Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

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Speakeasy
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Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:52 pm

SEVERAL SECTIONS
Owing to the limit on the number of images which can be attached to given post, and given that this presentation exceeds that limit, this thread has been divided into several sections. Doing so also renders the thread a little more readable.

1. INTRODUCTION

Preamble
I would imagine that most members of this forum are familiar with the Cortina series of self-instructional language courses which enjoyed great commercial success from the late 19th century through the early 21st century. In the same vein, I take it for granted that most members are aware that digitized copies of the final generation of these courses are freely-available via the Yojik.eu website. There have been numerous discussions of Cortina’s “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” here on the LLORG and on its predecessor, the HTLAL. And yet, despite the wide-spread familiarity with the Cortina name, putting aside Professor Arguelle’s much-appreciated review on YouTube, I have not come across a comprehensive description of the materials. So then, in keeping with my other reviews of vintage language-learning materials, I thought that it would be appropriate to present an overview of this publisher’s history and products. The information below was gathered from the Cortina website, from Wikipedia, from the LLORG and the HTLAL language forums, from reviews posted on the internet, from my communications with the last President of Cortina International, from my collection of vintage language-learning materials, and from other sources.

Rafael Díez de la Cortina y Olaeta
Rafael Díez de la Cortina y Olaeta, 1st Count of Olaeta (1859–1939) was a Spanish-American linguist. The Díez de la Cortina family originated from Cantabria, Spain, and were untitled members of Spanish nobility. Though not comparable to the grand Andalusian landholders, they assumed a leading role in the local agricultural regime. In the latter half of the 19th century, Rafael Díez de la Cortina y Olaeta fought alongside the Carlist forces in Spain and around 1874 sought exile in France and thereafter in Mexico. R.D. Cortina arrived in New York in 1881, opened a language school and launched what-would-become a remarkably successful publisher of self-instructional language-learning materials. Although R.D. Cortina became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1889, he continued to be active in Spanish politics until the 1930’s
Cortina 0.JPG
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Cortina Institute of Languages
Upon his arrival in New York in 1881, Rafael Díez de la Cortina began offering Spanish lessons both from his own language school, the “Cortina Institute of Languages”, which he founded in 1882 (variously known as the “Cortina Languages Institute” or the “Cortina Academy of Languages” or the “Institute for Language Study” and subsequently “Cortina Learning International, Inc.”), and as a language instructor at other institutions such as the Brooklyn Library and the Brooklyn YMCA. Following the publication of the “Cortina Method” and the successful integration of Phonograph Cylinders for use in the company’s language school, or by correspondence, or for self-instruction, R.D. Cortina made arrangements with numerous state and national teaching institutions for the adoption of his method and teaching materials. The Cortina Method was well-received by many academics and scholars of the period one of whom commented that it marked “a great advance in language teaching". The publishing house that R.D. Cortina established was occupied with the re-printing of textbooks and manuals in seemingly endless editions. Audio materials were produced jointly with Columbia Records.

Although the publisher expanded its catalogue in the 1960’s, the mainstay of the business remained the highly-popular “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” courses for which the final true revision to its contents and audio recordings dates from 1953-1954. The company’s products continued to be well-received by reviewers and by the marketplace throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, In the closing years of the 20st century, the Cortina company continued to rely on its steadily-aging mainstay product (which had generated most of the company’s revenues), did not update the product, came face-to-face with competition from other publishing houses whose courses were keeping pace with changes in the target languages and evolving customer expectations, did not respond to changes in technology, and ceased operations in 2017.

2. THE CORTINA METHOD (Some History)

The Cortina Method in 20 Lessons
In 1889, R.D. Cortina published the first edition of “The Cortina Method to Learn Spanish in Twenty Lessons” thereby launching a series of self-instructional language courses which enjoyed academic acclaim and commercial success lasting more than a century. As others had done, and were currently doing (viz., Dr. Richard Rosenthal), R.D. Cortina’s language course eschewed the laborious lessons of the Grammar-Translation Method and focused on the essentials of the practical, spoken language in everyday situations. Without labelling it as such, R.D. Cortina’s course was a variant of the Direct Method. An expanded presentation of the Cortina Method follows.

Phonograph Cylinders and Flat Records
Adoption of Audio Recording Technology
Language laboratories were made possible by Thomas Edison's invention of the tin foil phonograph in 1877. At first, spoken word cylinders were made primarily to preserve rare languages such as those of the Native American peoples. In the 1880’s, Dr. Richard Rosenthal, linguistic, language instructor, founder of the International College of Languages, and author the “Meisterschaft System” of self-instruction of foreign languages (the titles of which evolved over time), proposed to Thomas Edison that this technology be used in the teaching of foreign languages both in language laboratories located in teaching institutions and via correspondence language courses. Rather curiously (given that he operated his own language academy and marketed his own self-instruction language courses) Dr. Rosenthal was not the first to adopt this technology. Rather, the first use of Phonograph Cylinders in the instruction of foreign languages was by the Cortina Academy of Languages, on Edison cylinders, in 1889. First trademarked by Cortina, after 1896, they were made by Edison's National Phonographic Company. In 1908, R.D. Cortina registered the trademark “Cortinaphone”, selling his own brand of phonographs and, as of 1913, the company began issuing flat, round 78 rpm shellac records which became the industry standard until the late 1940’s – early 1950’s.
Cortina 2b (circa 1910).JPG
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Cortina 2c (Phonograph Cylinder crica 1900).JPG
Cortina 2c (Phonograph Cylinder crica 1900).JPG (46.91 KiB) Viewed 407 times

Phonograph Cylinder Audio Archives
As a reminder to those members who are familiar with the presentation under the “Phonograph Cylinder Audio Archives Vintage Language Course” thread, samples of the original Cortina Phonograph Cylinder audio are available for free download from the University of Southern California Berkley’s “UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive” website: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/browse.php

In addition, similar recordings are available for playing via the Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR) website: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/talent/detail/96057/Cortina_Academy_of_Languages_other

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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:53 pm

3. THE CORTINA METHOD (Generalities, Methodology)

Languages
Over the years, the languages covered by what-became-to-be-known-as the Cortina “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” expanded to include: Brazilian-Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Spanish, and Russian. In addition, English and French courses were available principally from a Spanish base.

