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on August 25, 2010
Ukrainian for Speakers of English is intended for individuals who have no knowledge of Ukrainian--the novice, the beginner. And, as such, the volumes are suitable for adult learners in a home study situation, for senior high school students, and for university students. As the title implies, all of the material is presented from the viewpoint of a student who knows how to speak English, but who may not know the formal rules of English grammar. The student is reminded about similar structure in English before a new point in Ukrainian grammar is introduced. Numerous summaries, examples, and charts are included to assist the learner.

Heartily recommended, this exercise book is available either individually or as part of a kit. I recommend getting this workbook as part of the kit, although it may be used for instruction separately. Therefore, to enhance your knowledge of the product in its entirety, below is my review of the kit, which elaborates on this workbook as well as other components.

Some people wish to learn only a few words or phrases to use while on vacation; others prefer to learn a language in-depth: learning the vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar so well that they'll be able to read literature, converse, and correspond in the foreign language. This isn't a six-week or six-day quick memorization of key words and phrases course. Ukrainian for Speakers of English is a formal language course, and is limited specifically to the teaching of the Ukrainian language; you won't find maps, descriptions of cities, and history lessons, but what you will find are detailed explanations and elaborations dealing with the language elements discussed.

What you will find, too, is that the excellent caliber of instruction presented within the pages of this language course is in direct relation to the professionalism of the scholar teaching this course. The instructor, Dr. Roma Franko, is a former faculty member of the University of Saskatchewan (for over twenty-five years) and also former Head of the Department of Slavic Studies and the Department of Modern Languages. In addition to teaching introductory and advanced Ukrainian language and literature courses, she served on the Saskatchewan Education Curriculum Committee for over twenty years, and conducted workshops, seminars, and university methods courses in the three prairie provinces and Ontario for teachers of Ukrainian at every level of instruction. Roma Franko, Ph.D., also prepared Saskatchewan Education high school correspondence courses and developed a three-year program using the audio-visual approach to teaching Ukrainian at the high school and university levels.

The title states that each of the three textbooks in this course include material that covers both introductory and intermediary levels of instruction. The introductory level courses are Lessons 1-22; the intermediary courses are Lessons 23-38. This is a very cost-effective study program, for, in effect, you're paying for education as follows: high school level courses (Lessons 1-22), which could be completed in a three-year program. In a four-year program, it should be possible to complete Lessons 1-25. The recommendation of Dr. Franko is that the first twenty-two lessons be completed in an introductory course at the university level. By the end of Lesson 22, students should have mastered approximately 100 verbs, 500 nouns and pronouns, and 100 adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions. "The Intermediate portion of the program enables students to speak the language in a more native-like manner."

Dr. Franko's intent in selecting specific words was to adhere as closely as possible to standard literary Ukrainian (for a number of words, more than one Ukrainian equivalent is given). As a service to students, Dr. Franko also included a few words that are used commonly by speakers of Ukrainian in Canada although they may be considered dialectal. Additionally, for the benefit of students who may travel to Ukraine, certain words appear in slanted script (italic)--they aren't used in the exercises, but they're likely to be heard in Ukraine.

The text and both workbooks were piloted for two years in Introductory and Intermediate Ukrainian courses at the University of Saskatchewan and for one year at the University of Regina. The response of the students to these materials was enthusiastic. Based on the pilot, recommendations are given (above) suggesting division of the lessons between the Introductory and the Intermediate courses.

The vocabulary presented has been selected deliberately for its usefulness in both illustrating the grammar points presented in a lesson and in providing the student with a basic vocabulary to enable routine daily conversations.

The components of Ukrainian for Speakers of English, Introductory and Intermediate Levels by Dr. Roma Franko are available either individually, or as part of a kit, which includes an introductory cassette (Lesson One pronunciation of vocabulary is twenty minutes on side one and twenty minutes on side two) or CD (publisher only), the Text and two other workbooks: Oral Exercises and Written Exercises. The kit being sold through Amazon includes an illustrative cassette which has pronunciations of vocabulary in Lesson One; the kit available through the publisher, Detselig Enterprises Ltd., includes an illustrative CD. An important note to remember is that both the cassette and the CD are illustrative only, which means that the full content of the course is on neither the cassette nor the CD. For any individuals already familiar with Ukrainian, wishing only to brush up or to refresh their language skills, getting only the texts will accomplish that task nicely since they will already be familiar with pronunciations. A set of audio cassettes for the remaining lessons was originally available, but has been discontinued by the publisher.

