- Series: TY: Complete Courses
- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (April 6, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 007143433X
- ISBN-13: 978-0071434331
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,702,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Teach Yourself Vietnamese Complete Course Package (Book + 2CDs) (TY: Complete Courses) 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Dana Healyhas a Ph.D.in Vietnamese Language and Literature and has been a lecturer in Vietnamese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, since 1989
Top customer reviews
The Foreign Service Institute offers free recordings and texts for a basic course in Southern Vietnamese, although they are outdated: [...]
Having said that, there are some problems that are worthwhile paying attention to:
1) The pronunciation section is seriously incomplete. Not only are the sounds inadequately described in the book, it totally ignores the fact that there are three quite different pronunciations of the language. I had learned some Vietnamese years ago from Vietnamese neighbours in Australia who were from Saigon and the Ha Noi pronunciation used in this book is different enough from their accent to totally bewilder someone who was trying to understand a Southerner or Central Vietnamese speaker. Although there are no dialects as such in Vietnamese and most native speakers can understand all the accents with little difficulty, foreigners trying to learn the language don't find it anywhere near as easy. It seems almost cruel to send foreigners, already struggling to cope with the difficulties of Vietnamese pronunciation even under ideal circumstances, into a situation where they will probably only understand speakers from the North of the country. This is made worse, when one considers that most U.S. and Australian learners for example, will primarily have contact with Southerners who left after the war and, if they travel to Vietnam, are most likely to visit Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). It's a bit like teaching English to someone and only exposing them to the accent predominant in say, the U.S. state of Georgia, when you know full well that they will be living in London England for two years.
Having said that,there are, in fact, one or two Central-sounding speakers on the CD but their pronunciation is merely "slipped in" with no explanation which is bound to create confusion about why this person has such a "strange" accent. A bit like tossing a Texan or a Glaswegian randomly into an English language CD where everyone else speaks London Middle-class standard.
2) The Teach Yourself series is normally a treasure-trove of small, interesting cultural notes- not so this book. More notes on how Vietnamese language and culture are tied together would be much appreciated. Some information on varieties of pronunciation for example (assuming they didn't want to offer a comprehensive overview of Southern and Central accents for some reason) could have at least been noted in a paragraph on culture.
3) The CD is badly flawed. Unlike many of the other commentators here, I have no objection to the speed. Vietnamese is spoken quickly- get used to it as quickly as you can. There is a book and if you read along, it isn't tough to follow the speakers as they speak very clearly overall. The accent issue has already been dealt with so I won't go on about it further though it's my single, greatest complaint (despite the fact that the Northern pronunciation is the clearest, least confusing and easiest to imitate).
My basic problem with the CD is that not everything is there. It just skips whole sections and, in general, just doesn't provide enough good listening time. To learn Vietnamese I want as much aural exposure as I can get as pronunciation is one of the biggest barriers for most learners.
All in all, this course does indeed have inadequacies. On the positive side however, the book is well laid-out, logical and well-structured and, for the patient student (and let's face it, if you aren't patient you should forget even trying to learn this language right away) it's actually rather rewarding. I'm glad I decided to buy it in the end as, despite its flaws, it's still probably the best self-teaching course available (at least as far as I know).