Editions and Generations
The first edition of the Cortina Method courses appeared in 1889 under the title “The Cortina Method to Learn Spanish in Twenty Lessons”. Thereafter, other languages were added to the company’s catalogue, revisions were made to the dialogues, to the texts, to the notes, and to the appendices yielding a seemingly endless series of editions and reprints. The course/series’ titles evolved as well. In some instances, editions having slightly-modified dialogues were published in the United Kingdom. The publisher seems to have considered the inclusion of illustrations as a major revision to the series and would likely have deemed this modification to be a separate generation. When existing illustrations were replaced with updated ones, this too yielded a major revision. Likewise, the publisher considered the inclusion of a grammar in the appendices to be major revision and, I would imagine, to be a new generation. Separating the “editions” from the “generations” would not be an easy task (although I have several editions of the course manuals in my collection, I would not even attempt at defining the different generations). It would appear that the final “true” revision to the course manuals (which may actually have involved minor updates) was effected in 1953. Thereafter, irrespective of the copyright dates, the edition numbers, and the purported revisions, the contents of the reprinted manuals were identical to those of the 1953 editions.

Methodology
Direct Method
As noted above, as others had done (viz., Dr. Richard Rosenthal), R.D. Cortina’s language course eschewed the laborious lessons in Grammar-Translation Method and focused on the essentials of the practical, spoken language in everyday situations. From the beginning, in a manner which could easily be described as the Direct Method, the target language was introduced through a series of set phrases and situational dialogues, accompanied by an attempt at phonetic spelling for native-speakers of English along with translations of equivalent value, both of which were supported by comprehensive notes on grammar and common usage. The courses introduced the student to approximately 2,000 high-frequency vocabulary items likely to be encountered by a traveler in predictable situations of everyday life in the country where the L2 predominated. Below are images taken from Lesson 12 of the Cortina German course (lessons began with a list of new vocabulary items and were followed by scripted dialogues).
Cortina 3a Methodology.JPG
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Cortina 3b Methodology.JPG
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Direct Method with Sentence-Pattern Drills
In some instances, the Cortina courses (Brazilian-Portuguese, Japanese, Russian), the authors made small, but important, changes to the general method by which the target languages were introduced and practiced. While the commonly-used method of dialogues accompanied by translations was maintained, some of the courses, with a view reinforcing the L2 structure, included Exercises in the form of sentence-pattern drills.
Cortina Exercises (Sentence-Pattern Drills).JPG
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Grammar
One feature that many students might either overlook or take for granted is the manner in which the Cortina courses introduced and reinforced the target language’s structure. The appendices of the course manuals included a very serviceable 100-plus-page summary of the L2 grammar. The recommended procedure was, in preparation for a given lesson, students were to review specific sections of the grammar according to a suggested Study Plan.
Cortina 4a (Study Plan for Grammar).JPG
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Thereafter, the notes on grammar and common usage, which appeared in narrative form at the bottom of the page of the lessons, were referenced by number to specific items in the dialogues and, where needed, back to the grammar in the appendix.
Cortina 4b (Lesson Notes).JPG
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This feature assisted students in developing a solid grasp of the target language’s structure as portrayed in the dialogues. In my view, the relatively greater difficulties of working with the notes to the Assimil and Linguaphone courses is the absence of a similar circular-reference system.

Although R.D. Cortina was distantly familiar with some of the languages covered in the series, with a view to maintaining consistent quality across the titles, he employed the services of other language specialists in the development of new courses and in their revisions. His successors followed a similar policy and, while the company’s editorial staff oversaw the quality and general approach to teaching, a fair amount of latitude was accorded to the authors of the course manuals. With the passage of time, differences appeared in the detailed manner by which a few of the target languages were introduced. Nevertheless, the general thrust of the Direct Method was maintained and a general, unifying approach was preserved across the series.

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Speakeasy
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:55 pm

4. THE CORTINA METHOD (Materials)

Materials / Packages
It would appear that the basic “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” were available for separate purchase; that is, without the recordings which had been prepared to accompany them. There is also the possibility that packages, comprised of the printed and recorded materials, were available before the appearance of the Master Linguistic courses mentioned below.

Printed Materials
From the beginning, the course manuals were smallish, measuring approximately 5-inches x 8-inches. When the series reached full maturity, with the publication of the final true revision in 1953, the average course manual comprised some 390-odd pages. Bindings and paper varied: (a) initially, the books were bounded in leather and were printed on commercial stock paper, (b) in the 1920’s, the books were bound as hardcover textbooks were printed on commercial stock paper, and (c) perhaps in the 1960’s, reprints of the books were issued as brightly-coloured, soft-covered editions printed on light-weight paper.

Recorded Materials
Following the company’s replacement of the original Phonograph Cylinders by the flat, round, 78 rpm shellac records in 1913, it would appear that the audio recordings, were available for separate purchase at least into the early 1950’s, as sets of roughly 15 x 12-inch x 78 rpm shellac records, packaged in sturdy record albums, (in some cases, 10-inch records were used). The Cortina company kept pace with the changes in recording technology; the 12-inch x 78 rpm shellac records were replaced by 12-inch x 33-1/3 vinyl LP records, which were supplanted by sets of approximately 8 audio cassettes, which were in turn superseded by sets of approximately 8 audio compact discs.
Cortina 5 (78 rpm shellac records).jpg
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Sample Recordings
During much of the period, inserts in the course manuals and in advertisements invited holders to request a free-of-charge “sample recording” of the target language. However, as several forum members have remarked, rather curiously, these “samples” were NOT EXTRACTS of the audio recordings which had been prepared to accompany the course manuals. Rather, these were SEPARATE recordings comprising short phrases in the target language, accompanied by a bilingual pamphlet.
Cortina 6 (sample record).jpg
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Self-Examination Materials
While I could be wrong on the timing, it would appear that, beginning in the early-1950’s, the publisher began offering prospective customers self-examination materials, comprised of pamphlets and 12-inch x 78 rpm shellac records. As I have come across record albums of these materials which were separate from the those containing the dialogues, it is not clear to me whether these were offered for separate purchase or were simply included as a supplement to the main packages. Another matter that eludes me is that it would seem that the self-examination courses were not available for all of the languages in the series. Ultimately, these examination materials, in cases where they existed, were included in the “Master Linguist” packages discussed below.
Cortina 10 (self-examination papers).JPG
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Unilingual Readers
The unilingual readers were of two types: (1) simple graded readers terminating at roughly the CEFR A1 level, titled variously as: “Deutsch auf Deutsch” (in Fraktur font), “English in English”, “Français en français, “Italiano en Italiano”, and “Spanish in Spanish” and (2) more advanced dual-language readers of barely 60-odd pages, entitled "Literary Gems” comprised of poetry and short essays.

