Text Book Review

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Joss
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Text Book Review

Postby Joss » 05-Jan-04 20:17

I would be interested in anyones view on the many and various text books available from which to learn Czech. I think I must have most of the main ones for english speakers. Some are great and some are enough to make you cry. My favourites for getting started are Step by Step by Lida Hola which is grammar focussed but friendly, and Colloquial Czech by an english guy named Naughton which is conversational and lets you pick up grammar on the way.
manny
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Postby manny » 06-Jan-04 0:10

Great question! I would also like to know if there are any structured, Czech lesson plans floating around on the 'Net, or available for purchase (computerized or hardcopy), that would follow the format of a formal, Czech language course taught in school. Having gone through dozens of Czech language websites, and seeing all the grammar rules, declension tables, useful phrases, and such, I would like to work with a step by step lesson plan that teaches Czech in an organized fashion. If anyone knows of such a resource, please let us know. Thanks.
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Kikko
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Postby Kikko » 23-Jan-04 14:26

Have you guys ever had a look at Slavic Languages courses at Universities? They adivce several books (usually grammar + textbooks)
Hokahay
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Postby Hokahay » 24-Jan-04 4:14

I have a bookshelf full of them. It seems that each has good points and bad points.

Teach Yourself Czech has tapes and dialog but the presentation of grammer is haphazard at best and for me the book advanced to fast to be of good use at the very beginning. The binding is also very poor.

A Modern Czech Grammer (first published in 1953 hahaha) goes at a reasonable pace. But, does not have any pronunciation aids. It presents the grammer from an English point of view, however it is somewat outdated. This is the book that got me started. It helped alot to have a young Czech woman to set me on the right path with pronunciation. :D

The Pimsleur Tapes give a good start to pronunciation and listening. It's shortcomings include little explaination of grammer ( no book ) and a touristy dialog.

InFlight Czech is a CD with many phrases. Good for hearing and pronunciation but zero grammer.

Froneks English Czech Dictonary is a great 1200 page resource. It has declentions and conjugations for every word, tons of idioms and more. But, being a dictionary has no lesson plans. The size makes it a burden for looking up a word.

Mina Trnka's Czech-English Dictionary is a handy small book for looking up words. No help with grammer, however.

Čeština Pro Cizince by Smičkova is one of my new favorites. No pronunciation, but Engish(and French!) is only used to provide word definitions. It gradually expands and explains the grammer in Czech.

I have a childrens book with english on the left page and czech on the right page. It is Tracy's Tiger by Saroyan. This book is useful only after basics of grammer and pronunciation are mastered.

I have a few pocket phrase books. These are good since they fit comfortably in your pocket. I carry it along so I always have something to study. I like Say It in Czech because of the sturdy binding. the Berlitz phrasebook quickly fell apart.

I recently bought Spoken Czech. It was expensive. It has 15 tapes and an 8 week lesson plan. But, I have not started in on it yet.

Each book, except for the ones with poor bindings, is useful and each gives a different emphasis. The best resource is the young Czech woman. I would have given up without her help.

Sometimes I think I should have picked an easier hobby. Like brain surgery or Rocket Science.
:roll:

Mnohošotěstí!

michael t
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Dana
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Postby Dana » 24-Jan-04 4:55

Hi Michael and welcome to the boards! Wow, I sure am impressed with your vast library! What made you start learning Czech? How long have you been studying and how is it going?

I hope to see you here again.

Dana
Hokahay
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Postby Hokahay » 24-Jan-04 6:08

Ahoj Dano. Těší mně!

It's nice to see such a quick and friendly response. I am a self taught software engineer by vocation. I wondered how learning a spoken language would be compared to learning a computer language ( C++ ).

When I was very young, I lived in a small town in South Dakota called Tabor. It is famous for "Czech Days"(try googling that). That was forty years ago. I like the sound of the language and I like the people I have met. Although the sample set is small, you can count them on one hand! :cry: Any country with the national beverage pivo sounds like my kind of place. It is also in the slavic group but with a roman alphabet. German, French and Spanish seemed boring. And It's too cold in Norway and Sweden. Of course, you can probably squeeze "czech girls are hot" in there someplace as well.

I began a little over a year ago. It is in some ways like learning a computer language, but it is certainly alot harder. I have been working at it regularly for the last seven months and making progress slowly. Pronunciation is getting better and was difficult to learn and do. Veronika saved the day for me with it.

I am on Chapter 10 in Modern Czech Grammer and it has 30 chapters. I also have a good part of InFlight Czech memorized. I listen to it when I drive. I just recieved Čeština Pro Cizince and I like it very much, so I am working on it now. I rotate around to make it more interesting. Working on vocabulary and listening mostly right now.

