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The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners (Penguin Handbooks) [Amazon Upgrade] [Paperback]

Nicholas J. Brown
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 1996 0140120416 978-0140120417
Whether you're learning alone or attending classes, you'll find this complete Russian language course for beginners both accessible and indispensable. Designed to provide the student with an excellent command of basic Russian (the equivalent of A level standard) this book features thirty lessons punctuated by revision exercises to ensure you have fully understood what you have learned. The emphasis is on acquiring vocabulary, experiencing conversational language and learning useful grammar. This book also includes a vocabulary of 1,500 words and a glossary of grammatical terms.

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The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners (Penguin Handbooks) + Russian Grammar (Quickstudy Academic Outline) + The Everything  Learning Russian Book with CD: Speak, write, and understand Russian in no time!
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Handbooks
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140120416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140120417
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
535 of 537 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book for Beginners Learning Russian from Scratch November 28, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've compared dozens of books about learning Russian from scratch, and this one is the best. There are advanced grammar texts out there which have more information, but they aren't geared toward beginners. The beauty of this book is that if you know absolutely nothing about Russian, you can start at the beginning and work your way through each lesson in the order presented, and by the time you're done, you will have a solid understanding of Russian grammar. Not only that, but you'll have a vocabulary of some of the most useful words in the Russian language.
When I first started studying Russian, I had no teachers or classes or cassette tapes to help me. My eighth grade math teacher gave me a copy of the original version of The Penguin Russian Course, which was compiled by J.L.I. Fennell and published in 1961. The methodology was logical and straightforward with no spoonfeeding or watered-down grammar lessons accompanied by cutsy cartoon pictures. In each lesson, you would first memorize a list of new vocabulary words. Then you would study several concise grammar principles which were clearly explained. Third, you would examine a brief Russian text which incorporated the new vocabulary and applied the new grammar principles which you had just learned in the lesson. Finally, you would translate an English text into Russian to test yourself on the new vocabulary and grammar. At the end of the book was a key which showed the correct translation of the English text into Russian, so you could check yourself.
This new version of the Penguin Russian Course is not as concise and straightforward as the first version, but it's actually better. Nicholas J. Brown has incorporated the original structure of J.L.I.
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258 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of attention from serious students April 10, 2003
By K. Pace
It's easy to see from the reviews for this book that there are more than one type of language learner. If you want Russian spoon-fed to you, forget it and learn Italian, French, etc. Russian only becomes usable when you have all of the inflected endings organized and stored in your head. And the only way to accomplish that is by studying with some degree of passion.
I used this book along with the 3 pimsleur sets on russian and now have a very strong foundation to proceed into advanced studies. This book has a good mix of grammar and texts to translate. I never felt overwhelmed. That said, I progressed on a two-steps-forward and one-step-back basis. You will too if you want to learn Russian, so don't sweat it. It's normal. I was relieved when I got to chapter 10 or so and the book said something about "you have now met X number of words and have probably forgot most of them. That's ok. Just learn them again and it will get easier."
My one regret with the book: I wish there was a workbook for more exercises. The exercises in the book are good, but I had to make up my own to really become accomplished at slinging those endings the way I wanted.
Stay away from this book if you are looking for nice phrases for travelers. This book will teach you only if you put the right kind of effort into your studies.
I have dozens of books on Russian and this is the one that taught me what I needed to know.
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140 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Introduction January 28, 2002
The main strength of this book is its completeness. By using this book alone it is possible to obtain a good understanding of basic Russian. No other reference is necessary, thus for a single volume course this has no equal. By any standards this is a good book.
There are weaknesses. Dependent on your point of view, the focus on an academic type course of instruction with rigorous grammar might not appeal to some (and attract others), as stated in the introduction, one of the books objectives is to bring the reader up to UK 'A' Level standard (Roughly equivalent to the first two years of an American College course). This isn't one of those 'jaunty' conversational type courses, as reflected perhaps in the lack of an audio medium such as a CD or Cassette being available.
I'd recommend this book to Russian Students and those wanting a sound academic grounding in Russian. For those whom wish to just converse in basic Russian (lets say for a tourist or business trip) it may be better to look at other courses that are combined with an Audio package.
However if you have additional access to a Russian speaker or are based in Russia I'd not hesitate to recommend this book as your first choice of instruction.
Again, as a single volume, and if I could have only one Russian book this would be it. No question about it.
For those reasons I'd give it 5 starts for a self-contained course, 4 stars for an academic instructional course, and 2 stars if you just want a quick intro to conversational Russian.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've found for learning Russian. November 28, 1998
I've bought Golosa (including the tapes), New Penguin Russian Course, Living Language CD, Passport to Russian, and a couple of others. This book is the best. We moved to Russia 4 months ago, and this book was really helpful in getting us going on vocabulary, cases, tenses, etc.
It is also the only book I've found with exercises. I'm now having our Russian tutor use this book in teaching me, as it seems better than having her create her own course from scratch.
Do wish it came with a CD or tape, for helping with sounds.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book for beginners, engaging and easy to read.
This is a very very good book to begin learning Russian grammar and basics. I always thought learning a language from a book would be incredibly difficult. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Jane Burt
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introductory Book
Wanted to learn Russian on my own and it is great for that purpose. User friendly and easy to follow. Read more
Published 24 days ago by mickeymouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very good and complete book! It explains very well and also has exercises, which help us to learn faster. I recommend!!!
Published 1 month ago by Lorran
3.0 out of 5 stars Usefull book for beginners. No CD
It is a usefull book for beginners.
It is very basics with a positive initial
phonetic trasription of the words.
Unfortunately without CD.
Published 1 month ago by Pierluigi DADDI
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality.
Nice quality, penguin is always a great choice. NOT a hard cover. Smaller than i thought it was going to be.
Published 2 months ago by Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference and good for beginners
I've been dating a Russian speaker for 5 years and I finally decided to try to learn it so I could talk to some of his family members whose English isn't very good and have an... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Isabella Sanfelipo
3.0 out of 5 stars a good product but somewhat dated
This is a quality product but a little too much of a grammar manual rather than a real teaching tool. Read more
Published 2 months ago by weissliv
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Explanations are excellent... It's really something you can use if you are planning to star learning the language by yourself.
Published 3 months ago by VE269059 ALEJANDRO VALENCIA
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Classroom Use
I'm potentially going to be teaching a Russian language class next year, and it's at a highschool that has never had Russian before, so I was checking out textbooks. Read more
Published 3 months ago by RavenCorbie
4.0 out of 5 stars Logical way to learn Russian
Very easy to follow, and written in a very logical way, which would make learning Russian easy and fun. You will not get bored.
Published 3 months ago by Luis Rodriguez
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