Master Linguist Courses
Perhaps in the 1960’s, Cortina began marketing expanded sets of their products as “Master Linguist Courses”, comprising the “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” course manual, the accompanying recordings, the self-examination papers, a bilingual dictionary, possibly a phrase book, one or two readers (unrecorded), and a brief user guide. For much of the period, the printed materials were hard-covered. The medium adopted for the recorded materials reflected whatever was most prevalent at the time of production (i.e, vinyl records, audio cassettes, audio CDs). Note carefully that the “Master Linguist Course in Vietnamese” represented a notable exception the forgoing in that the course manual was a copy of the Cortina (Institute for Language Study) “Vest Pocket Vietnamese” language guide for which the depth of coverage and the audio recordings were notably less comprehensive that the other packages.
Cortina 11 (Master Linguistic).JPG
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Speakeasy
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Posts: 2436
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:57 pm

5. THE CORTINA METHOD (Assessment)

Level Achieved
The dialogues, the end-of-course short stories, the vocabulary, and the structural issues covered in the “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” course manuals would most likely meet the definition of the CEFR B1 and perhaps a little higher. Whether or not an independent learner could actually perform at a CEFR B1 level upon completion of one of these courses would depend on to the extent to which he/she internalized all of the materials. Exposed to a vocabulary of approximately 2,000 frequently-occurring items, mostly drawn from predictable situations that a tourist might encounter in everyday life, and with something short of 8 hours of audio recordings, it is possible that some students would not achieve the level of CEFR B1 in an aural/oral examination. Nevertheless, many would have developed a very solid, passive foundation within the CEFR A2-B1 range (Note to my habitual critics: B1 falls with the range of A2-B1).

Reviews
For several decades, the Cortina “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” courses were well-received by many American academics and were adopted for use by teaching institutions in the United States. Reviews published in journals at the time were universally positive, as have been those posted on the internet and in various language forums. The Cortina self-instructional language courses (along with those of Assimil, Linguaphone, and the Living Language Ultimate series) are often referred to as a “standard” against which other courses are measured. Below are Professor Arguelle’s reviews of the Cortina courses from YouTube:

Cortina: Foreign Language Learning Series Reviews (Alexander Arguelles) – YouTube


Cortina Method and Berlitz (Alexander Arguelles) – YouTube


Nevertheless, with the passage of time, the somewhat mannered nature of the dialogues, the increasingly dated vocabulary, and the often stilted and artificial manner in which the native speakers delivered the dialogues in comparison with more current materials (such as those of Assimil and many others), began to engender harsh criticisms of the Cortina courses. For a period, I joined the crowd of naysayers but subsequently revised my position.

Assessment: Dated, but Worth the Detour
The Cortina “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” courses were introduced in the closing years of the 19th century as a variant of the Direct Method, whereby the target language was introduced through a series of set phrases and situational dialogues, accompanied by an attempt at phonetic spelling for native-speakers of English along with translations of equivalent speech, both of which were supported by comprehensive notes on grammar and common usage. These courses were the very first ever to include audio recordings in support of the printed materials. Across the years, the editors strove to keep pace with changes in language and included a highly serviceable summary of the L2’s grammar in the appendices in support of the very useful notes on usage appearing in the lessons which were referenced by number back to the grammar, thereby yielding one of the best packages available in the genre.

The dialogues, the end-of-course short stories, the vocabulary, and the structural issues covered in the “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” course manuals would most likely meet the definition of the CEFR B1 and perhaps a little higher. The accompanying audio recordings had a duration approaching 7 hours in total, exceeding that of many of their competitors’ self-instructional language courses for many decades. While the cadence of speech in the recordings was both artificially slower than that of natural conversation between native speakers and while the delivery was mannered, the recorded materials provided the student a very good opportunity to develop his/her aural/oral skills.

Although, by the end of the 1960’s, owing to the lack of a major update, these materials were increasingly showing their age, they continued (and continue to this day) to represent a viable alternative for the development of a solid foundation in the spoken language up to the CEFR B1 level. They are dated, but worth the detour!

6. OTHER PRODUCTS

Unremarkable Phrase Books and Language Guides
In addition to the “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” courses and other products, the R.D. Cortina company marketed several series of phrase books, language guides, pocket dictionaries, and other supplements to language learning. In addition to the products which bore the name “R.D. Cortina”, the company marketed several series under the name of the “Institute for Language Study”; that is, under the company’s original name as founded in 1882. In many instances, packages were available containing the what-were-often booklets and sets of audio recordings. Here is a list of titles:

In a Nutshell

Learn in Record Time

Passport

Talk

Traveler’s

Vest Pocket

7. CESSATION OF OPERATIONS

End of an Era
Shortly after his arrival in New York in 1881, Rafael Díez de la Cortina y Olaeta founded the “Cortina Institute of Languages” in 1882 (variously known as the “Cortina Languages Institute” or the “Cortina Academy of Languages” or the “Institute for Language Study”) and not long thereafter began publishing what-would-become the Cortina “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” series of self-instructional language courses. Although the company expanded its catalogue to include a fairly large number of phrase books and language guides, for all practical purposes, Cortina remained a “single product company”. In the last years of the 20st century, the Cortina company continued to rely on its steadily-aging mainstay product (which had generated most of the company’s revenues), did not update the product, came face-to-face with competition from other publishing houses whose courses were keeping pace with changes in the target languages and evolving customer expectations, did not respond to changes in technology, and ceased operations in 2017.

Online Availability of the Cortina Language Courses
During the final years of operations, the then President, Cortina Learning International, Inc., Magdalen Livesey, graciously gave her permission for the free-to-the-public hosting of digitized copies of the Cortina “Conversational [language] in 20 Lessons” course materials on a number of websites. Initially, the Cortina Japanese and Russian courses were hosted on the Indiana University CeLT Recorded Sound Archives website. Thereafter, the complete collection of the courses were hosted on the Yojik.eu website and, from there, permission was granted to a number of not-for-profit cultural institutions to scrape the materials for hosting on other websites. I join all those who have benefited from the free availability of these materials in expressing my deep gratitude to Ms. Magdalen Livesey for her kind generosity.

