Teach Yourself Series

Hello everyone,

I am starting to learn spanish (using lingq with my limited time), but I feel I’m not at the level yet where I can do these lessons at a reasonable pace.
Steve has mentioned in one of his recent videos about the Teach Yourself series.

I was looking for recommendations/thoughts on the different versions and/or suggestions on these books or similar ones. I have heard that the newer editions of teach yourself spanish have shorter dialogues and more colorful pages. I am looking for something that can get me off the ground and moving forward in the language that also has audio for the dialogues.

Any comments welcome.

I quite like the “Hugo in 3 months” series. It deals with pronunciation, presents the grammar in nicely laid out sections with a load of illustrative examples and comes with a CD containing the dialogues (which aren’t that inspiring, but never mind), and also grammatical exercises (which I never bother with). It will take you from zero knowledge to having a pretty good grasp of basic (and some not so basic) grammar.

I used Teach Yourself Norwegian several years ago and liked it. Although it was written more for college-aged students, I learned a lot of basic Norwegian from it. I’m concentrating on French right now, but occasionally will use Teach Yourself Norwegian for review with another Norwegian software program that I have. I have not used the Teach Yourself… series with another language.

I have Living Language French: Learn in 4 Simple Steps that I refer to for grammar and writing help. I feel I didn’t retain much of what I learned in the audio part of Living Language. I like the LingQ audio much better.

Is the “teach yourself book/CDs” the same thing that ASSIMIL?

Actually, I think Assimil does a more efficient job of building up the basic foundations for learning your target language. You get grammar in necessary but small chunks; more importantly, the audio contains only the target language. Assimil is bilingual, so learners can look or not look at the translation. I actually like this feature a whole lot. I used Teach Yourself for Italian two summers ago, and well, frankly I did not like it all because there was too much English on the audio. I guess it depends on one’s disposition, personal tastes, etc., For me, Assimil tops Teach Yourself.

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I don’t know ‘Teach yourself’, but I like Assimil very much! I still study very intensively Assimil French and I like the excellent speakers in the audios and the humourous lessons very much.

Cecile - Teach Yourself and Assimil are not the same.

“Assimil” is originally French (which is one reason why there are still courses that haven’t been translated to English), and consists of short lessons you can do everyday for three months (plus another three months for the active wave). Target language only (four CDs, ~45 minutes each)

“Teach Yourself” is more classical, ~20 lessons + one or two CDs (~45 minutes), grammar, exercises. Comparable to “Colloquial”.

I’m Yvette on this on, I think Assimil trumps Teach Yourself, at least for European languages. I prefer to suck down what I can and get as much of the language in my head. I see too many people- even with a language that’s supposed to easy for English speakers like Spanish- get too bent on the grammar structures when they used something like Teach Yourself, which in my view is just a dumbed down version a classroom textbook. The only step up it has on the classroom is price and the fact you’re doing it yourself.

I’m not a particularly great fan of the Teach Yourself series, since there is often too much English on the CDs, which requires spending several hours cutting it all out, and the amount of content is miniscule compared to just about anything Assimil or Linguaphone have on offer. They make a good supplementary series, though. I have courses in Danish, Swedish, Bulgarian and Vietnamese.

I know there was a lot of English on the Korean CDs but I seem to remember that the Russian was clean. I am not gong to go back and listen. Russian Assimil is good, not so the Korean.

The new Complete Russian by TY which as a new layout but the content is identical version of the TY Russian, as English at the start of every dialogues and exercises. I find that very annoying since the introduction in English is already printed in the book. I can read read if I choose to but I should not be obligated to do so. On another matter, the track number printed on the book doesn’t match the track on the cd. Overall, I think the new TY Russian is of lesser quality than the previous versions.

Assimil: le nouveau Russe sans peine (2004) is an atrocious book. It only have 70 lessons for a language as hard as Russian. The progression is really ‘spiky’ and cause more frustrations than anythings else. The pronunciation guidline is inefficient and confusing. How I am suppose to know what is a ‘i mouillé’. Finally the grammar explanations aren’t explanaid well. In fact, they don’t really explain the case system.

So, Assimil can be a good method for some people but the quality vary enormously between edition and language. So does Teach Yourself series but to a lesser degree.

To me it almost does not matter what little starter book you use, and then get onto LingQ as soon as you can.

We are also working on making it easier to start from scratch at LingQ.

Yeah I ignore most of the fluff anyway so it doesn’t really matter. All beginner books are going to give you about the same thing, I find.

I used a Spanish book (Sol Y Viento actually) that I got from the used bookstore for a dollar or so for beginning Spanish and I don’t feel like I lack too much that I would have gained elsewhere.

But as far as Teach Yourself specifically, I like the Turkish one I have. I’ll never forget “Ekmek var mı?” even though I don’t study Turkish. Their dialogs have a way of piercing into your skull and latching on to your mind.

Sol, you put it so well. Most of these language books are about 90% fluff and 10% actual language content. I find that the fluff can help as long as we don’t spend too much time on it, or think we are going to learn it or remember it right away.

Yeah, it just seems like it’s really difficult to remember as a beginner.

But it does kind of give you an indication about what to look for when going through a text or something.

For the grammatical explanations, I actually like to get the biggest tome I can which is something I have noticed I disagree with your videos in. But yeah I don’t actually look at it much/if at all until late into study. For the beginner books I just use the part that’s read out and skim the vocabulary I guess.