Text Book Review

Discussion in 'General Language' started by Joss, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. TTC

    TTC Member

    I also have several czech books, most of wich are listed already in this post. On way I found useful to help learn Czech was by actually using a book that is used in the czech school system to teach young students to read. You have to use it with a dictionary. My girlfriend brought me the book from czech. It is called prvni cteni. Since it is written for young children it is not particularly complicated but exposes you to much grammar. The book has an isbn # and the company has a website. www.librex.cz I am sure they will be willing to sell you these type of books.
  2. Livormortis

    Livormortis New Member

    One book that I didn't see in the comprehensive lists above is:

    Contemporary Czech by Michael Heim.

    Not a very dynamic book, but thorough and comprehensive. Also has a emphasis on Russian language, so those who speak russian may find it beneficial. I have spoken "informal" Czech since childhood, but found myself lacking in proper Czech later on - so I started to study on my own.
    This text has been beneficial. No tapes or audio, though. :cry:

  3. nehnevp

    nehnevp New Member

    For your information, if you want a very expensive (and no I have not purchased yet), you can order the Ohio State University Czech Courses. the webpage is: http://www.101language.com/czech.html 101Language OSU Course and each course is $345. It looked interesting and perhaps instead of buying one book and there, and essentially spending that much it would have been better for me to get the OSU material.

    I have been using Pimseleur tapes, Language/30 and A Conversa-Phone Czech primer. Each has their pluses and minuses. I also have "A Modern Czech Grammar" (1953) and a very old "Teach Yourself Books: Czech" (1959) but I am on a tight timeline. My family is planning on visiting Czech Republic this May so I am using as many audio materials as I can find.

    I wish I had found this site earlier! It would have simplified some of my hunting for materials!
  4. stary steve

    stary steve Member

    Dear Joss a vsichni
    James Nughton has also written 'Czech an Essential Grammar' that is very clear. It's about seventeen pounds in the UK and has just been published.(ISBN0-415-28785-5). Communicative Czech may be pants but it does have one advantage - it is in czech first and english second - but I must admit has been poorly put together. (levny is mentioned twice in the glossary of words at the end)

  5. TTC

    TTC Member


    I picked up a new book. It is called 401 czech verbs. It is written by an American specifically for english speakers. It has helped understand the 7 cases and sentance structure. I actually bought it in Czech but you can by it online at www.401czechverbs.com
  6. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I got hold of a few new books today, I'll say something about all the books I have now:

    Teach Yourself Czech by David Short - I started using this first. The first couple of chapters are quite good, but after about chapter 5 it suddenly becomes too difficult, I thought. The dialogues become a bit too long with excessive vocabulary lists. The grammar points are also kind of heavy going. But I learned good pronunciation from this book.

    Czech Step-by-Step by Lida Hola - Much easier to use than TYC. The language used is everyday, useful stuff, and the layout and explanations are well-done. There are loads of drills and exercises for you to practise, this would be ideal if you had regular help from a Czech friend. But the book uses a strange every-topic-uses-a-full-sheet-of-A4 policy, so some pages are overwhelming with the amount of words or concepts that are thrown at you. The dialogues are better than TYC, and are funny and interesting, but sometimes a bit long.

    Colloquial Czech by James Naughton - I just got this book, having read recommendations on this site. It's very very good, especially the fact that it is written from the point of view of the English speaker. There are many short dialogues which introduce vocabulary bit by bit and in context, which I think is important. And after each dialogue the relevant grammar points are presented clearly and are well-explained. I think I will give the other two books a rest and concentrate on this one for a while!

    Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook - I only got this so I could carry a book around in my pocket to learn vocab from, but actually this book is a little gem. There's tons of stuff packed in its pages, covering just about every topic you could think of using on holiday. As well as the usual food and drink sections, there's stuff on architecture, concerts, sports, and even a section on dating lol! And it's not just a list of words, it's full of phrases whose structure you can absorb and copy. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the soccer phrases on people in Czech, and maybe even some of the chat-up lines lol...