Thirty-Eight lessons comprise the Text. In the first lesson, the student learns to read and to write Ukrainian; an Introductory Audio Cassette accompanies this lesson. In the next nine lessons, the student learns how to talk about things that are happening at the present time. Speaking skills are greatly increased during Lessons 11-22. Three lessons are very important, specifically, Lessons 23-25, since on completion, the student will know how to use a variety of verbs and to talk about events that have already occurred or that will occur. In Lessons 26-33, the student learns how to describe people and objects. The concluding five lessons, 34-38, teach the student how to give commands, expand the use of numbers, and much more.

The Text, the Oral Exercises, and the Written Exercises are spiral bound; the spiral is of heavy-duty gauge. The over-sized tomes have both the front and back covers laminated, adding to the durability of the texts. The Text is comprised of 408 pages, the Oral Exercises 216 pages (oral exercises 163 pages and answer key 53 pages), and the Written Exercises 170 pages--a total of 794 pages within three books if you purchase the kit (which I recommend)! The explanations in both the Text and in the Writing Exercises give a reading knowledge of Ukrainian; however, to learn to communicate orally, it's necessary to hear Ukrainian spoken. The audio cassette features both male and female speakers.

Since the instruction books have so many pages, the spiral binding is very definitely an advantage--it allows the book to lay flat enabling the student to use a recorder, to write, or to take notes. I can't stress enough the importance of having that spiral binding! Any book with many pages is often difficult to hold open, necessitating placing a very heavy object on the book to keep the book open. Additionally, the farther into the book you read, the smaller the right-hand/left-hand margin appears to be (depending on which side the page is bound), and the harder it becomes to read the text (when binding distorts text, your course concentration lessens)--that absolutely won't happen when you use Ukrainian for Speakers of English textbooks. Manual dexterity doesn't become an issue; learning becomes the focal point. Keeping books open is such a critical issue, that a special binding system is in existence and sold specifically to address just that. Professional companies not only make books with hard covers and soft covers, but also with lay flat covers. You'll have one less worry with the spiral binding provided.

The Preface explains the organization of the book and what to expect in the thirty-eight lessons ahead. Each of the lessons in the Text has either four or six pages of written exercises; the number of oral exercises varies depending on the difficulty of the material presented. The Oral Exercises textbook has an answer key appended to it.

The Table of Contents outlines on fourteen pages the thirty-eight lessons. Entries are concise, enabling the student to readily locate any specific topic or lesson.

A clean copy of each lesson (nice wide margins) enables the student to concentrate on the lesson easily. By that I mean that the layout on the page is uncluttered; tables and listings are interspersed with information presented in outline form which is easy to follow. Grammar explanations are simple and brief; numerous examples, charts, and summaries assist the learner along the road to learning.

Following an introduction and explanation of a grammar point, application is actively engaged by mini-conversations and coordinated oral exercises that are to be practiced at home, in the language lab, or in class. Written exercises provide both the instructor and student a yardstick for measuring the thoroughness of the structures learned.

Following the thirty-eight lessons are five appendices (A: Declension of Nouns; B: Prepositions; C: Adverbs of Quantity; D: Expressions Used in Oral Exercises; E: Personal Names and Surnames. Next is a two-page Vocabulary Legend followed by a 26-page Ukrainian-English Vocabulary and a 26-page English-Ukrainian Vocabulary. Both of the Vocabularies make finding a word easy since the lesson number is given.

The last section of the Text is entitled A Brief Index and it's four pages of information advising where you can quickly locate such items as adjectives, adverbs, age, alphabet, articles, centuries, conjunctions, dates of the month, days of the week, directions, impersonal sentences and expressions, months of the year, nouns, numbers, pain, particles, polite forms of address, prepositions, pronouns, seasons, subordinate clauses, substantives, time expressions, verbs, weather expressions, word order in Ukrainian, and years. As you can tell from the index, the material covered in this Text is sundry and myriad. An in-depth education awaits you within the covers of this Text, and much more so if you also purchase the two workbooks. Although the Text, Oral Exercises, and Written Exercises may be used individually, I heartily recommend getting the entire set (kit).