I see you are a very valuable rersource on the board here. And I humbly submit to be one of your occasional pupils. I can use all the help I can get!

The people around here think I'm one brick short of a load in this endeavor, but I enjoy it.

michael t
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Dana
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Postby Dana » 24-Jan-04 6:40

I know about Tabor Czech Days, it's in our Links. :)

I give you (and everyone else here) credit for trying to learn Czech. It's a hard language and I'm glad I don't have to study it myself! Of course I'm only one of the resources on these boards, there are other good helpers around here. I'm always happy to provide tips or advice.

Dana
Hokahay
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Postby Hokahay » 25-Jan-04 9:18

Not only are you lucky you don't have to study Czech, your English is just as good. For that, you deserve all the credit. Do you speak other languages as well?

I went thru the first four grades of school in Tabor. Starting in 1960, I think. The first two grades were in a one room school above the firehouse.

Ale to je už dávno.
Joss
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Postby Joss » 02-Feb-04 10:39

:) Guess as I started this string I'd better list all of my books too!

BBC Czech Prase Book - This was to go with a BBC Czech language programme. It is small and friendly and is useful as a handy reference.

Hypocrene Language Studies Czech Phrase Book - A good phrasebook based on topic areas with phonetic pronounciations. Mini-grammar section on the back of the book.

Colloquial Czech - James Naughton. This is a full beginners course in 18 chapters. This is a Czech Language book written by an English guy. That means that it is sympathetic to our way of thinking. He does not push grammar at you but feeds it in with dialogue and keeps the pressure low. The course comes with Cd's and tapes. The CD's are spoken by native speakers so pronunciation is correct and precise. A good basic book.

Hypocrene Language Studies - Beginners Guide to Czech - Iva Cerna & Jolana Machalek. This is a good light reference book with a little more focus on grammar which is essential. It has quite good grammar tables and dialogue but is brief in nature.

Eurotalk Interactive Talk Now - Learn Czech. This is a CD based learning tool and is possible one of the best very basic pronunciation tools and introductions to spoken Czech I have found. The CD uses memory games and testing to help you absorb vocabulary. It also has male and female readers to help you get used to hearing spoken Czech. This is a good system especially for those with no access to spoken Czech. The inteactive nature of the course makes it feel conversational in nature. This is a very basic course but there is a new more advanced course out which I have not yet seen. A good buy!

Communicative Czech - Elemnetary and Intermediate Ivana Reskova & Magdalena Pintarova. This is I understand one of the main series of text books used in formal teaching of Czech. These are very comprehensive but to be honest, not good if you are learning alone. The books are really geared to formal courses and I found them hard going. The books seem to be designed leaving space for the teacher to interpret and guide. Without that guidance you often fall down. Only my opinion. Go back to these when you have done the book listed below. There is no replacement for the depth and quality of this series of books but you need a run up first.

Czech Step by Step - Basic Course by Lida Hola. This book is a gem - the star of the pack. It starts where all good Czech language courses should with pronunciation and grammar. BUT it does it in a friendly and helpful way. Cases and genders are colour coded and it is well illustrated. The only book I have seen where the case system seems clear and well explained. I like this book! There is a free teachers manual on www.czechstepbystep.cz.

Also available are a number of small pamphlets available, this one is good:

Map of Czech Gramar isbn 80-85836-13-0 Nice clear regernce guide with helpful illustrations.

Given my choise again I would start with the interactive CD, then Step by step and for conversation and the essential practise in the car Colloquial Czech by Naughton. ASpend a good amont of time in Local Lingo as well. It is a great resource.


Joss
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rsalc1
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Postby rsalc1 » 24-May-04 2:21

Nazdar,

Very interesting thread!
I am a beginner and here are the learning materials that I am using to learn Czech:

Teach Yourself Czech (by W Lee): this is an old edition with poor binding, but I found it to be very helpful. The grammar concepts are introduced gradually and painlessly.

A Modern Czech Grammar: Another old edition. I use it to review certain grammar concepts

Pimsleur: Great to learn pronounciation and touristy phrases. I love it!

Colloquial Czech (by Naughton): This is a recent addition to my collection. I like this book and I am memorizing many of the dialogs on the tapes. :)

As far as dictionaries:
http://slovnik.seznam.cz/: A very good online dictionary

Anglicko-cesky, cesko-anglicky slovnik (by Poldauf): Pretty good.

Okay, that's all for now. Zatím ahoj!
rsalc1

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