Robert Fischer. The author, himself not without contraversy, provides the technical precision that is lacking in Robinson's book and has lots of examples of scripts as well.

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