    Fronek's English-Czech Czech-English Dictionary - I just got this too, and while it was a little pricey and it's kinda big, it's a fantastic book! There are loads of idioms and sub-entries under each headword, and in the Czech part every word is assigned a number so you can look up all the case endings or verb endings. An excellent investment.
  7. Yuko_april

    Yuko_april Member

    Hello, I'm studying Czech in "Cestina pro cizince".
    I got it from my language school, and I have no answers for "CVICENI" at the end of each lekce.
    Is it normal or my teacher didn't give me something?
    If I can find them somewhere, please let me know.
    Thank you :)
  8. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I would love to get hold of a copy of Cestina Pro Cizince - does anyone know where it can easily be obtained from? I can't find it in UK online bookshops - is there a Czech online bookshop that sells it? Or a bookshop in Prague that stocks it?
  9. phi11ip

    phi11ip Well-Known Member

    The best bookshop in Prague is Palác Knih on Wencelas Square. You can also buy online from there. Here is their website. Don't know what they charge for postage. The last time I tried to order a book from another bookshop in ČR the postage nearly doubled the price :(
  10. Sorry to drag up such an old thread but there haven't been many posts on this forum recently and there are no doubt new textbooks out since the last contribution.

    Anyway here are my thoughts on books that I have:

    Contemporary Czech - Michael Heim

    Textbook with 3 audio CDs. Quite dry presentation but I found it to be one of the most useful books for self-study that presents quite a comprehensive introduction to the Czech language, especially the grammar. Highly recommended.

    Colloquial Czech - James Naughton

    Textbook and 2 audio Cds. Another very solid self-study introduction to the language with more focus on the spoken language (though the main basics of grammar are certainly covered). Might move a bit quickly for genuine beginners but for those with a little previous exposure this is a good option.

    Czech for Fun - Kresin (and others)

    Textbook, workbook and tapes (yes tapes!!). Substantial textbook and workbook taking students from absolute beginner level to about intermediate. Covers everything that would be expected in great detail but perhaps a bit lacking in the fun that the title would suggest. Given the price and the use of tapes rather than CDs there are better options out there. Having said that it was effective for me and remains one of my personal favourites and the workbook really helps reinforce the language.

    A Description of Spoken Prague Czech - Townsend

    Book only (not really a textbook). Does as the title suggests and goes into the major differences between standard Czech and that spoken in Prague. Presented in 4 chapters (phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon). Quite a dry text but effective nonetheless. Not for beginners but anyone with a pre-intermediate level or above living in Prague would get something out of it. Again one of my favourites.

    Czech for Life - Nekovarova

    Textbook with 2 CDs. Colourful (in comparison to most others) and interesting course book aimed at intermediate levels students. Wide variety of topics and language points covered. Interesting texts and plenty of exercises make this one of the best books at this level. CDs cover listening texts and drills. Highly recommended.

    Chcete Jeste Lepe Mluvit Cesky - Cechova (and others)

    Textbook and CDs. Probably should be the most boring textbook of all time. No colour, quite confusing layout which makes it difficult to find what you are looking for and very, very dry presentation of language items. Having said that, I must admit it is my favourite self-study resource by a long way. It covers so much more than most pre/intermediate level books and is very thorough. I found it to be the most effective for me.

    Cesly Krok Za Krokem - Hola, Borilova

    Textbook, short grammar reference and CDs. Probably the best textbook for use with a teacher. It could be used for self study effectively but really designed for classroom usage. Covers a wide range of topics and presents most of the necessary language for an intermediate level. The presentation is excellent and there are sufficient exercises to reinforce the language. The quick grammar reference booklet is also very useful. I have yet to see a better course book for the Czech language.

    401 Czech verbs - Davies. Hejdukova

    Plenty has been written about this book and it really is an excellent reference book. Easy to access to information you need and clearly presented. A must have.

    An Essential Grammar - Naughton

    As above. Covers all the major grammar points, easily accessible and well presented. Another must have.

    Dictionary - Fronek

    Unless there are others that I don't know about this is probably the best Czech - English/English Czech dictionary out there (though I do prefer the Poldauf one for Czech - English).

    Other useful resource:

    www.czech-books.com . Excellent site for ordering Czech language books and DVDs. A life saver for me as they ship internationally. I order around 20 DVDs per month from there and have only ever received excellent service.

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