What's the point in textbooks?

For the same problem, we can find more than one solution. Different books may try to explain the same thing from different direction. From this point of view, i think every book has its only value, we just need to see if it suits ourselves.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone presenting their opinions and personal experience on a topic.

I was expecting lectures because I’d been searching for lectures on linguistics.

I’ve still learned a lot from his videos.

The guy obviously knows what he’s talking about. Whether his approach will work for others, is another thing completely. I’d like to think that there are several possible models, which will have some overlap and within each of those approaches, there will also be variations based on various things (type of language, relatedness to already known languages, materials, purpose, etc).


In general, I would certainly agree that Prof Arguelles knows what he’s talking about. But I just found that his most recent video didn’t offer very much practical advice.

For sure, if you have the time (and money!) for lengthy home-stays with foreign tutors, then you’ll make some big progress. But how many of us have the resources in time and money for home-stays? Likewise, if you can find a vast number of graded readers and bilingual texts in topics of personal interest, then I don’t doubt that this will give you a lot of progress too. But how many of these readers are there to be found - even for the most commonly studied languages? (I reckon you would need 30 of them - at the very least!)

I like Prof Arguelles and I think he generally talks a lot of sense. But I don’t think he (or anybody) has got all of the answers.

On the contrary, I find the advice here gave there to be very practical. Finding the resources to do it yourself, would be the problem but I think it’s entirely possibly for many languages (he does note that it’s much harder for others). I think you underestimate the lengths the man goes to, to pursue language knowledge. If he had a language to learn, with only a grammar, a dictionary and a single book to read, that man would do it! I can guarantee that. (Although it would have to be the best damn book in the world because he’s quite fond of literature…)

I think that his greatest power as a language learner is his flexibility. His skill in taking what he can get, and turning it into a ‘technique’ is amazing. I envy his skill to do so. Hopefully, in a decade or two, I’ll develop that same ability! haha

I don’t even have the money to buy all the textbooks that Prof Arguelles recommends you to work through. That’s assuming they are available in your native / target language combination.


If you’re totally broke, be a fox and go to uz-translations! (There you can find much Robin Hoodery!)

On the other hand, if you’re a ‘Liam Fox’, then you’re not so much ‘broke’ as Brokeback Mountain…I guess…:-0

The little site from Uzbekistan! haha

I have 3 shelves full of foreign language material, but they surely have much which I don’t.

Different strokes for different folks, obviously. There are good and bad textbooks, as well as good and bad web sites. One can even learn a language without spending a dime (even without turning to torrents - FSI and Lernu.net come to mind).

“How much do you spend per language?”:

If you don’t like (or believe in) textbooks, then don’t buy any. As simple as that.

Man, I spend a heap more on language books. I avoid the crap for bigger languages but for smaller ones, it’s really necessary to get whatever’s available.

In a way this is similar to the old “Who buys records anymore?” debate. I buy records, and would never consider buying an mp3 file (no matter the quality) since a file (for me at least) doesn’t feel like a real thing. Others may disagree. If I have the record in front of me, I know where it is, it’s mine and so on. Same with a book on languages. A book is a nice thing to have.

I’m not so fused really on the physicality of it all, it’s really a matter of practicality. I’ve got digital copies of books. It all depends on what activity I want to do. I’ll print out an entire book or scan in parts of a book to use on the computer.

I noticed that the FSI website has a lot of content for languages that LingQ has but hasn’t got content for. It also says that it is in the public domain. Does that mean we would be able to ‘cut’ sections of the audio from the content on this website and use their transcripts to create and share lessons on LingQ?

That’s a good idea Peter, except one thing. The audio of those courses is often terrible. It would be better if someone typed out the lessons then gave those to a native speaker to rerecord. What do you think? The lack of audio quality keeps me away from those courses. (Because I’ve love to be able to test if the approach will even work for me).

The only thing that puts me off is the reading aloud of individual words, hence wanting to ‘cut’ the dialogs out.