Self-Study Materials 2

In the first Self-Study Materials overview we covered the big names of Assimil, Linguaphone, FSI, etc. This time we’ll go over a few of the other big names; the big names that many of our readers will be more familiar with – Teach Yourself, Colloquial, Hugo and Living Language. Teach Yourself: In many parts of the world, the TY Series is the best on offer. This isn’t a bad thing per se since the course offers quite a solid introduction and is available in a large number of languages. The modern courses provide dialogues with audio and some grammatical explanations in an overview format. To be honest, I don’t really like the modern TY courses. However, the older TY courses I find invaluable (circa 1960-70’s). These courses are heavily influenced by the grammar translation method where each chapter provides English and you are asked to translate to your target language, and also provides target language where you are asked to translate into English. I don’t see grammar translation as being as bad as is made out… If you use the text in the way that you practically ignore target language to English translations and instead opt for understanding the target language, then you are doing the right thing. The second step is to look at the English to target language sections as being merely prompts that you are free to expand upon. As testament to these great TY products from the 60’s and 70’s, I’m proud to say that I own texts in 10-15 languages. Colloquial: Like the TY Series, Colloquial is available is a multitude of languages. The structure is much the same as the TY Series. And also like the TY Series, the older courses offer more than the modern with regard to content. I will say that I prefer the modern Colloquial courses to the modern TY courses, but if you have the chance, try to get an older publication. I personally find the publications from the 90’s quite pleasant and informative, and you have the added bonus of usually being able to get a hold of the audio to go with it. Hugo in Three Months: Another overview course like the TY and Colloquial but with a few differences. The main one being that I find the Hugo audio more useful and a little more natural to the others. I’ve only really been through the Japanese course though, so whether this is across the board or not is yet to be seen. I have copies of Spanish and French from the 70’s and don’t really enjoy them and the same can be said of the...

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