8. COMMENTS

I have opened separate sections for each of the Cortina “Conversational (language) in 20 Lessons” courses and have been completing these with information which might be of interest to some readers of this thread. While members of the HTLAL and the LLORG have frequently expressed their support of these self-instructional language courses as a series, I have been rather surprised by how few comments have been posted relative to specific courses in the series. For this reason, and given that the course books themselves are dwindling and that the Amazon Customer Reviews are being taken down as the stocks are diminishing, with a view to preserving some of the more pertinent reviews, I have copied/pasted a number of them into the appropriate sections below. Readers are invited to share their views on the Cortina series and/or individuals courses.

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Speakeasy
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Posts: 2436
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:58 pm

Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese

Editions
The first edition of the Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese course, co-authored by Edwin B. Williams and Marialice Pessoa, was published in 1962. Thereafter, the contents of all revisions/editions/reprints were identical to those of the original.

Modified Cortina Method
Cortina’s approach was to teaching foreign languages was more-or-less maintained throughout this course (dialogues, translations in columnar form).
Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese 1 conversations.JPG
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However, rather than provide notes at the bottom of the pages, students were directed to the grammar in the appendix. While the grammar in the appendix was quite serviceable for an introductory language course, it was not as comprehensive as those which frequently accompany this publisher’s courses. The bilingual glossary was unusually limited in its coverage. Of further note is that, in contrast to the average Cortina course which comprised some 400-odd pages, the Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese course was roughly half that at 192 pages.

Exercises (Sentence-Pattern Drills)
Whereas the dialogues are perhaps not quite as long as those of the average Cortina course, the student is compensated by the presence of exercises (in the form of sentence-pattern drills) as reinforcement of the language’s structure, a feature which seldom appears in the Cortina courses.
Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese 2 Exercises.JPG
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Reviews
I could not find any comments on the HTLAL or the LLORG relating specifically to the Cortina Brazilian-Portuguese course. Given the generally positive reviews of the Cortina Method courses across an entire century, I was rather surprised by Amazon Customer Reviews, which ranged from very positive, to quite negative. Here are two examples:
Aauger in 2003 on Amazon wrote:The reviews of this book on this site are very mixed. That's probably because the book assumes some context. If you already know Portuguese but have gotten rusty, this IS a good book. It focuses on your most likely scenario: casual conversation. It makes it especially easy to shore up verb tenses (my problema). However, it doesn't convey pronunciation. To supplement this book, try to locate a local Brazilian group (start with a university's language department) and meet new people in the process. Or watch a Brazilian film and try not to peek at the subtitles. Another fun approach for conversational Portuguese is to pick up a Brazilian novela (although you'll also need a dictionary for this).
WearSunScreen in 2003 on Amazon wrote: Page 115 tell us the capital is Rio de Janeiro. Hello! Brasilia has been the capital since 1960! If it was only that the book spends too much print teaching us how to ask the barber for a shave, or looking for a milliner to make me a new hat, I wouldn't be too upset, but the grammer and pronunciation the book is NOT Brazilian. My wife, born, raised and educated in Sao Paulo, has forbidden me to use the book. There are too many things (placement of objects, the selection of second person pronouns, pronunication and more) that she had to un-teach me after I studied the book. Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere.
Ouch!

UPDATED:
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Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2436
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:59 pm

Cortina English / American English / Inglés

Editions
One of the first courses to be added to the Cortina series of self-instructional language courses was English for Speakers of Spanish. The earliest copy that I have been able to find on the internet dates from 1900 under the title “Método Cortina: Inglés en veinte lecciones” authored by R. Diez de la Cortina, himself. As for many courses in the Cortina series, the publisher’s English for Spanish Speakers underwent numerous revisions, including to minor changes to the title. My copy of the book, printed in 1977 and which is identified as the 130th edition, seems to be based on the most recent (true) revision of 1948.

Titles
Whereas the most prevalent title seems to have been “Método Cortina: inglés en 20 lecciones”, still attributed to R. Diez de la Cortina in 1990, rather curiously, the company marketed boxed sets of the course manual, a reader, supplements, exercises, and audio recordings as either “Cortina English” or “Cortina American English” despite the apparent absence of such a course manual under this title.
Cortina English 1.JPG
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Cortina English 2.JPG
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Cortina English 3.JPG
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Cortina Method
The texts of the course book are written with the needs of a native speaker of Spanish in mind. The presentation of the target language (English) follows the general Cortina Method (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations in columnar form supported by notes at the bottom of the page). Some 374 pages in length, the book includes a very serviceable grammar in the appendices along with a bilingual glossary.
Cortina English 4.JPG
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Cortina English 5.JPG
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Reviews
I could not find any discussions of “Cortina English” or “Cortina Inglés” on the HTLAL or LLORG language forums. The Amazon Customer Reviews, of which I located fourteen, are quite positive. Curiously, all of the reviews are in English (I could not find any in Spanish on Amazon’s Spanish-language websites) Here are a few examples:
Robert Redman on Amazon in 2010 wrote: I have taught English in Mexico for several years, and am now starting to teach in Uruguay (google "My Real Montevideo" to see photos of the most livable big city in S. America). The Cambridge method is almost universal for English instruction in Latin America, that is, instruction with books written entirely in English. That makes no sense to me, but good books in Spanish for Spanish speaking students of English have been hard to come by. The Barron's grammar compendium has been out for a couple of years, and now there is also the Cortina method, also an excellent instruction tool. The problem is distribution - booksellers here would have to order in big quantities and don't want to take the risk. Also they have a commercial stake in Cambridge. Individuals could order the books through Amazon, but the postage doubles the cost, and most credit cards from S. American banks are not accepted in the US. Barron's and Owl books should make a concerted push to make these two books easily available here. Otherwise I have to do something illegal.
Luis Cabrera on Amazon in 2015 wrote: One of my first self learning methods. I love it and I have learned most of my English speaking abilities through this excelent book. The way the vocabulary and sentences is presented helps the learners to grasp the core of the language right away!! Most the words, phrases, grammar points, and idioms I know now I learned them studying this book. Recommended!!
T. McVey on Amazon in 2007 wrote: My students really seem to like this book and it's easy to use. My biggest complaint is how dated the material is with 50's stereotypes and illustrations. My students don't care at all, since I am teaching English in a remote village that is very traditional
Jose G. Villalobos Jimenez on Amazon in 2009 wrote: This book is really good for Beginners spanish-speaking people who want to learn english. I am a native spanish-speaking person with an advanced english level and I consider that this book is really good for begginers. I've used it and I like the lessons to practice the pronuntiation. Anyway for that $10 is an excellent good. I recommend it for begginer and middle level.
Joel Zapata on Amazon in 2013 wrote: This is a really excellent book for Spanish native language speakers to learn English as a second language. I bought for my a wife to study and she is doing great with the book. Get it right away!!!
Elizabeth B. Scully on Amazon in 2001 wrote: I am currently teaching an English as a second language class in Estes Park, Colorado. My students seem to enjoy practicing the conversations in the text book, though at times I think some of the vocabulary is complicated for beginners. The only real problem I have with the book is that it stereotypes men and women. For example, all the doctors, dentists and professional types are males while all the secretaries and non-professional types are females. I would rather not introduce hispanic folks to an outdated image of the United States where sexism is the norm. [Speakeasy is exercising admirable restraint by holding his tongue.]


