Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

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Diomedes
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Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Diomedes » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:07 pm

Hello,

This is my first post in the forum. I believe this is the right place for the question I'm about to ask. If I posted in the wrong subforum, please accept my apologies.

There is one language program I'm very fond of, the old yellow TY books from the 1940s-1970s. They have no audio, as far as I know, but they usually work as a nice complement to programs in the vein of Assimil, Linguaphone, Colloquial and others, especiallly regarding grammar and reading skills.

I searched the older entries in this forum, but, although these pocket books seem to be respected by serious leaners (e. g., Alexander Arguelles in his YouTube videos), there are usually not recommended or even reviewed in depth here or elsewhere. When people refer to TY books, they are most certainly speaking about the most recent releases - that are, as you are certainly acquainted, a completely different product.

So I would like to know if more people still share my love for these gems as complementary resources to audio programs, or if they are seen as not so valuable anymore, even if they retain historical importance.

Thanks in advance.
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Le Baron
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Le Baron » Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:07 pm

The blue and yellow ones? Under that dust-jacket they're all blue anyway. :D I have quite a lot of those and have used them. The 'Russian through Reading' one was perhaps one of the initial books on Russian I used alongside the regular course book. I also have the ones for German and German grammar, Norwegian (which is Riksmål), Malay, Italian, Esperanto and somewhere in a box the ones for Swahili and Afrikaans (which is quite hard to find). I had more, but people have borrowed them and didn't return them.

I think they're good books with a lot of content and reading passages, plus grammar and explanations all in one book. At the time they were published I imagine learning speaking/pronunciation from them would have been fairly difficult. Especially for isolated learners who weren't linguists or language students. And definitely for the more unknown languages.
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tractor
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby tractor » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:35 pm

I have a few of those, and I think they're a nice supplement.
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby IronMike » Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:11 am

I love them as supplementary, as well as filling my language bookshelves. I have several and I buy ones for languages I don't have yet when I find them in used book stores. So count me among those in favor.
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Diomedes
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Diomedes » Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:01 am

I'm happy to see that more people actually use them! I also own more than a dozen - and yes, the ones in hardcovers that lost their dust-jackets are all blue now ;) - but always questioned my own preference for them, because they sometimes can look a bit like a collector's fetish. What keeps me searching for them in my bookshelves is the feeling that they give me a language in a nutshell as far as possible (which, of course, is much bigger than a nutshell, in the end).

Another factor that makes me fond of them (and that is perhaps related to the fetish thing) is their frugality. In the digital age, to realize that these tiny physical books made during the war times may still be a more effective way to develop reading (and not just that) skills than (most of?) trendy apps and today's "fast courses" is fascinating. Well, of course we also need an audio-based course, but we can combine the best of both worlds, can't we?
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby guyome » Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:46 am

I've used the Persian and Turkish ones, enjoyed them both. Some others I've looked at (Russian, Old English,...) but I can't say I've been impressed. Too much vocab in each lesson, not enough exercises.
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Fuerza » Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:00 pm

I love the old school TY books. As you mentioned they’re great as a supplement to a conversation course, especially something like Pimsleur. That said, they’re also great as a primary source for people like me who learn languages with the primary goal of developing reading proficiency. My local library system carries tons of these, which I like to use as my main source, supplementing with Pimsleur or Mango, also both free through the library, to get used to pronunciation. I find that knowing how to pronounce a language greatly improves my reading ability.
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Diomedes
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Diomedes » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:14 pm

Fuerza wrote:I love the old school TY books. As you mentioned they’re great as a supplement to a conversation course, especially something like Pimsleur. That said, they’re also great as a primary source for people like me who learn languages with the primary goal of developing reading proficiency. My local library system carries tons of these, which I like to use as my main source, supplementing with Pimsleur or Mango, also both free through the library, to get used to pronunciation. I find that knowing how to pronounce a language greatly improves my reading ability.


That's interesting. Pimsleur, and perhaps other similar audio-only courses, seem to be the exact opposite of first generation TY (text-only).

Are you acquainted with the supplementary books on the old TY series that develop even more reading proficiency? Like "TY more german", "german reader", etc... I strongly recommend them.