Financial assistance was received from The Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, the President's SSHRC Research Fund, University of Saskatchewan, and the University Publications Fund, University of Saskatchewan. Assistance was also received from The Division of Audio-Visual Services, University of Saskatchewan. Further, a special note of thanks is given to a number of individuals.

On September 19, 2011, Professor Franko received the Prime of Life Achievement Award from the University of Saskatchewan Retirees Association. "Roma Franko (appointment, 1968, Department of Slavic Studies, College of Arts and Science; retirement, 1996). Professor Franko was head of the Department of Slavic Studies and of its successor, the Department of Modern Languages. Her fine teaching was awarded, and she developed and published a number of innovative language teaching materials. In 1996, she and her sister, the late Professor Sonia Morris, took early retirement to found Language Lanterns Publications, publishing works of Ukrainian literature in English. Roma did the translations, and Sonia was the editor. To date, twenty volumes have been published. Professor Franko received the Shevchenko Medal from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in 1998, and the Nation Builders Award from the Saskatchewan Provincial Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in 1999, and (jointly with Professor Morris) the inaugural award of the George S. N. Luckyj Ukrainian Literature Translation Prize from the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies in 2009."

Publisher Detselig Enterprises Ltd. received financial assistance for its 1994 publishing program from Canadian Heritage, Alberta Foundation for the Arts (a beneficiary of the Lottery Fund of the Government of Alberta) and Canada Council.

Once you've successfully mastered Ukrainian for Speakers of English, without a doubt, you'll want to practice what you've learned--not only vocalizing the words, but also visualizing them, as well. Many outstanding Ukrainian authors await you (whether your reading preference is Ukrainian or English translation); you'll meet them and their characters as you travel the roads of riveting reading which will turn into avenues of adventures, boulevards of biographies, and highways of history, or, perhaps, promenades of passion, or streets of satire, or even thoroughfares of travel. Once you master the Ukrainian language, the possibilities, the potentials, the horizons will be yours to discover and savor. But, to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you'll first need to expend some effort in the pursuit of knowledge. With these exceptional academic materials written by a professional teacher at your disposal, your journey to learn letters, sounds, and words heretofore mysterious, mystic, and foreign will be made infinitely easier.

Very definitely five stars plus, this excellent language course of Ukrainian for Speakers of English, Introductory and Intermediate Levels is sure to be a much sought after learning tool. As a testament to the success of this program, one of Dr. Franko's students, Mike Kaweski, prepared the camera-ready copy of these textbooks for publication. Whether you wish to learn Ukrainian, or whether you wish to use this course as a refresher, you're guaranteed professional instruction by a professional. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse this fine product!

Readers may be familiar with other fine publications that Dr. Roma Franko has translated; they're published by Language Lanterns Publications (LLP), which publishes, specifically, the Women's Voices in Ukrainian Literature series (English translations of selected short fiction by Ukrainian women authors); Ukrainian Short Fiction in English series; the trilogy of Ivan Franko's works, Turbulent Times; Ukrainian Male Authors (1880-1920) series; and others (please see my reviews of those works). Also, please see my Listmania list entitled, Guaranteed "Outstanding"--Language Lanterns Publications, for more titles which will, undoubtedly, educate as they entertain.

Addendum: Readers, you're invited to visit each of my reviews--most of them have photos that I took in Ukraine (over 600)--you'll learn lots about Ukraine and Ukrainians. The image gallery shows smaller photos, which are out of sequence. The preferable way is to see each review through my profile page since photos that are germane to that particular book/VHS/DVD are posted there with notes and are in sequential order.

To visit my reviews on the USA site: click on my pseudonym, Mandrivnyk, to get to my profile page; click on the tab called review; scroll to the bottom of the section, and click on see all reviews; click on each title, and on the left-hand side, click on see all images. The thumbnail images at the top of the page show whether photos have notes; roll your mouse over the image to find notes posted.

Also, you're invited to visit my Listmania lists, which have materials sorted by subject.
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