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1 x

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2436
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:59 pm

Cortina French

Editions
Although I could not determine the year of publication of the 1st edition of the Cortina French course, I did come across an offer for the 14th edition for which the year of publication was 1914, attributed to R.D. Cortina and J. Leroux, a matter which suggests that French was added to the Cortina catalogue quite early on in the company’s history. As for most of this publisher’s mainstay courses, Cortina French benefited from the “series’ revision” of 1953. Thereafter, the contents of all subsequent revisions/editions/reprints were identical to those of the latter.

Cortina Method
Nothing to signal here, the standard Cortina approach to teaching a language was used (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations, supported by notes at the bottom of the page, et cetera).
Cortina French 1.JPG
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Cortina French 2.JPG
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Reviews
I could find only one HTLAL/LLORG review which specifically mentioned Cortina French. I’m am sure that there are others, perhaps I was not using the Search Function correctly.

jpazzz on the HTLAL in 2015 wrote: Hello Everybody, With Cortina selling its courses for $75.00 there seems to be a renewed interest ion those courses. Since I have experience with three of them, I thought that perhaps some of you might be interested in my observations.

First of all, Cortina French. I really like this course. All of the conversations are recorded as are the vocabularies for the first sixteen lessons. Since I learn vocabulary better by both hearing and reading it, this works well for me. And, just to be clear, this means that the first sixteen lessons are recorded in their entirety as well as appearing in the well know three column format: target language, pronunciation, and translation. Lessons seventeen through twenty (each one running eight to ten pages) are wholly in French and are recorded in their entirety. My copy of the course has the old 78 RPM records, and the all French sound runs two hours and twenty-two minutes. So that makes for about one hundred, forty-seven pages that are recorded. And, by the way, the recordings are very clear, the diction very good. This is the case with all the Cortina courses that I've used or skimmed. This is followed by a one hundred, thirty-eight page grammar and an extensive vocabulary.

People are critical sometimes of the fact that the Cortina courses were written and recorded in the 50s and 60s. That makes them "out-of date." This does not matter to me. Languages change, but not so much in fifty or sixty years as to become unintelligible. And in my own experience, I'm never going to be mistaken for a native speaker when I speak anything other than American English. So up to date colloquialisms are not something that occupy me. There is a nice exposure to French culture, with references to musicians and theatre, to Gide and Sartre (sorry, no mention of Pauline Reage), etc.
Pork C. Fish on Amazon in 2013 wrote: Great introduction to French. I have these books in French, German, Italian, and Russian. I am a huge fan of these books and prefer them to many other methods out there (and I have used a lot of them).

Granted, this book was more helpful back when there was no Internet which can provide myriad French language courses but it begins with an extensive discussion of French pronunciation. For an English speaker, French can be like jabbering with a mouth filled with gumballs. The accent is tonal or nasal or basically anything which does not exist in the English (or Saxon) tongue. There is a helpful phonetic alphabet to assist the reader.

And, admittedly, if you cannot practice aloud, you are going to have a tough time learning a language. You should literally do your best Inspector Clouseau and speak in a slow, exaggerated manner until you learn how to properly form the phonemes. French vowels and consonants are clipped, precise, and short. American English is the opposite as it is far more plosive and our vowels go on forever. Once you have developed a proper accent, you will feel the muscles in your face hurt as you are now using them differently.

I do not believe the book has been updated since about the 1950s. My edition is the 1977 edition, or at least that was the last printing or update. I did go to the Internet Archive site and download a public domain edition from 1918 to my Kindle. The methodology is the same though the formatting and lesson plans are different. I bring this up because you will not be learning many updated technological terms. And given that French uses "Franglais" for a lot of up-to-date locutions, it might be for the best. France has strict laws about word usage in the public sphere. Thus you might say "Wi-Fi" (wee-fee) in French conversation, but if you see it in an ad or on a product box it is «accès sans fil à l'internet»; "e-mail" is «courrier électronique», "have a nice weekend" is «bon weekend» but you'll see it printed as «bonne fin de la semaine».

There are twenty lessons, as the title informs you. They are broken down by category though the last three chapters are just lengthy conversations. Again, each word has its phonetic equivalent beside it. The chapters are extensively footnoted to alert the student to idiomatic phrases, literal translations, and helpful grammatical information. After the vocabulary drills, there is a conversation section, also footnoted. The conversations are inane. Don't worry about it. They exist to provide the student with various methods of phrasing and also to use all the words in the lesson. So in the chapter on family and languages, the conversation focuses on a rather peculiar family which speaks about 12 different languages. An uncle who speaks Portuguese; an aunt who speaks German. The dog speaks Italian. Just roll with it. It is all thought out.

