Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
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 12:02 am

Cortina Modern Greek

One Generation
The first edition of Cortina “Conversational Modern Greek in 20 Lessons” co-authored by George C. Pappageotes and Philip D. Emmanuel, was published in 1959. The contents of all subsequent editions/revisions/reprints are identical to those of the original course book.

Customary Cortina Method
The Cortina Modern Greek course which, at 288 pages, was somewhat slimmer than the average course in the series, followed the customary Cortina Method of instruction (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations in columnar form).
Cortina Greek 0.JPG
Cortina Greek 0.JPG (74.58 KiB) Viewed 289 times


Language Variant: Katharevousa
It is important to note that the language variant taught in the Cortina Modern Greek course is Katharevousa which has been largely supplanted by Demotic.

Reviews
Putting aside comments on the HTLAL and LLORG confirming that the language variant is Katharevousa, there has been very little discussion of the Cortina Modern Greek course. Given the overall sound reputation of the Cortina courses, while a few Amazon Customer Reviews are favourable, a surprisingly-high number were rather negative. Many reviewers felt that the Cortina Modern Greek was too difficult for beginners. Could this be due to the difficulty of the language itself? I suspect that some of the students were novices whose expectations might have been unrealistic. In any event, it is a shame that they were most evidently unaware of the existence of the HTLAL and the LLORG!
Sidscott94 on Amazon in 2013 wrote: I liked this book and it helped me learn a lot of the things that one would need to learn quickly if they were looking to actually travel to Greece
Douglas P. Murphy on Amazon in 2010 wrote:I got this book after reading a basic, introductory book and I think that this one fills that role quite well. It doesn't make a great first book but is an excellent second one. The early chapters explain issues such as pronunciation. Then there are twenty chapters that have around two pages of vocabulary and a series of sentences with a pronunciation guide and translations. Thus through these sentences one can improve one's vocabulary and reading skills. At the end of the book are chapters on grammar and a dictionary. I like the format and this is a good stepping stone to reading books and articles
Dr Jeffry Graham wrote: This book is better suited to review or conversational practice. The lessons don't include any grammatical explanations. You're pretty much left to figure it out for yourself using the minimal footnotes, and comparing the words with the inflexion charts in the reference grammar in the back. I used this book in my first (unsuccessful) attempt to learn Modern Greek.
Hmm, apparently Dr. Graham did not reader the instructions for use and did not notice the very serviceable grammar (including the Study Plan for its use) located in the index!
Hunyadi on Amazon in 2014 wrote: This was a difficult language for me to attempt to learn. If you are a audial/visual learner this course is not for you. I did not like the layout of the book and I did not like presented material.
John Yacalis on Amazon in 2019 wrote: This text is good if you have no other source of learning, or if you are a monk in a cell with nothing to do but memorize and create practice drills by yourself. The transliteration from the Greek into English letters is actually quite good, but unless you have the tapes or CDs, you won't really know the correct pronunciation. The Greek in this book is older and quite formal, as is some of the writing and spelling, most probably because it was created in the 1950s by people who learned Greek 30 years earlier, from teachers that had learned Greek in the early 1900s. Older Greeks would understand what you are saying and younger Greeks could easily figure it out, as most of the words are still very much the same as spoken Greek today. Even modern Greek keeps the spelling and usage of older words, including many ancient Greek words, but this text does not teach the most modern usage. For example, to say "I came here", younger Greeks would say "Ertha etho" and older Greeks would say either the same "Ertha etho", or the older form of "iltha etho." Younger Greeks still would understand when an older Greek uses the older form "iltha etho." This book teaches the older form "iltha etho," but does NOT teach the modern form of "Ertha etho," which is being used more and more often these days. But this does not mean learning from this book will keep modern Greeks from understanding you. You will still be able to find all the words in this text in a modern Greek dictionary, and most of the phrases are correct and still used all the time, although some , and only some, may be a bit stilted or formal. But that's Greek for you! They say that modern Greeks can grasp the meaning of 50% of ancient Greek texts, and that the Greek language is very flexible. That is probably why it is the oldest still-spoken language in the world. And if you go on YouTube and try to find Greek lessons, you will see that the courses there also use both the older and the modern Greek.
The issue with this text is that it requires a lot of self study and outside study, and if you are not into plowing through pages of grammar explanations at the end of the book to see how to use the dialogues in the front of the book, then learning from this text will not be for you.
If you have a basic knowledge of Greek and a decent understanding that Greeks use various spellings for a word, then this is a decent 2nd level book and has a better than usual selection of reading material at the back.

