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Teach Yourself or Living Language?

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
United States
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89 posts - 113 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 Message 1 of 6
28 December 2013 at 7:38am | IP Logged 
Can someone tell me about Teach Yourself's audio? Is it all target language? How long are the CDs? Do they use
native speakers? I was thinking about buying the TY or some old Living Language stuff.

I am planning on buying some Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin & Thai material (not all at once).
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 Message 2 of 6
28 December 2013 at 9:45am | IP Logged 
If you're looking mostly at the recordings, I think the new Teach Yourself and
Living Language are far superior. Older books tend to have 45" to an hour of
recordings, and that's it. The new books come with two (Teach Yourself) to nine
(Living Language) full cd's. It's one benefit of modern technology.

I've read that the new editions aren't as intensive as the old ones. It's a trade off,
I guess - more recordings, but a less rigorous pace.

The new TY Catalan had mostly Catalan dialogues and drills. The new LL Japanese had a
mix of only-Japanese dialogues, Japanese-English dialogues, and English-heavy drills
(at least in the beginning). I assume other languages would be similar.

I was really impressed with the LL Japanese. It's a bit less intensive than TY, but for
me the pacing really helped. If I ever go back to Arabic I think this would be my
personal choice.

(There's also a Platinum Living Language series that sounds like it's trying to compete
with Rosetta Stone, with online tutors and support. I haven't heard any reviews on it,
and didn't think it would be worth the price).

Edited by kanewai on 28 December 2013 at 10:39am

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 Message 3 of 6
28 December 2013 at 10:23am | IP Logged 
All the Teach Yourself courses that I have seen have lots of English in the audio. I edit it down to dialogs only which in my experience comes to about 50 or 60 minutes.

EDIT: I did a quick check of a few of the courses that I have edited:

TYS Beginner's Chinese 57 minutes
TYS Chinese 43 minutes
TYS Chinese Complete 53 minutes

Edited by newyorkeric on 28 December 2013 at 3:54pm

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Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 Message 4 of 6
28 December 2013 at 12:41pm | IP Logged 
In my experience the Living Language Hindi for Beginners is not very good. One selling point is that it comes with 6 CDs, but that is not an advantage. The first two CDs are just like any other course: the readings, dialogues, etc. So what's on the other 4 CDs? Every Hindi word in the textbook. It sounds like a good idea, but it is actually useless, because they are just read, one after another, without any context. So if a single word appears in an English paragraph, it is read. If there is a table of verb forms, it is just read without any indication of which form is what. It turns out to be a complete waste of time. The textbook isn't too bad, but I felt it was too simplistic.

I count myself as a fan of the whole suite of Teach Yourself Hindi. The original Teach Yourself Hindi book (now Teach Yourself Complete Hindi) gets rather tough quite quickly, and some have complained that it's too grammatical. But on a different forum, I followed an American housewife who used it as her only source. She had questions for those of us who were more advanced than her, but she kept working at it. She went directly from it to reading native books with a dictionary.

Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi (I think now it's called Get Started in Hindi) is a perfect textbook, in my opinion. The progress suited me perfectly, not too steep, not to shallow. The exercises are varied and interesting while being challinging yet attainable. I also used Teach Yourself Hindi Conversation since I like audio learning. There is a fair bit of English instruction on this course, but it suited me well.

Another advantage the Teach Yourself Hindi books have is that the author, Rupert Snell, has created a wealth of supplementary audio material which is available to download for free from The Hindi-Urdu Flagship. These include vocabulary podcasts for each chapter of TY Hindi (called Glossaries Alive), as well as more advanced discussions of vocabulary on a variety of topics, called Spoken Thesaurus. The website has loads of other resources, including two free readers.
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 Message 5 of 6
28 December 2013 at 2:08pm | IP Logged 
The Living Language Ultimate series and Beyond the Basics series are very good courses. The audio is entirely in the target language. The dialogues are done well (a bit dry) and the lessons are quite useful.
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 Message 6 of 6
29 December 2013 at 11:52am | IP Logged 
(I've never tried Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin & Thai).

Most of my Teach Yourself audios run for 5x to 6x minutes, with German running for 80 minutes, after removing all English and trimming blank parts to 1 or 2 seconds long.

They seem to be native speakers, and seem to have proper pronunciation.

Edited by smallwhite on 29 December 2013 at 11:54am

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