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Colloquial Welsh: The Complete Course for Beginners

Title: Colloquial Welsh: The Complete Course for Beginners

Author: Gareth King
Format: Paperback
List Price: $39.95
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Amazon USA Price: $26.37

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Colloquial Welsh: The Complete Course for Beginners

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Editorial Reviews
Alan R. King, LINGUIST
"I am sure that for many people these books will have had the effect of putting modern spoken Welsh firmly on the map..."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Description:
Finding a course on spoken Welsh has been difficult, if not impossible--until now. Complete with all the written grammar work you have come to expect, Colloquial Welsh, in its two cassettes, takes you through a number of dialect variations making this the first truly "communicative" approach to Welsh.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Bk/CD/Cas edition (April 1, 1995)
  • ISBN: 0415107857
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 2.1 inches
  • Average Customer Review: based on 5 reviews.

Customer Reviews
Avg. Customer Review:

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

The best guide to Welsh, January 23, 2002

Reviewer: Mike Wilson (Cumbria, UK)

Welsh is the traditional language of all Britain (south of the Highlands) before the coming of the "German" Saxons. It is also the language of King Arthur, Merlin and many other tales. This lends Welsh a quite mystic and emotional feel, further enhanced by being spoken in the mountain regions of Welsh. Thus, Welsh is a very ancient cultural language. However, it is also a very healthy modern language, being used in all spheres of modern life in Wales.

I first started to learn Welsh using some other books, but as soon as I began with this book I realised that it was superior to the others. True, the first two or three chapters could be a bit more organised, but apart from that the book has got it all. The grammar is very well explained and the learner really gets to know every aspect of the grammar of spoken Welsh. All lessons have got some dialouges with extensive word-lists and a lot of excersises. As the icing on the cake, you also get an introduction to different aspects of Wales and Welsh in every chapter, with short introductions about dialects, eisteddfodau, Welsh politics etc.

I have visited Welsh a number of times, and I have found that this book has helped me a lot. I have been able to communicate extensively with Welsh speakers, I have taken part in cultural activities in Welsh, I have been able to read the Welsh epics.

Of course, to really learn a language you have to speak it with its native speakers, but this book is the best tutor you could get and I do not doubt the Finnish reader below who says that he went to Wales and communicated in Welsh after completing this excellent course.

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Emphasis on the spoken word, July 7, 2001

Reviewer: "nwoebcke" (Bedford, MA)

Welsh is a confusing language. Period. I speak almost fluent French, some German and Spanish but I must admit that Welsh is the "major league" of languages. I'm heading over to Wales for a few weeks in about a month and I wanted to brush up on the language in case I got lost and needed directions.

At about the beginning of the tape, the orator mentions that he wants you to listen closely to the Welsh language and that confusion at first is normal until after many listening experiences. Immediately following there are several conversations on the tape with people speaking Welsh very quickly. I think the idea was that you should pretend you are sitting in a cafe in Wales and listening to all these different conversations. Deciphering what they are saying is like a puzzle left to the reader.

Unfortunately, Mr. King neglects to give you much grammar or vocabulary at the beginning. For example, after many repetitions I learned to say "Maen dda gen i gwrd a chi" which means "Pleased to meet you". Thanks to the tape I learned how to pronounce it perfectly. However, ask me what any of those words mean and I haven't a clue (except maybe 'chi' which I deduced meant 'you'). Even the brief dictionary in the back didn't help. In the same chapter he then describes the names of all the different occupations. How about simple conjugations of the verb 'to be'? I'll learn the occupations after I know how to say, "Where is the supermarket?"

All in all, this is an important book however since the pronounciation of the Welsh language is so difficult and counter intuitive. It is important to learn how to pronounce a foreign language correctly the first time around because once it becomes ingrained it's very hard to unlearn it. I recommend you buy a more fundamental book however to complement this one, especially if you've had no exposure to the language before.

I gave this book 4 stars because of the authors emphasis on correct pronounciation and modern-day dialects.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

The best foundation for learning Welsh, May 13, 2001

Reviewer: Verena Blackburn "verenablackburn" (Kennewick, Washington United States)

So, where do you start to learn an ancient language? We acquired our own language by listening, and we began a second language in school by study of the written word. The second language never takes full seed until we have the opportunity to hear it and use it. This book and cassette combination is an ideal way begin learning a second language to the same degree that we each speak our native tongue. Gareth King has nailed the foundation beautifully. Admittedly, he makes few allowances for the slow, but in fact he plunges the student into a listening situation, through the cassettes, that would be similar to immersion in Wales itself. When backed up by the analytical approach in the book, this is a sure-fire course for the serious student.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Poorly organized, too confusing, February 8, 2001

Reviewer: "topaze15" (Charlotte, NC United States)

OK, one thing I must concede is that Welsh is a difficult language to try to teach and learn. However, I feel this program could be better, needs to be better. I haven't finished the program, I'm not even halfway through. Already I have been confused by the incongruence between the recordings and the book, answers in the back of the book that seem to contradict the lessons, and poor organization of the information on the page, especially for visual types like me, the book is a mess! Also, there are apparently two different Welshes - northern Welsh and southern Welsh. The two Welshes use different common expressions and words. This book throws it all at you at once, and it's too confusing to try to separate whether you are speaking northern or southern. It would have been much better to concentrate on one at a time.

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent book for learning spoken Welsh!, January 19, 2000
Reviewer: A reader
This is THE outstanding book for anyone who whants to learn Welsh. It consists of 16 chapters, each one of them containing dialouges, readings, grammar, excersices, vocabularies and descriptions of Wales and of Welsh culture. It is easy to follow, and by the end of it you will be able to converse for hours with Welsh-speakers. (I dear to say this since I myself went to Wales after completing this course and spoke no English for three weeks...) The emphasis is, of course, on the spoken language, and within this area it is beyond doubt the best Welsh course available. I highly recommend it.

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