A C Shrouf on Amazon in 2005 wrote: This was the first book I bought to help me learn Greek. I was very frustrated with it from the start, and bought other books to use instead. My husband speaks Greek fluently, so between him and the other books I bought I started to get a good understanding for the basics. I decided to give this book another try, and found it easier to use the second time around, but only because I was already able to speak and read a little Greek. The main problem with the book is that it uses vocabulary from the 1950, and since in the late 70's early '80's the Greek goverment decided to stop using all but one accent the words you learn from this book and the words you would actually see in Greece do not look the same. It is also entirely too formal. I would tell my husband a new sentence I learned from the book, and he would always say that, while technically correct, no one would actually speak that way. I noticed this problem alot while in Greece this year. I could not understand questions that I had learned because people don't say them the same way over there as it is printed in the book



Cortina Modern Greek Reader
Some members might be encouraged by the fact that the R. D. Cortina Company, or the Institute for Language Study, published a 64-page dual language reader under the title “Modern Greek Literary Gems” of Greek poetry and short essays. This hard-covered booklet, which was available for separate purchase, was included in the publisher’s “Master Linguish for Modern Greek” packages. One Amazon Customer Reviewer characterized the reader as “Truly fantastic!”
Cortina Modern Greek Reader.jpg
Cortina Modern Greek Reader.jpg (31.86 KiB) Viewed 438 times


EDITED:
Insertion of texts, images
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:54 pm, edited 12 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 12:02 am

Cortina Spanish

Editions
The first edition of Cortina Spanish appeared in 1889 under the title “The Cortina Method to Learn Spanish in Twenty Lessons” authored by R.D. Cortina. This was the first in a series of Cortina Method self-instructional language courses, serving as the template for all others. Frequently-revised, updated, and reprinted, it is difficult to estimate the number of editions. The final revision seems to have been effected in 1953 as part of a “series’ wide” revision. Since that time, all subsequent revisions/editions/reprints are identical in content to the 1953 edition.

Cortina Method
As the prototype of the Cortina Method, the 390-page course manual presented the target language in the manner established by the founder of the company (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, supported by notes at the bottom of the pages), accompanied by a very serviceable grammar in the index, plus a very good bilingual vocabulary.
Cortina Spanish 1.JPG
Cortina Spanish 1.JPG (120.51 KiB) Viewed 328 times

Cortina Spanish 2.JPG
Cortina Spanish 2.JPG (103.59 KiB) Viewed 328 times

Reviews
Given the more than century’s long existence of the Cortina Spanish course, and the popularity and commercial success that it enjoyed, I was surprised by the apparent lack of a specific discussion of this course on the HTLAL and LLORG language forums. Not only are copies of the course books beginning to disappear, so are the Amazon Customer Reviews of this now vintage course book; below is a sample of the remaining ones (NOTE: Given the age of the materials, some customers expressed dissatisfaction with the materials) :
S on Amazon in 2014 wrote: I used this book to learn Spanish many years ago. The format was perfect for me. Glad to see it is still in print. I like how it starts with the basics like family and nationalities, food, clothing, etc. before moving on to travel and other stuff. Each chapter introduces new words that will be used (a feature missing in the Berlitz Self-Teachers) and lovely illustrations. The conversations are multi-column, with the dialogue in Spanish, the pronunciation, and footnotes. I read and used this book from start to finish. The last couple of chapters are written entirely in Spanish and introduce the student to Spanish and Latin American culture. I second the reviewer who praised this book for highlighting these things. By the end, I could understand the language enough to be able to read literature in Castilian, which was my goal. Please note that I never used Spanish to travel, translate or speak with native Spanish-speakers. If you want to be fluent in Spanish and talk like a native speaker, I suggest you have a look at the Pimsleur stuff.