French is a difficult language for an English speaker to learn simply because French is derived from the Vulgate Latin and therefore cannot be easily translated literally. Its syntax and grammatical structure is odd to English speakers (as opposed to German, from which English derives). Simply put, French is not English in cipher. And I think this is where the Cortina books excel even against modern teaching methods: there is an extensive grammar section. The second half of the book is all grammar. Not only does this help improve one's knowledge of English grammar for things like sentence diagramming is not taught anymore, but it cracks the the structure of the French language. Eventually you will be able to form sentences in the French manner if you practice rigorously.

There is a lesson plan for each chapter. It is a bit of a pain to flip back to this section and that but if one is truly desirous of learning French, you'll probably take notes and devote your own method to studying it that is rote learning, writing, and speaking. Myself, I typed the entire book out and reformatted it for Kindle so I can just tap to the various grammar sections indicated for the lesson. That alone taught me a lot more and I have been teaching myself French on and off for years.

Needless to say learning a language requires great assiduity. As I mentioned, a 1917 version of this is available in the public domain through archive.org for Kindle and other devices. You can get used copies from Amazon or eBay. Or you can order new copies in most of the languages offered from the company itself at http://cortina-languages.com/

Listen, I have used Berlitz, Pimsleur, studied French in high school and college, I have books and dictionaries and study guide and all kinds of tape courses, etc. I easily have about twenty books on French instruction and despite not being fluent, I could easily teach a course instructing French. If you were to only buy one book to learn French, I'd suggest this one just for its comprehensive grammar section. French is very, very specific about what verb forms are used in a locution. The subjunctive is used far more than in English. There are fourteen tenses and moods in French and all have a practical and distinct use. Plus, as I said, your English grammar will improve from just knowing what a transitive versus an intransitive verb is. You will become acquainted with the pluperfect subjunctive. Again, things we know instinctively from birth but could not articulate.

If you want to have a solid grasp of French in a year, here is what I suggest. Buy this book and study one lesson for at least an hour each day for a week. The whole thing. It'll take a year to go through the book twice. Then hit the Internet The Annenberg Foundation has their great course which aired on PBS in the 1980s called French in Action. You can stream the videos easily on tablets or phones and even have your television show it if you have screen mirroring on your device. There are 52 lessons in that series, each about a half-hour long. So that is one per week also. Between those two things, you'll have a great basic grasp of the French language and can certainly handle yourself in conversations of any variety. Check meetup for French language clubs in your area. If you have Netflix or Hulu, there are myriad French language broadcasts streaming on there. You can watch them without subtitles (though I often watch modern English-language shows with French subtitles just to learn new slang).

Also on the Open Culture site, you'll find the State Department courses which were given to diplomats. My father bought me one in German back when I was a kid and it cost $387.00 ($865.00 today). Needless to say, he strapped me to the dining room table and made me learn German. They are great courses also and are public domain. But I still use my Cortina in German and French to review.

It is a great book and I recommend it despite it being a mite antediluvian. It'll provide a strong spine upon which you can further your studies. Especially nowadays with so many options available for free online. I download lots of great French novels for Kindle for free because they are public domain now.

So if you want to learn French, this is the way to go. Especially if you are the "reading type" like myself. Cortina has a great method to pick up a new language for someone who wants to say more than « Où sont les toilettes? » Best $10 you can spend on yourself. You'll be speaking and expressing yourself without resorting to rote phrases within six months to a year.
Kendrick Jacocks on Amazon in xxxx wrote: A good helper in grammar. I studied Francais already in a classroom setting for two semesters, had French best friends, taught French diction for pronunciation (IPA) in a college, and I've visited Francophone countries, but this language of comparably few words and phonemes which are ways of pronouncing those few words is full of character, and in my opinion it is extremely and fully rich in grammar and context. Therefore, I think Francais can be difficult to understand because of that very fact, though initially French can be easy to speak. Just throw it out there, eh????? Tricky. Tricky. Tricky.

But this book goes a long way at explaining and even clarifying in brief sentences the complexity of French grammar in the latter section, which is longer than in other Cortina books, and which I suggest reading BEFORE one reads the short story dialogues in the second part.

I've bought so many language courses, way too many and never finished them. I do tend to want to finish these now though.

A Propos, Barron's has a series of verb usage books, I think called 501 Verbs. There is a section at the very end of this book that matches it almost, but not in all languages of the Cortina series.

So, this Cortina approach in Francais is pretty thorough, if you want to move on up little higher in French grammar and more well rounded communication, but I think it really has to be comprehended and understood, and that takes some effort and time.
Luis Cabrera on Amazon in 2015 wrote:I fell in love with this book! I am very interested in learning French and this is the type of method I really enjoy. From the lesson One I have learned very much and my learning goes on, because the step by step explanations, grammar footnotes, vocabularies, phrases, grammar summary give me the motivation and inspiration I need to continue. Little by little I learn somethi'g new. I love this book and I recommed it. Perfect for everybody!!
Rick N. on Amazon in 2002 wrote:The grammar section alone is worth twice the price. If you were to rip this book in half and just keep the reference grammar section, you'd still have a bargain. The twenty lessons are excellent and are also a bargain on their own. Compare this book to everything else on the shelves at your favorite bookstore, compare its price to the prices of the others, and you'll soon learn that by that scale any Cortina "20 lessons in Conversational (whatever language)..." is worth four times what it costs. The free tape they offer is merely a promo and not overly helpful, but the book is top notch. In short: the best bang for the buck out there, period.
Anna Thomas on Amazon in 2000 wrote: Cortina taught me French. The Cortina series are awesome. I have the French nad the German books in this series. I have always thought French was beyond my abilities. I love languages but French always seemed heard. But with the Cortina it was easy to sound the words out and once I got the free tape that they include a postage paid card for, I had French down pat. Eventually I want to learn 10 languages plus my native English! I highly recommend this book.
Stephen Lebeau Jr. on Amazon in 2010 wrote: Do not buy this book for the free French CD or cassette. I have always been very eager to learn French and I bought this book thinking it would be helpful. I read the prior customer reviews, which were all very positive, so I decided to buy it. As an added bonus, this company promised to send a free CD or cassette in French to the buyer of this book to ease the learning process. So I bought the book and mailed the order card that was in the back to get my free CD. When I received the CD, I immediately listened to it, and to my dismay, found that it wasn't the actual lessons. The CD/cassette is actually just an advertisement to make you buy the real CD/cassette with the actual lessons. And wait, there's more! The real CD/Cassette set is $157, which, after my experience with this company's sneaky marketing strategies, I am very reluctant to pay. The book itself is actually quite helpful, but please heed my advice and do not buy this book with the hopes of recieving a free cassette or CD in French that will start you speaking French "almost overnight".
Penny on Amazon in 2015 wrote: The book is old and not very good. I wish I had not bought it. Probably not the fault of the seller. My fault for not checking it out better
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2 x

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2436
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:00 am

Cortina German

Editions
I could not determine the year of publication of the 1st edition of the Cortina German course. Nevertheless, it seems likely to me that German was added to the Cortina catalogue quite early on in the company’s history. As for most of this publisher’s mainstay courses, Cortina German benefited from the “series’ revision” of 1953. Thereafter, the contents of all subsequent revisions/editions/reprints were identical to those of the latter.

Cortina Method
Nothing stands out here, the standard Cortina approach to teaching a language was used (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations, supported by notes at the bottom of the page, et cetera).
Cortina German 1.JPG
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Cortina German 2.JPG
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Reviews
I could find only one HTLAL/LLORG review which specifically mentioned Cortina French. I’m am sure that there are others, perhaps I was not using the Search Function correctly.

jpazzz on the HTLAL in 2015 wrote: Hello Everybody, With Cortina selling its courses for $75.00 there seems to be a renewed interest ion those courses. Since I have experience with three of them, I thought that perhaps some of you might be interested in my observations…

Finally, Cortina German. It is very similar to the Cortina French, i.e., it uses the three column format up through Lesson sixteen. Then there is lots and lots of pure German (twenty-nine pages over four lessons) with lots of culture and history thrown in. In those last, pure German lessons, there are no vocabularies or word lists. The student is expected to know most of the words or be able to use a dictionary. The Lessons are followed by a one hundred, twenty-nine page grammar and a bi-lingual dictionary.

All of the material in the Twenty lessons is recorded. My copy is on cassettes, and I haven't timed it. The recordings are very clear, but there is one thing that I do not like about them. After every sentence, there is a pause, presumably meant for the student to use to repeat what has just been said. I find it annoying. I'm not talking here about occasional pauses, but after every sentence in twenty lessons...
Kendrick Jacocks on Amazon in 2014 wrote: Perfecting German gramma with Cortina. In the German language one may hear very much about word order (syntax), and I've spoken German to Germans, to Swiss German (Schwizer-Deutsche (and heard it on aviation training videos), to Spanish business women,' Russian' artists, and Czech taxi drivers, and for two semesters took German in college. Therefore I have an idea of just how important the idea of basic grammar can be for people wanting to get it on in basic gab, or in Germany with the German language. But, the major problem(s) in German I found were these: 1.Articles and 2.Tenses (Declensions), which this book seems very clear at explaining in the grammar section. Cortina's writers seem to have a concise way of getting to the core of the language.

Before I went to Germany, I listened to Pimsleur and Berlitz tapes for Mastery, but what I remember is somewhat tedious. I had fun anyway especially with "......mein ist naemlich kaput", and I tried for 15 years to find someone to help me understand how to use 'naemlich', which is not exactly the same meaning as "namely." The bottom line is - what helped me get along in Germany pretty well without really speaking the language was a basic understanding of prepositions, conjunctions, and basic word order, and decent vocabulary too, but neither compound words nor sentence structure as I knew the most basic simple sentences.

Fortunately, I had studied Latin for two semesters in high school, which is just about identical to German in the all the declension cases: nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative, tenses etc..., and I was told that English is a "Germanic" language, but above all for me is that German phonemes tended to carry meaning for me, subtle depth, maybe because I was introduced to German song literature by famous musicians. Still, I like speaking it and tried for too long to do it off book. All in all, I was a brief member of the NYC Goethe Institute, and visited the original one in Germany with way too many HaagenDaaz ice cream bars to pass the hours.

So, what I hope to learn with the help of Cortina, is to really comprehend German and feel at conversation level, which is not always easy for me, but i'll do it over a period of time, not now but slowly. I also understand that there are some people for whom language is not interesting but essential, and others take it on very easily in the mutter sprache land depending on factors.

What scares me is that I can read easily through a large part of this book with complete understanding, but deep down I know I can't match a good German speaker in a well structured conversation. Tricky? Not really. German is so straightforward that its hard to be tricky, that makes it more difficult on the surface until you realize how easy it is to communicate on a train or in a restaurant, but then try to keep up in one of "them" group discussions where suddenly everybody becomes a curiously well behaved, together, subject master, which could easily come after the wildest party you'd ever experienced in your life.

All in all, I think that by the time I finish with this book: could be next year or the year after, I'll be better, much better infatti at really speaking German confidently. That's the point of this review. Cortina does it very well for that, but there are more basic books and recorded material in German that might get you on a Guten Tag, Ich bins, Wie geht(s) es Ihnen, und Ich Danke, bitte shoen dialogue far more easily, certainly when its just about getting by for fun on vacation
Luis Cabrera on Amazon in 2014 wrote:One of my favourite German self-learning books! Good choice to start learning this important European language. I love German language and the first time I had Conversational German: In 20 Lessons (Cortina Method) in my hands I felt very happy. It is just a wonderful learning tool. Kind of old, but very good. I like the dictionary at the end of the book, very useful. Recommended!!
Wolfgang on Amazon in 2013 wrote: Great for reading practice. The book is broken down into 20 lessons, the first 16 all include vocabulary at the onset of the lesson as well as a translation and pronunciation guide. The last 4 lessons are purely in the German, relying on what you have already learned. There are notes for all lessons explaining various points from grammar to idiomatic expressions. It also includes a good grammar and glossary at the back of the book. The one downside to this book is the dated language, much if not most of it is still useable to this day though so it is not to bad of a downside. Overall a great buy.
Ken Clark on Amazon in 2003 wrote: Good but outdated. In need of a thorough revision because it doesn't take into account the recent spelling changes and changes in usage over the past 10 and more years. The grammar summaries are well organized and useful. If you need a place to quickly look up German grammar, the second half of the book is excellent
newartemis on Amazon in 2013 wrote: Good but outdated. I use this for my German class students. However, I have to change a lot of the texts to modernize them. I also have to explain a lot about how Germans used to talk and act in the 1950s. Still, it's a good book for people to practice conversational German
Amazon Customer on Amazon in 2015 wrote: Worst! totally worst and time waste............!! even the pronunciations are wrong....!! vocabulary building is also not good for comprehension being less.....!!
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0 x

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2436
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:00 am

Cortina Italian

Editions
The earliest edition of the Cortina “Conversational Italian in 20 Lessons” course, authored by Michael Cagno, that I could find was published in 1954, a matter which surprises me as it seems more likely to me that the publisher would have prepared such a course several decades earlier.

