For dummies

All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
Ccaesar
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For dummies

Postby Ccaesar » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:11 pm

Hello everyone! I was wondering do you have any experience with the "for dummies" programmes? I just ordered the one for Japanese (2012 edition). I thought it might be a good supplement to assimil and include a little more grammar. If anyone could either recommend the series or the opposite I would really appreciate it.
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Hiragana practiced in hand : 48 / 48
Katakana practiced in hand : 9 / 48
Kanji : 9 / 2000

Speakeasy
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Re: For dummies

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:33 pm

Ccaesar, this is a good question! I do not recall the “Dummies” series being reviewed in detail, or even being discussed, either in the HTLAL or the LLORG. There are a number of passing references, but nothing that you can hang you hat on (i.e., nothing substantial).

I have not tried any of the “Dummies” language courses. Frankly, I found the series titles demeaning. Yes, yes, I understand the notion of self-deprecating humour! Nevertheless, I refuse to pay someone to employ the “Don Rickles’ School of Humour” to insult me; I may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but I am not a dullard.

Nevertheless, as I am constantly searching for additional language-learning materials, a few years ago, I settled into a comfortable chair in a local bookstore to skim through the “German for Dummies” course book. To me, there was nothing unique in the teaching approach, the presentation was rather humdrum, and the quantity oral exercises and audio recordings were below average. That is not say that the materials were of a poor quality; rather, I believe that superior language courses exist at reasonable prices and that I would be better off spending both my money and my time with competitors’ products.

Despite the above brief review of one course in the series, I once seriously considered purchasing the “Russian for Dummies” course. Well, not only are reviews on Amazon are rather spotty, but the author posted a comment saying that he had accepted the opportunity to write this course out of financial need (he was a student at the time), that he did not know much about the language when he wrote the course, and that he agreed that the book was filled with errors. OUCH!!! This rather “killed the series” for me!

I get the impression that this publisher is attempting to replicate the idea behind the "Teach Yourself" and similar series without investing in the product (that is, by contracting the work to highly-qualified experts in the field). Seriously, there are much better language courses available than the “Dummies” series.

EDITED:
Typos, Tinkering.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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iguanamon
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Studies: Catalan
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Re: For dummies

Postby iguanamon » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:41 pm

I tried the "Catalan para dummies" course. It's a Spanish-base course. Since I'm not a neophyte learner, I found it had too much "hand-holding" and way too much L-1 for my liking. The other "para dummies" courses are translations into Spanish from English. The Catalan course doesn't exist in English. I haven't tried the courses in English-base. Like other courses these days, the audio is available online for free download.
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Ccaesar
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Languages: Danish (N) English (B2-C1) German (B1-B2) Italian(B1), Japanese (beginner)
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Re: For dummies

Postby Ccaesar » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:02 pm

Thank you very much for your feedback. It sure sounds like I might just be better off with a different course!

Would any of you know of a good Japanese grammar book? That's actually structured like a grammar book and not a dictionary? I do have the a dictionary of Japanese grammar, but that is, as the title suggests, structured like a dictionary
Edit: added more text
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Hiragana practiced in hand : 48 / 48
Katakana practiced in hand : 9 / 48
Kanji : 9 / 2000

Speakeasy
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Re: For dummies

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:33 pm

Hello, Ccaesar. As your request for recommendations for a Japanese grammar could result in this thread becoming a discussion of not just such materials, but also a wider discussion of materials for the study of Japanese, I would recommend that you consult "The Master List of Resources" and, should not find what you're looking for, that you launch your request under the "Practical Questions and Advice" sub-form. In that way, (a) you would be more likely to attract the attention of members who study Japanese, and (b) you would be leaving this thread free for a continued discussion of the "Dummies" language courses. Just a thought! ;)

EDITED:
More typos!
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coldrainwater
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Re: For dummies

Postby coldrainwater » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:17 am

I had the same experience as iguanamon when I first opened the German for dummies text. Too much hand-holding for sure. To put it on my own words, I found gold nuggets of information strewn about but strewn far too sparsely to make it all an efficient learning experience. Per unit content L2, I was reading, way, way too much L1 for my liking, much of it totally unnecessary (not harmful, just a sink for time when I would rather be immersed in German). My solution is to hold it until I reach intermediate or over-powered beginner level, then plough through the native English at light speed and grab any German nuggets I may have missed at that juncture. They will fit into open slots quite nicely at that point and a thick text could be gobbled in a few days at the very most.

I also looked at some Spanish para Dummies, but was not terribly excited once I found out that they were mere translations from English and to boot, they didn't offer enough of them for my liking (I could just do English and be better off I think).
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Ccaesar
Yellow Belt
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:47 pm
Languages: Danish (N) English (B2-C1) German (B1-B2) Italian(B1), Japanese (beginner)
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Re: For dummies

Postby Ccaesar » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:33 am

After having worked with the book, Japanese for Dummies, I've come to the conclusion that I really like it for a language that is so different from my native tongue and other languages. It slowly, but progressively introduces me to grammatical structures used in context. So I get to learn a few phrases and I try to write the few kanji that I come up by hand and using Kanjitree to keep them in memory. So far so good, I've finally gotten the hang of 何 actively, however, I had a busy period, so I will have to revise the others.

In conclusion,
if you want a easy, not-too-difficult book to get you started in a language with a different script and grammatical elements, I recommend this. + It has a cd included! 
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Hiragana practiced in hand : 48 / 48
Katakana practiced in hand : 9 / 48
Kanji : 9 / 2000


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