UPDATE: Since I wrote the above review, I've re-read the book (bought a new copy) and realized that a lot of the speech seems to be rather outdated. Also, the informal "you" is not taught and the formal "usted" is always used. Maybe a person more fluent in Spanish would know better, but I feel this book is more appropriate for learning formal and literary Spanish (as was my aim back then) but not for everyday conversation. I will have to look into Pimsleur or something else for that, I guess. Still, a good book to use. The book has more than just 20 lessons, by the way. That's just half of it. The other half is dedicated to vocabulary and grammar.
John P. Ricket on Amazon in 2013 wrote: I needed multiple copies of this book for a class and was dismayed to find that it appears not to be in print now. Thankfully, I was mistaken. It is still available directly from Cortina in Wilton, CT.

This is an excellent book to learn Spanish from, but let me comment first on a couple of the seeming drawbacks others have mentioned. It's true the book is old, but that is a great part of its charm. It is really a very fine and gracious introduction to the best of Spanish culture. Despite the title, this is not some slightly-dressed-up phrase book as, it seems, other books are tending towards becoming these days. The grammatical appendix is superb: very clear and thorough. Don't let minor things like "vapor" for "steamship" draw you away from a very good book. The reality is, you'll learn the vocabulary you need to based on what you do and hope to do with the language. That is true of any language. I should also mention that the pronunciation given is Castilian, but it really is easy to learn Latin-American pronunciation, and there is now a great availability of mp3's, radio, TV, and so forth. So again, it's not really a problem.

What I really like the most, among many things, is the very noble and civilized character of this book. I believe that there is too much tendency (not necessarily culpable or even conscious, but a tendency nevertheless) for Americans to look at Spanish or Latin cultures in a somewhat haughty way, whether it be disapproving or patronizing. Instead, this book cordially introduces the reader to the admirable quality of Spanish and Latin cultures, and the later lessons in the book give a good overview of notable writers, for example. If you learn this book, you will know Spanish and I hope you'll feel as though you've found a new friend.
Kendrick Jackocks on Amazon in 2014 wrote:I needed multiple copies of this book for a class and was dismayed to find that it appears not to be in print now. Thankfully, I was mistaken. It is still available directly from Cortina in Wilton, CT.

This is an excellent book to learn Spanish from, but let me comment first on a couple of the seeming drawbacks others have mentioned. It's true the book is old, but that is a great part of its charm. It is really a very fine and gracious introduction to the best of Spanish culture. Despite the title, this is not some slightly-dressed-up phrase book as, it seems, other books are tending towards becoming these days. The grammatical appendix is superb: very clear and thorough. Don't let minor things like "vapor" for "steamship" draw you away from a very good book. The reality is, you'll learn the vocabulary you need to based on what you do and hope to do with the language. That is true of any language. I should also mention that the pronunciation given is Castilian, but it really is easy to learn Latin-American pronunciation, and there is now a great availability of mp3's, radio, TV, and so forth. So again, it's not really a problem.

What I really like the most, among many things, is the very noble and civilized character of this book. I believe that there is too much tendency (not necessarily culpable or even conscious, but a tendency nevertheless) for Americans to look at Spanish or Latin cultures in a somewhat haughty way, whether it be disapproving or patronizing. Instead, this book cordially introduces the reader to the admirable quality of Spanish and Latin cultures, and the later lessons in the book give a good overview of notable writers, for example. If you learn this book, you will know Spanish and I hope you'll feel as though you've found a new friend.
Garp10 on Amazon in 2009 wrote: This entire series is very good at reinforcing one's foreign language skills. I have three Cortina book (Russian, Spanish & German) and all do a great job of refreshing common, everyday, conversational language skills. The pace is easy and there are numerous tips/advice that explain why a certain word or phrase is used. Every book has a decent dictionary with vocabulary and grammar exercises to help everyone from beginner to intermediate level.
TW on Amazon in 2013 wrote: Other reviewers have mentioned the use of dated words (vapor for steamship, aeroplano instead of avión for airplane). However, that can be overlooked or accommodations can be made. The outline for the lessons, the repetition of the limited vocabulary -- all of this makes it a good book to start a language program.
P. Lebron on Amazon in 2001 wrote: If you want a good grammar reference, this is the book. However, the text is old. There are several vocabulary items that reveal the original age in which the course was written (1882). For example, in the travel chapter, it has the Spanish word el vapor, steamship. Hey, we don't even call them by that term in English! Also, the pronunciation guide is for the Madrid dialect only, with no variation for Latin America. Sr. Cortina had a good idea in 1882, but the methods and language have changed over the last 120 years. Perhaps the publishers should consider either updating the material or taking this one out of print. By the way, I am a Spanish teacher who was looking for a simple conversational book for adults with little or no background. Needless to say, I had to do a lot to supplement this text.