Cortina Method
The more-or-less standard Cortina approach of introducing a language (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations, supported by notes at the bottom of the page) was maintained in this course.
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Reviews
Given the relatively fewer options for studying Italian when compared to many other more frequently-studied languages, I was rather surprised that searches of the HTLAL and the LLORG language forums did not yield any specific discussions of the Cortina Italian course. So then, relying once again on the Amazon Customer Reviews, here are a few appraisals (the first two reviewers also commented favourably on other Cortina courses):
Kendrick Jacocks on Amazon in 2014 wrote: Italian came to me differently than most other languages I studied. First of all, I unknowingly chose an Italian pen pal during middle school, then a career or two that centered around Italian activities. So, I was already briefly exposed to pronunciation. When I studied Italian finally in college, we did not use a textbook but only spoken, and it was enforced without tolerance. ONLY ITALIAN. Finally, I speak Italian almost every day with the many Italians in my neighborhood. So, I understand and agree with the reviewers that this book provides complete sentence structures that, if used too much in conversation, will tend to sound studied, rehearsed and tedious. I did it one day, and laughed at myself. So, most of my Italian fluency, if fluent at all, came from being taught by people in person because I've never visited Italy nor used a textbook.

Still, the vocabulary and phrases offered in each chapter of this book preceding the dialogue can be quite useful at times. The conversational elements of Italian can be brief and easy, because the people who speak Italian seem to communicate very effectively without only words as if language is only a salient factor in communicating. Still, sometimes referring to or using a complete sentence offered in this book no matter how dated can indeed give a sense of authority and understanding, and a sense that what is communicated is less wayward.

Cognates seem less useful sometimes than they seem to be in French, but general verb usage especially the first and third person, Lei, past tenses and the use of "to be" and "to do" can be very helpful for a general nice day to day conversation. Much of that is offered in this book, but Cortina's approach in my observation tends to be very thorough. One can find pretty much everything, but it takes a bit of intelligent study, if I may, or objective study to find out what one really needs for one's purposes. Certainly, if you love reading Italian and discovering the beauty of this language, which sometimes sounds like it came from something different a very long time ago, then Cortina can be really EXCELLENT.

So, Italian for me is a beautiful language, and one that I thoroughly enjoy, and that may be part of the reason why I can't seem to learn it completely from books. I was helped along gratefully. You may find that languages communicate with us individually based on our relation to it. Otherwise, I've used these to help, Pimsleur beginner and advanced mostly for linguistics or pronunciation and basic buon giorno and ciao, and Berlitz recently for more purpose in speaking, Barron's for verbs, which I used rarely, and so on. But, this one is very good too and certainly authoritative.

A little story: I was in Queens one time, and complaining that the cappuccino tastes bad. They tried to explain, "well, it's the machine, we bought a new one" but I was adamant and stood there by the door complaining, not feeling animosity or anything, but somewhat tired and disoriented. When I finished three very sympathetic looking Italians stood there listening with very compassionate faces blinking slowly, but recognizing there was nothing they could do. I left. But, at least I got the chance to vent a bit, was teased a little too, and learned how to say beautifully, very beautifully: Leonardo DA Vinci. DA! It's "DA Vinci."
Luis Cabrera on Amazon in 2015 wrote: Kind of old, but very good! One my first Italian language learning books. I have learned a lot using Cortina Method series. Although it is a little bit old, it has not lost what it promises. The Cortina Institute needs to review and update the text, anyway, I like Conversational Italian: In 20 Lessons (Cortina Method) very much.
Georgia DiStefano on Amazon in 2014 wrote: We traveled to Italy and my husband had studied Italian for two years and found this book helpful for those common questions we needed to ask when there. Most Italian in Italy speak English and yet is some smaller locations this book was very helpful.
AC on Amazon in 2009 wrote: Good Resource. I have taken some Italian in the past and wanted to brush up for a trip. Overall I am happy with this book and the way it is set up. My only complaints are that it is a little formal for current day conversation.
Sharon B on Amazon in 2013 wrote: A bit dated. I take Italian lessons and this seems to not be as it's taught in today's world. Our conversational class might find this kind of funny.


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Insertion of texts, images
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
1 x

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2436
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
x 6415

Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:01 am

Cortina Japanese

Editions
The first edition of Cortina Conversational Japanese in 20 Lessons, co-authored by Richard D. Abraham and Sannosuke Yamamoto, was published in 1956. The contents of all subsequent revisions/editions/reprints were identical to those of the original.

Modified Cortina Method
The commonly-used method of dialogues accompanied by translations was maintained throughout the course. Note that Romanji was used throughout the course.
Cortina Japanese 1 (Conversations).JPG
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Exercises (Sentence-Pattern Drills)
In addition, with a view reinforcing the L2 structure, included Exercises in the form of sentence-pattern drills.
Cortina Japanese 2 (Exercises).JPG
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Reviews
I could not find any comments on the HTLAL or the LLORG relating specifically to the Cortina Japanese course. There were only two Customer Reviewers posted on the Amazon website, neither of which is an expression of overwhelming support:
David J. James on Amazon in 2013 wrote: The plus side of this book is that it gives you a lot of material in Romaji - I don't go a bundle on the transcription method they've used, but it does cover a lot of grammar and a lot of vocab. Unfortunately some of the words and phrases seem decidedly old-fashioned. This doesn't seem like very modern Japanese. It has its uses, it is generous in scope for a Romaji-only book (one has to ask why one would study Japanese in Romaji only, but it is valid if one's aim is to approach one challenge at a time, but this is certainly only the entry hall to Japanese in total) but there are better ways to go about learning this language.
Amazon Customer on Amazon in 2015 wrote:Not for Beginners! Worst!


EDITED:
Insertion of texts, images.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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