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Easy Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2000
This book will be most helpful for people who already know basic Russian, but who just want to brush up a little bit before a trip. Since I fall into this category, I found this phrasebook to be moderately helpful. The book consists of 10 chapters and a basic Russian-English dictionary. Each chapter covers a different topic (food, transportation, etc.). The topics themselves are well chosen and most of the phrases are things you really would want to say. However, in reality there are many ways to ask or say the same thing, and Rolbin often seems to choose the most difficult constructions. Many of these choices seem arbitrary. Be forewarned that many of the "easy phrases" in this book are long, full sentences, not short, quick phrases. A lot of these phrases sound stiff and formal to my ear - it's very "proper" Russian, not what you'll necessarily hear or use in reality. Some of these long sentences will be quite difficult for a beginner to memorize, although they can be helpful to people with some knowledge of the language. Also, since the book includes no basic grammar, it will offer you no help if you need to make a substitution in a phrase. For example, it will tell you how to reserve a table for three people, but give you no help if you need to reserve a table for five. You can memorize how to say "I need," but not "we need." If you are really looking for an easy phrasebook, I recommend the Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook instead. Nevertheless, Rolbin's book makes for a quick read and it's probably worth buying if you want to do some low-key reviewing of everyday phrases.
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on June 18, 2013
Not a Russian "course" in book form, but an excellent pocket guide to learning and remembering words and phrases for key situations.
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