EDITED:
Insertion of texts, images.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:19 pm, 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 12:03 am

Cortina Russian

Editions
The first edition of “Cortina Conversational Russian in 20 Lessons” course, authored jointly by Alfred Senn and Andrey Rozhdestvensky, was published in 1951, reprinted without changes in 1952, with a new edition being published as part of the “series-wide revision” of 1953 the latter having no effect on the contents of the Cortina Russian course. Thereafter, all subsequent editions/revisions/reprints were identical to the original as to content.

Modified Cortina Method
Cortina’s general approach to teaching foreign languages (dialogues, phonetic transcriptions, translations in columnar form, supplemented by notes at the bottom of the pages) was initially maintained in their Russian course, but abandoned following Lesson 3.
Cortina Russian 0 Conversations.JPG
Cortina Russian 0 Conversations.JPG (58.11 KiB) Viewed 348 times

Exercises (Sentence-Pattern Drills)
Whereas the dialogues are somewhat shorter than 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 (cases, word order, etc.), a feature which seldom appears in the Cortina courses.
Cortina Russian 1 Exercises.JPG
Cortina Russian 1 Exercises.JPG (109.02 KiB) Viewed 348 times

Also, with a few exceptions, the lessons do not open with lists of new vocabulary. Finally, the Cortina Russian course introduces approximately 3,700 vocabulary items, a number which is significantly higher than most of the other courses in the series.

Grammar
The very serviceable grammar in the appendix, at 208 pages and which accounts for roughly half of the course manual, was unusually complete and particularly-well supported by example sentences and notes referenced (via numbered superscripts) back to the lessons. As a result, the notes appearing at the bottom of the pages in the lessons are often shorter than those of other Cortina courses.
Cortina Russian 2 Grammar.JPG
Cortina Russian 2 Grammar.JPG (61.86 KiB) Viewed 348 times

Audio Recordings (original)
The original audio recordings were available as sets of 11 x 10-inch x 78 rpm shellac records, stored in a sturdy album, having a total duration of approximately 1-1/4 hours, which is rather short for such a comprehensive course book and for such a difficult language. While this meagre audio support would have been appreciated by the student, regrettably, the recordings were of the dialogues only. That is, they excluded the exercises (sentence-pattern drills) which, to a certain extent, having been conceived to reinforce the language’s structure, formed the backbone of the course. Of note is that the cadence of speech is much faster than that of, say, the Cortina French and Cortina German courses. These recordings, furnished by HTLAL/LLORG member jpazzz, are hosted on the Yojik.eu website and on that of the Indiana University CeLT Recorded Materials Archive.
Cortina Russian Record.JPG
Cortina Russian Record.JPG (29.41 KiB) Viewed 448 times

Audio Recordings (re-recorded)
A second, unofficial, set of recordings was prepared by unknown persons, apparently in the 1970’s. These contained not only the dialogues, but also the exercises (sentence-pattern drills) and were of a greater duration than the originals, at approximately xxx hours in length. HTLAL/LLORG member jpazzz had recovered these recordings from a website, which no longer exists, some years ago. During my communications with Ms. Magdalen Livesey, then President, Cortina Learning International, Inc., in 2016, concerning the hosting of the Cortina Russian and Cortina Japanese materials on the Indiana University CeLT Recorded Materials Archive website, she voiced her surprise at the existence of these unauthorized recordings, but expressed her opinion that, as the holder of the copyrights to the Cortina materials, these fell within her authority to give permission to their release via the Indiana University website and elsewhere. These recordings are also hosted on the Yojik.eu website.

