"Teach Yourself" B2 Promise

Hello Everyone

I wanted to get your views on this. With the two languages I am currently learning for both I’m using the corresponding “Teach Yourself: Complete…” books (Using other resources than just these books obviously). I’d like to get some opinions on how you would rate, from opinion or maybe even from personal experience, the “From Beginner to Level 4” statement that comes with these books. I’m going to assume that you guys know already to what “B2” and “Level 4” corresponds to.

Obviously language companies like to big up their products but I just thought that with “teach yourself” marketing such a vast array of languages with different writers, lay-outs, sizes and so on, how they could generalise the “from beginner to level 4” statement that comes with each one of them. Having not completely finished all the units in either of the TY books I have I don’t know for sure, But if any of you guys have opinions and/or experiences on this I’d love to hear them :slight_smile:

I don’t know what Level 4 refers to, but “Teach Yourself” will not get you to anywhere close to B2. I wasn’t aware that they were making that claim. I like the “Teach Yourself” and “Colloquial” series (there are other good ones, but those two seem to be reliably good) but they’re just introductions. They don’t have anywhere near the amount of vocabulary you’d need to have in order to be considered B2 level, not to mention that you won’t have internalized the grammatical structures the books introduce simply from that limited amount of exposure.

fair enough, All though of-course I never expected to have internalized the grammar as I reckon that takes a long time. All though the amount of vocab does differ depending on which language the book is covering. some merely highlight vocab to contextualise it with the “objective” of the unit whilst in different ones they give you pages of new vocab at a time. I feel that with my Danish the book has taken me to B1 in terms of speaking and reading. Having said that I did have some exposure to the Language prior to starting the book. I’m finding with Spanish I’m probably only at the very start of A2 and am practically 3/4 through the book. This is why I thought it may differ depending on language hence prompting me to wonder how they could make a general statement covering all different types of course.

I suppose they mean that after finishing their course, you could pass a B1 exam and consider yourself B2. I just can’t see that. The English B2 exam is the PET, and I just can’t imagine someone finishing a Teach Yourself-type course and then passing the PET. It’s not possible. At any rate, I can’t see Teach Yourself even really getting people past the A2 exam.

I would expect books like Teach Yourself to take you through the A1 stage and leave you off somewhere in A2, provided you spend a lot of time with them, and really assimilate the vocab and dialogues and whatnot.

Do they write somewhere on the package that you will be at a B2 level by the end of the course? That seems a bit irresponsible.

again as general as I think it is for them to say the same thing on every language book I also think as said, that different languages that TY do would drop you off at different levels after completion. On the side of their books it says “From beginner to Level 4”, they then go on to say inside the cover that TYLevel4 = B2 in the standard etc etc…
I suspect they would get out of it by saying that it’s “suitable from beginner to level 4” although it certainly gives the impression that after you finish it you will be at B2 because there are more advanced courses which state “level 5” on them (C1)

for example “Complete French” has a level 4 on the book - http://images.borders.com.au/images/bau/97814441/9781444100051/0/0/plain/teach-yourself-complete-french.jpg
whilst the next one up “Perfect your french” has a Level 5 on the book - http://images.contentreserve.com/ImageType-100/1531-1/{EE380EA1-B012-49C2-B467-E192902C8954}Img100.jpg

One of the many things you learn being American is that there’s a thick black line between Marketing and Truth.

Marketing gets people in the door without right out lying, in order for them to here the absolute truth…

For most of us here on lingq, we should be able to tell that certain marketing techniques aren’t completely truthful or at least in the measure of the average user. I’m sure if you were able to memorize everything in a Teach Yourself program you might be B1 or B2 but the truth of the matter is that time on task needs to be equated into the formula.

Bottom line: Marketing claims are only useful if you’re new to a subject… If you’re deep into a subject the internet (lingq forums twitter, facebook) are the most useful as far as regulating the usefulness of a product…

I suppose you’re correct. I’m sure learning everything in one of the books to a “passive” degree probably isn’t to unreasonable. They have a use none the less. :slight_smile:

In my experience, the first Teach Yourself book gets you in the door. It is the first step. It does not take you very far. If achieving some level of confidence in reading, listening and speaking were a 12 hour journey, TY would represent somewhere between the first 20 minutes and the first hour depending on how difficult the language is.

@Corin: B1 is like getting an A or A* at GCSE, and I can believe that you have got there after a year’s hard work in…Danish, was it?

B2 is like a good A level, and if anyone can get there in less than 2 - 3 years of hard work and a LOT of vocabulary work, I would like to shake his or her hand.

I don’t believe that any one text book could possibly get you to B2 (you have the boredom factor to contend with for a start). Most that I have seen don’t get past A2.

I have a really challenging Russian book and even that doesn’t get past B1. Lots of grammar is in there, but not more than a couple of thousand words of vocabulary.

Which version of “Teach Yourself Danish” are we actually talking about here?

There are two generations of TY books: the classic versions dating mostly from the 1950s with reprints up to the late 70s or early 80s; and then the newer (and somewhat dumbed down) versions dating from the early 1990s with reprints up to the present.

The former might get you well on your way towards level B2.

The latter probably wouldn’t offer much more than a phrasebook-style introduction to the language.

(In fairness, the quality of modern TY does also vary quite a bit from one language to the next.)

Having used a more recent version of “Teach Yourself Danish” I can tell you can it can get you to maybe a low intermediate level at best but not nearly close enough for B1 even though it seemed like it a had a lot of grammar in it as well and some of the dialogues were interesting while others seemed a bit random and kind of boring.

The key to learning a language is not merely to have a first pass at a complete range of grammar explanations, most of which we cannot remember or even really understand, but exposure, and words, lots of both. You do not get that in a starter book like TY or even a few of them. They are just the beginning, some artificial dialogue, some sense of the language. Now you need to get at some authentic content, and not just some, lots.

At least that has been my experience.

@Rank -yeah I reckon it varies depending on the language itself as some have alot more vocab than others.
@Kokos - Isn’t B1 Lower intermediate though?
@Skyblueteapot - Yeah I would say I’m just in “B1” in terms of reading and speaking. B2 does seem a much bigger jump though. This is why I started the thread, As I’d wondered if anyone had actually found they’d achieved this level that the book says on it. Fair enough though. I don’t spend hours on the grammar, some of it interests me which would help me to remember it. I think if there was such a thing I could probably pass a “Higher Danish” paper (not sure what Highers are equal to in England) but of-course the way schools do languages is a whole different topic for a different thread :stuck_out_tongue: