A Brilliant Resource for Persian Language.

Persian Language

Persian is such a beautiful language and to here it spoken is even better.  This ancient language has roots in the Achaemenid Empire and has a prestigious cultural aura with more than 100 million speakers.

The book contains clear crisp explanations, delineation and overall progression. The book explains the system for consonants, vowels as well as combinations of the same. The book has a huge library of vocabulary that are laid out in a simplistic yet efficient and reader-friendly manner.  Each chapter has is well formatted with charts and tables that are effective illustrations.

Speech and statement variations are included. The books gives guidelines on how to translate certain tenses used in indirect speech. Readers are able to understand subject-verb agreements with   rules pertaining to imperative and subjunctive, conditionals and wishes. It provides common usage of formal and colloquial language.

The book is quite comprehensive and intense with incredibly useful resources included.  A lot of Persian text, grammar structure and conversational notations are within the purview of this book. I found this is a good fit for students or learners with intermediate knowledge.   This book is one of the best as a workbook for learners.


Italian Simplified in 12 weeks

Italian Language

Italy is famous for coffee, fashion and fast foods; I had planned to visit Rome with family for my thanksgiving holiday last year. After making the plans a couple of months in advance I decided to learn a few words and phrases to help me out during my trip.

This book surpassed my expectations as with numbered sections in the 12 week program. As a beginner I found the book very engaging with the Italian grammar system clearly spelt out. It stresses on understanding the rules rather than just simple cramming. The exercise and sample conversation tests help a learner’s vocabulary get better and better with each week.

The introductory weeks stress on greetings and making small conversations. At the end of the first few weeks you should be able to perform greetings, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, book a room and find your way when you are lost.  Basic rules for pronunciation are explained with vowel and conjunctions patterns also included.  If you get stuck with the pronunciation use the CDs included which help you master the sounds and tonal variations.

Although this book tends to have this feel that is it designed for tourists and people travelling to Italy for business, it is pretty great as a self-teaching book.


Learning Arabic the Fun Easy Way

Arabic Language

It is not easy finding a book that covers a huge amount of material and doesn’t bog down the reader half way through. This book demystifies the notion that learning Arabic is one of the most daunting tasks out there.

The book is divided into 51 units which are carefully layout and carefully written as you smoothly move section by section. Learners can be able to get the correct spelling of letters, symbols shapes and phonological characteristics of letters. At the end of every chapter there is a recap that helps learners absorb the contents. Exercises are available to test your progress.

The book encompasses all the elements in Arabic grammar.  Arabic language writing systems and grammar paradigm is captured excellently in this book.  Users are also introduced gradually to new words after a well designed vocabulary presentation.  The book also delves into deeper parts of speech such as mood marking and vowel transformations to inflect active imperfect for pass voice.

Language variations are available throughout the book with citations are of books and journals included in the text.  This book is no doubt a great introduction guide but is also appropriate for advanced learners.


Dutch in 3 Months

Dutch Language

I am a student of history, somewhat fascinated by study of history books and texts. I came across this great Dutch book on my area of interest and it was in, you guessed it…Dutch. Unfortunately despite my enthusiasm I couldn’t get a translated version of the book. That is  when I decided to get acquitted with some Dutch.

I was referred by my friend to the book Dutch in 3 months. Well after  going through the book, I was quite impressed. What I liked about this book is the structure and timelines. Often you find books that cram everything, pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence and dialogue structure in such a short time span that the learner is not able to get any meaningful progress.

This 12 week program starting with basic vowels, consonants , spelling rules and basic grammar. As you  progress further in the book, you find it easy to pronounce and write words, use of strong verbs, commands and adjectives.

The book has plenty of exercise, drills and conversation examples. In case you need any help with pronunciation, the CDs included come in very handy. There is also a mini-dictionary and an index for guidance.  After the 12 weeks  easily speak some basic and intermediate Dutch, pretty cool.


Spanish in 12 Weeks

Spanish Language

I have tried a couple of books in attempts to learn Spanish. Most don’t have a systematic teaching structure, while others are poorly designed.  After shopping for a while, I got hold of this book.  I have to admit, this is the best one by far.

The cover of the book just catches your eye and the contents get you hooked.  The book is divided into 12 themed chapters. These chapters are ideally broken down in 15 minute daily lessons. Making it pretty easy to fit into my schedule.  The book is good especially helpful with breaking down pronunciations of words.

Each section of the chapters is divided into 5 subsections. There is an introduction warm up, followed by a list of words to remember. After that a sample conversation is provided, then a list of useful phrases. Finally there is the practice section called, “call it” where learners are able to test their progress on the work.

The book is illustrated with high definition images that simulate real life scenarios. These include greetings, travel, making arrangements, shopping, getting directions, health,  leisure and socializing. Pretty much anything you could require when visiting a Spanish speaking place.  At the end of the book there is a comprehensive English-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionaries.


All About Everyday Practical Korean Use

Korean Language

Until recently, I was always fascinated with ancient martial arts movies, mostly Chinese and Korean. Other than the high impact movie stunts and action, I have always liked Korean language. Unknown to most people,  Korean has it’s own writing system developed in the 15th century. It has 19 consonants and 21 vowels and is commonly known as Hangeul.

This book shows learners the correct positioning of the tongue, lips and  throat when uttering consonants and vowels.  Basic sentence structure is taught with both written and speech examples.  Listening to the audio CD plays a great part in understanding the correct pronunciation of the words. Conjugation and omission of parts of speech are also well outlined.

The explanations are very well outlined breaking down complex rules such that newbies are able to grasp the lessons in the shortest time possible.  The edits are quite exquisite in terms of styles, normal expressions and speech patterns.

This is probably one of the best books geared toward learning Korean. I feel the book is appropriate for learners with  little to no knowledge of Korean. It has the perfect grammar and self-guide program.  It is pretty straightforward and you can listen to the audio while driving or taking the subway. Enjoyed the learning experience.

Korean Practical

Complete Guide to Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese Language

This book provides a complete guide for novices in the art of Chinese brush writing. Throughout the 14 chapters readers can acquire knowledge in the linguistic, cultural, historical and philosophical facets of Chinese philosophy. There are plenty of clear explanations and many examples.

The book pays respect to the ancient cultural, historic and artistic techniques. The introduction gives the reader a view of traditional brush writing techniques. Primary focus is on stroke techniques, art of composition and the structure of Chinese characters. The first two introductory chapters give a glimpse of the formation of Chinese characters, stroke types, components and major layout patterns.  Throughout the 3rd to 5th chapter fundamental individual strokes are introduced and clearly illustrated.     Models are introduced and the basic 101 stroke-order rules are properly laid out.

The next chapters 6 and 7 get deeper in the formation of Chinese characters and their internal layout pattern composition.  The next three chapters through to 11 expound on historical factors that mould the Chinese calligraphy including development, events and knowledge base.

Chapter 12 gets down to the details and layout of patterns.  Included is a discussion of the use of the Chinese seal.  Readers get acquitted with the concept of yin and yang and its importance in the Chinese culture in chapter 13. The book’s final chapter (14) concludes on how ancient Chinese calligraphy adapted to modernization,

Focus is placed on the basic brush writing skills and may not be very resourceful for readers with advanced knowledge and skills. Whilst the book gives a step by step brush-writing skills, hands-on training is needed to achieve a competitive standard.

Chinese Calligraphy

Japanese First Course

Japanese Language

I wanted to travel to Tokyo for some business having never studied Japanese before.  In my years in business, language has always been a key factor in most negotiations. Having a little understanding of the local language goes a long way in fostering mutually-beneficial relationships.  I came across this book by the author Fudeko Obazawa Reekie which a great tool for learning Japanese.

The book explains the three different types of scripts in which the Japanese language is comprised of: HIRAGANA, KATAKANA and KANJI. The lessons in the book are audio based coming in handy when you encounter some linguistic challenges.  The audio is also a great learning tool when you are commuting or have some free time when you are on the go.

The book meticulously breaks down the three types of scripts for the learner, HIRAGANA is the phonetic equivalent of the English alphabet comprising of forty six basic symbolic letters. Learners can practice basic consonant and vowel combinations. There is a chart that explains the various columns of syllables.

KATAKANA is another phonetic script but is used for special purposes, especially writing words and borrowed from other languages.  The book provides corresponding syllable charts with examples, word pronunciations and meanings.

As you delve more in the book KANJI is explained as special characters from China which were derived from pictures. Illustrations are found throughout the book.  The book is an excellent dialogue guide for both formal and informal communication.

Japanese First Course

Thai Language and Culture for Beginners

Thai Language

Thai, is a beautiful language, I have always been intrigued by the phonetic brilliance and tonal dexterity. It is so good, that it’s spoken in not only Thailand but Assam, Northern Burma, Laos, Northern Vietnam and Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou.

I was just curious and I grabbed this book with the aim of filling my coffee time breaks with more meaningful activity.  The book is pretty interesting as well as informative. It gives clarity in Thai phrasing, word choice and general dialogue etiquette.  The lessons are presented in Thai Script and transcription symbols.

Thai language is quintessentially tonal, so care is taken in explanation of vowels and consonants. There are distinction tables categorized into Mid, Low, Falling, High and Rising.

The book comprises of four lessons. The first beginning with basic courtesy expressions in social interactions. The second lesson is helps the reader to make better self introductions, ask for directions, names of places and explanation of polite pronouns.

Lesson 4 is more intermediate for learners in a classroom setting. The last part is on information on nationality and language. Visual illustrations and additional motes help in simplification of the language and cultural elements.

Thai Language

Learning Greek the Easy way

Greek Language

I have always wondered where this idiom of “something sounding Greek” originated. That is until recently when I decided to do a little research to learn this ancient, beautiful language.  Well, after sifting through a gamut of Greek linguistic guides, I was fortunate to come across this book. After going through the entire book, felt that maybe the idiom was wrong.

The Talk Greek book gives basic language self-study setup for common situations like travel, business or fun.  The book is well layout with ten simple yet effective units for readers.  It takes on a systematic approach with numerous step-by-step presentations.  Involvement and interaction is also encompassed at each stage with numerous tips and useful hints to enable better understanding.

The book starts out with a punctuation guide with the alphabets, letter combinations and syllables.  It contains activities and exercises that are to be read out loud especially of you are looking to achieve a certain degree of proficiency. The two 60-minutes CDs that help out in getting the words right.

Plenty of consolidation activities through simple quizzes called checkpoints designed to help you learn the alphabet, words, phrases and language structure. This helps the reader to test their progress and improvising real-life situations.  Plenty of graphic and animated illustrations to guide the reader throughout the book.

Talk Greek