Audio Recordings (corrected)
In 2018, LLORG member, MoscowJoe, reported deficiencies in the second set of recordings and very kindly arranged for corrections/updates to be prepared. These, too, are now hosted on the Yojik.eu website.

Audio Recordings (sample)
I have a complete set of the original 10-inch x 78 rpm shellac records as well as the 7-inch x 78 rpm vinyl sample record for Cortina Russian. I confirm that the sample recordings are not extracts of the former.

Reviews
Although the Cortina Russian course is not frequently mentioned on the LLORG, comments on the HTLAL and those by Amazon Customers have been quite favourable. Nevertheless, some reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction with the course owing to its age and to the, at times, less-than-engaging example sentences and dialogues. A point to bear in mind in reading the Amazon Customer Reviews is that it is highly unlikely that these students would have had access to the unofficial audio recordings which HTLAL/LLORG member jpazzz discovered and which the President, Cortina International, subsequently authorized for hosting on the Yojik.eu website and on that of Indiana University.

A. Burroughs on Amazon in 2010 wrote:After spending a bloody fortune on the best Russian language learning resources available (Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, Living Language, Barrons, Teach Yourself, Penton, etc.) and crashing and burning despite much hard effort (yes, it is possible to feel your actual brain ache inside your head without having a headache), I picked up an ancient copy of this little grammar book (I own the 1963 version) for a couple of bucks and it has become my primary learning resource upon which my current success has been built.

Memorizing a list of vocabulary words and reading and writing out dozens of brutal rote grammar exercises every chapter using the new words and grammar tricks may sound like a B-horror movie flashback to middle school (not to mention tedious and boring), but after dropping a few thousand dollars on all the "easy" flashy stuff that doesn't stick, I have to say that getting a copy of this little book is definitely the way to go if you are truly serious about not embarrassing yourself or getting lost once you land in Russia. There's no such thing as a free lunch, or an "easy" way to learn a new language without a good amount of rote memorization. The flashy courses are great for supplementing how to actually pronounce the words you will learn to both read and write, but trust me when I say buy this book FIRST and spend a few hours every week writing out a chapter for at least the first 8 chapters before you spring for a pricey Pimsleur program.
The Conductor on Amazon in 2008 wrote:If you are serious about learning a language, and not just phrases, you must practice. More comprehensive than a typical audio course, and much cheaper & more convenient than a software package, this book serves as a handy study aid. Yes the material is dated (pretty much unchanged from the 50's), and the typography is a mess. You would be nuts if you tried to learn Russian from this book alone. But for $10 you get a cornucopia of study material. Repetition, variation, and drills. And repetition.

The approach to grammar is unique: when a new grammatical form is encountered, it is cross-referenced to one of the thousand or so endnotes that expound (in great detail) on the principle at issue. These endnotes comprise about a third of the book. Nice idea, but it makes the book much harder to use as a reference. (For reference purposes, get Kemple's Russian grammatica.)