I did three Pimsleur complete courses in a row, more than a decade ago, and these were my first self-learning language courses as an adult that kept me motivated me enough to finish (and it was a great way to relax in traffic jams going to work). So I'm thankful.

But I'm afraid one can get a bit lost with Pimsleur without previous contact with the target language in written form. And the "prohibition" of using transcripts is quite perplexing. If I were not lucky to know how to write a bunch of words in the languages I studied with this method, I'm afraid the results could be much worse.

What I feel that Pimsleur gives you, more than the pronunciation of the phonemes, is the intonation, or, better saying, the general feeling of "how the language sounds".

So, I agree that these two courses (Pimsleur and text-only) can be complementary. But I believe a third course would be needed to fill the gaps of both courses, and that would be any resource in which the audio corresponds exactly to the text (could be current TY, Colloquial, Assimil, Hugo, Linguaphone, Living Language, etc.), even if less dense in terms of grammar and vocabulary comparing to old TY.

In short, I, personally, in the earlier stage of learning a language, would: 1) if a transcript is not available, use Pimsleur only to make productive use of my driving time, and 2) at home, would alternate text+audio resources with text-only resources.

(edit: a bit more of information added)
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Fuerza
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Fuerza » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:20 pm

Diomedes wrote:
That's interesting. Pimsleur, and perhaps other similar audio-only courses, seem to be the exact opposite of first generation TY (text-only).

Are you acquainted with the supplementary books on the old TY series that develop even more reading proficiency? Like "TY more german", "german reader", etc... I strongly recommend them.

I did three Pimsleur complete courses in a row, more than a decade ago, and these were my first self-learning language courses as an adult that kept me motivated me enough to finish (and it was a great way to relax in traffic jams going to work). So I'm thankful.

But I'm afraid one can get a bit lost with Pimsleur without previous contact with the target language in written form. And the "prohibition" of using transcripts is quite perplexing. If I were not lucky to know how to write a bunch of words in the languages I studied with this method, I'm afraid the results could be much worse.

What I feel that Pimsleur gives you, more than the pronunciation of the phonemes, is the intonation, or, better saying, the general feeling of "how the language sounds".

So, I agree that these two courses (Pimsleur and text-only) can be complementary. But I believe a third course would be needed to fill the gaps of both courses, and that would be any resource in which the audio corresponds exactly to the text (could be current TY, Colloquial, Assimil, Hugo, Linguaphone, Living Language, etc.), even if less dense in terms of grammar and vocabulary comparing to old TY.

In short, I, personally, in the earlier stage of learning a language, would: 1) if a transcript is not available, use Pimsleur only to make productive use of my driving time, and 2) at home, would alternate text+audio resources with text-only resources.

(edit: a bit more of information added)


I agree that Pimsleur’s recommendation not to use written material at the same time as their courses is perplexing, which is why I completely ignore it. If I’m confused about what I’m hearing I type the translation into google translate and play around until I find the same word used in the course. I haven’t yet found it to hinder progress in any way. I also ignore Pimsleur’s suggestion to complete only one lesson per day, as I find that painfully slow. With regard to your comment about text that matches the audio exactly, I find Mango programs to serve this purpose well. It’s probably my favorite supplement, and the more highly developed courses could probably even be used as primary material until the intermediate level.
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Diomedes
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Re: Teach Yourself books - old generation (text only)

Postby Diomedes » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:19 pm

Fuerza wrote:
I agree that Pimsleur’s recommendation not to use written material at the same time as their courses is perplexing, which is why I completely ignore it. If I’m confused about what I’m hearing I type the translation into google translate and play around until I find the same word used in the course. I haven’t yet found it to hinder progress in any way. I also ignore Pimsleur’s suggestion to complete only one lesson per day, as I find that painfully slow. With regard to your comment about text that matches the audio exactly, I find Mango programs to serve this purpose well. It’s probably my favorite supplement, and the more highly developed courses could probably even be used as primary material until the intermediate level.


I'm really curious about Mango, but to be honest, I'm much more prone to books right now, as I'm doing home office a lot and trying to reduce my daily screen time as much as I can... :D
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