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Colloquial Croatian and Serbian

Title: Colloquial Croatian and Serbian

Author: Celia Hawkesworth
Format: Cassette
List Price: $49.95
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Amazon USA Price: $31.65

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Colloquial Croatian and Serbian

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Editorial Reviews

Colloquial Croatian and Serbian is easy to use and completely up-to-date. Specially written by experienced teachers for self-study or class use, the course offers you a step-by-step approach to written and spoken Croatian and Serbian.

This description applies to the Colloquial paperback only; for more information about this product please refer to the "cassette pack" record.

Product Details:
  • Audio Cassette: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Bk/CD/Cas edition (July 1, 1998)
  • ISBN: 0415161339
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.8 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 12 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Destroyed by lazyness, February 6, 2003

Reviewer: "gwilym" (Helsingfors Finland)

This could be a very good book for learning Croatian. As said below, the idea with each chapter consisting of three dialogues concerning tourism, business and a soap opera is very good since it enables the learner to cope with different situations. On the whole, the grammar is presented in a clear way and after finishing the course the learner should have a good grasp of Croatian grammar. Still, somewhere along the line someone got lazy - either the author or the people at lay out.

-Of the three different dialouges only the first in each chapter (tourism) has got decent vocabulary tables. For the other two dialouges in each chapter you do get some words, but since they aren't arranged into tables it is much harder to read and learn them. Of course you can write your own vocabulary for each of them but it will take quite some time - Routledge are the ones who should have put down that additional time.

-Speaking of vocabulary, the general vocabulary at the end of the book is a bad joke. My estimate is that even less than half of the words in the book made it to the vocabulary. It's quite frustrating to do an exercise, find a word you don't know and then for the umpteen time have to realize than the author/Routledge didn't bother to include that word either in the vocabulary.

-The exercises are quite good, but now the laziness reaches extreme hights. Only about 20% of the answers to the exercises are included in the book! I've no idea why, in every other Colloquial book I've read all the answers are given.

-Word accent in Croatian is not predictable and for some few words the accent is marked. For most it is not.

To sum up, the lack of vocabulary tables after each dialouge, the much-too-short general vocabulary and the non-existent answers to the exercises hugely diminish the value of this book. It is sad that a book with such good potential should be destroyed because someone didn't bother to add the final touch. My advice to the author: look at other books in the Colloquial series, such as Colloquial Slovak or Colloquial Lithuanian and learn from them.

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful:

exceedingly good, January 22, 2002

Reviewer: Mike Wilson (Cumbria, UK)

This must be one of the best language courses for learning the language spoken in Croatia (which is extremely close to the one spoken in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro). There are three themes running through the book, all of them useful. The first one is the familiar "English Tourists" which will give you the vocabulary for ordinary situations, just as in most other language courses. Then there is a very interesting "soap-opera", which will be most useful if you're into some flirting. Given how extremely good-looking the Croatian girls are, this section is a blessing. Then there is a further theme focusing on a businessman going to Croatia.

The grammar is very concise and well-structured, and the vocabularies in each chapter are fairly full-covering. The audio is great as well, with natural Croatian speech. There is only one small problem and that is that the course does not show whether stressed vowels are long or short.

Though focusing on the speech in Croatia, the book also contains many references to the differences between Croatian and Serbian, which I found very interesting.

Be aware that the overall rating of this book is rather low, NOT becuase it's a bad book (it's great) but because some people like the previous reviewer from Greece attack all books that aren't exclusively in Serbian. That is a political action that has nothing to do with the qualities of this book. As someone who have never visited the region and have no passions about the political situation in the region, I would like to see reviews focusing on the qualities of the book

Customer Reviews
Avg. Customer Review:
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Vrlo Dobro, February 8, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
This is a great book for the beginner and those who need to brush up on their skills. Well organized, easy to follow with lessons/homework at the end of each chapter.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Very complete and challenging book, September 3, 2002

Reviewer: "organics" (Berkshire, UK)

I already speak 6 languages fairly fluently, and just starting out on croatian (pure beginner) and i borrowed both this book and Norris' book from my local town library. Hawkesworth's cassette is Definitely useless, as another reviewer said. The cassette is too fast, but u do learn some pronounciation. I feel Hawkesworth's book is a lot more detailed, and explains a lot more things. Maybe too much, for anyone who is a complete beginner. Norris' book is a lot lighter, and very good for beginners, because u really go step by step. Both are therefore very complimentary. My croatian friend agreed that they have more croatian than serbian in them.

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Did not have the tapes, but..., May 23, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
it should be noted that you will never find a book in any language that teaches you to speak exactly like people of a particular area or age group. The closest you can get is a colloquial version like this one. If you know someone from Zagreb, this is very useful, and my Serbian co-workers understand me just fine (once they got past my accent.)

Remember, English from England, Texas and Brooklyn is all different, but we have the basics to be understood in each. And the Spanish they teach in American schools is from Spain, not Puerto Rico or Mexico, but people from all three places will understand you.

You should, however, start with basic area-wide How-Do-Yo-Do's before moving on to local slang.

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