The book would be infinitely more useful if Cortina Languages made the audio available as downloadable MP3's. There is a card to mail in & order phonograph records, but I didn't actually try it. They don't have it on the website so I doubt it is available. As it is though, $10 is worth it just as a study aid.
Dr Tom on Amazon in 2006 wrote:Definitely a vintage book,Stalingrad is mentioned in one of the dialogues but valuable none the less.It starts off with simple conversations with english side by side with the Russian for ease of use.Each chapter concentrates on a grammar point which is illustated with many example sentences incorporating the relevant structures.I find this method superior for language learning as it enables you to assimilate by example rather than intellectual analysis which I believe is a barrier to fluency in any language.If you are studying Russian then audio from another course is essential, this book would be an useful to addition that.
Lawrence Slobodzian on Amazon in 2007 wrote:The content of this book is a useful supplement to other methods of study. No one method is going to make you fluent, so I am using Pimsleur Method and a few books. The Cortina Method is based on grammatical rules and repetition. If this were the only method available to me, I would have quit on page 3. As a supplement, I am using it to develop my cyrillic reading skills and vocabulary. The print is horrible, but the organization is great. If you have the drive and determination, the Cortina method can be useful. However, I would look at other books and methods first.
Alfonso on Amazon in 2011 wrote:I bought this book based in the many good reviews it has, but frankly now that I have it I found it is greatly over-rated. The first flaw is that is very outdated, first printed in 1952. The dialogues are almost surreal. For example in lesson 5 he introduces as examples of a dialogue between friends these two pearls: "For whom are you sending your son"???, "Behind whom is the dog running"?? If you want to have a complet and cheap aid to learn Russian you better by "take off in Russian" , which is sold here in Amazon.
jpazzz on HTLAL in 2015 wrote: On to Cortina Russian. Russian seems to be a difficult language for which to write good courses. As Dr, Arguelles (sp?) mentions, the Cortina Russian course has shorter dialogs than , say, French, German, etc. and has many drills (which French and German do not). The first two lessons have vocabularies that are recorded as well as the Conversations. The subsequent Lessons (there are a total of twenty-one rather than the twenty of most Cortina courses) have the conversations recorded, but do not have separate vocabularies. The recordings are, as usual with Cortina, done with clear speakers, and at a faster pace than the French or German recordings. Again, my copy of the recordings is on 78 RPM records (I believe this is the only form in which the Russian recordings were released) and run one hour and thirteen minutes, all Russian...I have, needless to say transferred my 78s to CDs. The course begins in the usual Cortina three column format mentioned above, but the middle, transliteration column, disappears after lesson three. And, of course the twenty-one lessons (192 pgs.) are followed by a two hundred, eight page grammar. I might add here that Cortina course seem in general to give you a minimum of necessary grammar in the lessons with copious references to finer grammar points found as numbered notes in the Lessons. Finally, there is a general vocabulary. One of my copies of this text mentions that it give s 3700 word vocabulary. I really like this Cortina Russian course. It's challenging, but clear and very, very well worked out. I'm not sure how I would feel about it if I didn't have the recordings which can be used to shadow (which I don't do), or simultaneously listened to and read which is how many things that require memorization are for me best handled. Repetition. Repetition.


LINKS

Indiana University
http://celt.indiana.edu/portal/languages/russian/archive.html#menu

Yojik
https://yojik.eu/languages/cortina.html

EDITED:
Insertion of text.
Images, tinkering.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:51 pm, edited 15 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 12:05 am

Cortina Vietnamese

A Distant Cousin
Although Cortina marketed a “Master Linguist Course in Vietnamese”, this language did not form part of the publisher’s mainstay “Conversation [language] in 20 Lessons” series.
Cortina 20 (Master Linguist Vietnamese).JPG
Cortina 20 (Master Linguist Vietnamese).JPG (32.59 KiB) Viewed 577 times

Materials
The base materials for this Master Linguist Vietnamese course were the booklet “Vest Pocket Vietnamese” published under Cortina’s “Institute for Language Study” and the accompanying audio recordings which were of a much shorter duration than those accompanying the “20 Lessons” courses. The other materials were a tourist guide entitle “"Passport Vietnamese,: a guide to Vietnam” and a bilingual dictionary.

Methodology
While the 384-page, tiny language guide offered the user a surprisingly well-conceived selection of phrases for use in predictable situations of daily life likely to be encountered by a traveller, notes on pronunciation, concise but solid notes on the L2 grammar, and a serviceable glossary, and while it was quite serviceable given the genre, it was not at all as comprehensive as the publisher’s “20 Lessons” courses.

Language Variant: Southern Vietnamese
Although a number of differences between the Northern and Southern variants are described in this language guide, the emphasis is on the instruction of the Southern variant.

Reviews
I have been unable to locate any reviews of Cortina Vietnamese on the HTLAL/LLORG language forums. While there are no Amazon Customer Reviews for the title “Vest Pocket Vietnamese”, which forms the basis of “Master Linguist for Vietnamese” package, I did locate two reviews under the title “Vietnamese in a Nutshell” the contents of which are identical to the “Vest Pocket” title.
croc lover on Amazon in 2016 wrote: Five stars. very useful for learning the language
FA on Amazon in 2007 wrote: This book teaches Southern Vietnamese. I believe it's easier to learn the southern style, then adjust to the northern, than the other way around. If you have more Southern Vietnamese friends or plan to spend more time in the South, then that seals the deal. I don't think it comes with tapes, though. It's an old book.


EDITED:
insert of texts and images.
Formatting.
Tinkering.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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.
x 6415

Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:02 am

Cortina Language-Travel Guides
In the mid-1950’s, the R.D. Cortina Company published two “Cortina Language-Travel Guides”, one destined for use by prospective visitors to France, the other for visitors to Mexico and Latin America. I have a complete set of the French Travel Guide materials.

The materials comprised: (a) one hardbound book, measuring approximately 5-inches x 8-inches, of some 400-plus pages in length, and (b) a boxed set of 10-inch x 78 rpm shellac records. Curiously, the book and records were published under different titles: the book was entitled “France on Your Own” and the set of records was entitled “Talking Your Way Through France”, a matter which rendered matching these items, purchased from two different vendors, something of a challenge!
Cortina France on Your Own (book).JPG
Cortina France on Your Own (book).JPG (53.23 KiB) Viewed 551 times

Cortina Talking Your Way Through France 1.JPG
Cortina Talking Your Way Through France 1.JPG (74.86 KiB) Viewed 551 times

The Travel Guide was not written by the staff of R.D. Cortina. Rather, the work had been contracted to two notable travel writers both of whom had extensive experience in writing comprehensive tourist guides. The guide book was separated into 23 chapters, each covering a subject of interest to the prospective tourist, businessman, student, would-be worker, retiree, and anyone else who might have plans of either visiting or settling more-or-less permanently in France. Detailed advice was provided on how to get around in the country, how to file for immigrant status, how to apply for a job, how to locate temporary or permanent lodgings, how to negotiate room and rental rates, and all of the other matters that a visitor or new resident would have to cope with.

Inserted through the book were phrases in French, along with translations, which a visitor/traveller/new resident would find most useful during their sojourn.
Cortina France on Your Own 1.JPG
Cortina France on Your Own 1.JPG (92.31 KiB) Viewed 421 times

These useful phrases were repeated, grouped according to theme, along with the translations, in a 36-page appendix entitled “Your Conversational Sentences” which was augmented by a handy tourist-level dictionary. The audio recordings were those of the phrases just mentioned.
Cortina France on Your Own 2.JPG
Cortina France on Your Own 2.JPG (80.04 KiB) Viewed 421 times

All-in-all, an atypical product for a company which, up to that time, had focused almost exclusively on its mainstay product, the Cortina Method self-instructional language courses.

EDITED:
Completion of the text, plus attachments
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.
x 6415

Re: Cortina Languages Institute (1882 – 2017)

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:16 am

Cortina French and English Military Manual (1917)
Purpose
The United States declared war on Germany in April 1917. Shortly thereafter, in July of that year, at the request of the U.S. Government, the R.D. Cortina Co. published a military language manual destined to meet the “military” communications needs of officers serving under the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.) in France and Belgium. The manual was published under the title “Cortina French and English Military Manual” and was accredited to Jean Alcide Picard who, from a reading of the brief dedication of the book, appears to have served as an infantry officer in the French army.

Materials
The materials comprised: (a) a smallish, hard covered Military Manual measuring approximately 4 inches x 6-1/4 inches, totalling some 300 pages, (b) a set of 30 x 78 rpm flat, circular shellac records having an estimated 3-1/2 hours total duration, and (c) a sturdy carrying/storage case for the records. The image below is that of the jacket cover.
Cortina French-English Military Manual.JPG
Cortina French-English Military Manual.JPG (37.53 KiB) Viewed 319 times

Scope, Level of Difficulty, Pre-requisite
It should be noted that the “Cortina French and English Military Manual” was NOT a course of instruction in elementary French. Rather, these were supplemental materials for use by a specific group the members of which were presumed to possess a basic knowledge of the language. In the Preface, the author advises the reader: “… it is, of course, in a book of this character to impart elementary instruction in the French language except as it relates to military affairs … Persons who lack an elementary knowledge of French should use in conjunction with this Manual the Cortina 'French in Twenty Lessons' a standard textbook which is admirably adapted to self-study."

Having surveyed the contents of Military Manual, I would estimate that the conversations and other materials operate with the CEFR B1-B2 range. While English translations accompany the French texts, there were no notes on grammar, on common usage, on idiomatic expressions, or any other support to the user. In my view, using this manual “in conjunction with” the Cortina French in Twenty Lessons course would have represented a significant challenge, one so imposing that the user would have had to advance to the final lessons of the Cortina French course in order to understand the materials in the Military Manual. In other words, the completion Cortina French in Twenty Lessons course, or one leading to a CEFR B1 level would have been a pre-requisite for using the Military Manual.

Methodology
The methodology resembles somewhat superficially the publisher’s Direct Method whereby the target language, French in this case, is presented in a series of conversations in columnar fashion, flanked by an American English translation of equivalent value. In some instances (for example, those dealing with prisoners of war), the conversations were in German. The editors dispensed with the Phonetic Pronunciation Guide which frequently accompanied the standard Cortina language courses. As noted above, there were no notes on grammar, on common usage, on idiomatic expressions, or any other support to the user.

Contents
The contents of the Military Manual were arranged into 22 chapters covering topics such as military clothing, equipment, organization at the company and headquarters’ level, military transport, hospitals, lines of communication, preparing for an attack, artillery, aviation, cavalry, spies, military police, prisoners, and military leave, plus 15 annexes covering military insignia, equipment, and the like. While most of the information was textual in nature, there were numerous illustrations, diagrams, and multi-coloured plates.
The two images below depict, respectively, German military insignia and the French 75 mm field artillery piece.
IMAGE German Military Insignia.JPG
IMAGE German Military Insignia.JPG (72.5 KiB) Viewed 203 times

IMAGE French 75 mm cannon.JPG
IMAGE French 75 mm cannon.JPG (78.3 KiB) Viewed 203 times

The image below depicts the interrogation (in German) of a prisoner of war.
IMAGE Suspected Spy.JPG
IMAGE Suspected Spy.JPG (127.45 KiB) Viewed 203 times

The image below depicts an exchange prior to the interrogation of a suspected spy.
IMAGE Prisoner of War.JPG
IMAGE Prisoner of War.JPG (118.26 KiB) Viewed 203 times

Assessment: Excellent!
Given the purpose and scope of the programme of instruction and taking into consideration the audio recording technology of the early 20th century, for someone possessing a CEFR B1 level of French and who would be serving with the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.) in France and Belgium at time, possibly as a military liaison officer, these “supplemental” language materials (a 300-page printed manual, accompanied by 3-1/2 hours of audio recordings) would have provided the user with all of the vocabulary and formulations necessary to developing their abilities in clear and effective communications with members of the French military and civilian authorities. That is, they would have supported a degree of “functional fluency” in the environment for which they were designed.

Clearly, more than a century on, the “Cortina French and English Military Manual” would be of primary interest to collectors of vintage language-learning materials and possibly those of military memorabilia. Copies of the Manual, either as originals or as reprints, are available for purchase via the websites of the major online booksellers. I would not be surprised to learn that the audio recordings have been preserved somewhere in the vast collections of the U.S. Government. But, how would one locate them?

eBook
Our friend cjareck located an eBook version of this work, I was not aware that there two editions. Merci, cjareck!
cjareck wrote: … I found the book on Archive org:
Special edition:
https://archive.org/details/cortinafren ... 7/mode/2up
Second edition:
https://archive.org/details/cortinafren ... 7/mode/2up



EDITED:
Insertion of the presentation into this post which had been previously reserved for such a purpose.
Insertion of several images.
Tinkering, formatting, typos.
1 x


Return to “Language Programs and Resources”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests