Berlitz Think & Talk: Russian/Japanese
At the time that I prepared the presentation on the “Berlitz Think & Talk” first generation courses, above, I had a copy of these materials for the study of French, German, Italian and Spanish, but not those for the study of either Russian or Japanese. Based on the materials that I had on hand, I assumed that the latter followed the same approach to teaching as the former. Some months subsequent to the above presentation, I came across this comment from March 2011 by jpazzz
on the HTLAL: “There is also a Think and Talk Russian, but it wasn't produced by the Berlitz staff and has a different format. And I believe there is a Think and Talk Japanese, but I've never used it and can't comment.”
Jpazzz was right! Berlitz Think & Talk Russian
Upon reading jpazzz' comments, I purchased a copy Berlitz Think & Talk Russian. As he reported, this course was not developed by the Berlitz staff nor does it follow the same approach to instruction as was adopted for French, German, Italian, or Spanish courses in the series. Rather, it is an English adaptation of the Dutch-language-based course “Russisch: Een Taalcursus Voor Beginners” by Mirjam Ooms and Olga Tielkes, published in 1991. The materials include 2 course manuals and 6 audio cassettes, packaged in a hard-shell plastic case.
The bilingual “Study Guide” presents the target language through a series of dialogues, exercises, and radio plays which are accompanied by notes on grammar and comments on Russian culture. The unilingual Russian “Key” contains a transcript of the audio recordings of the dialogues, exercises, and radio plays. Whereas the recorded voices in the example dialogues and exercises are clear and fairly well-articulated, those in the radio plays are veiled somewhat by the deliberate inclusion of background noise (traffic noise, passers-by on the street, staff and patrons in restaurants, radio and television broadcasts, et cetera) which are meant to simulate a more realistic environment for the student. In addition, the speakers in the radio plays make few attempts at articulating their speech. The course is fast-paced, quite challenging, but of unquestionably high quality. There are more materials packed into this course than, say, the Assimil Russian course. The level on completion would be in the CEFR B1 area. Highly recommended! Think and Talk: Russian – Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Think-Russian-Berlitz-Publishing-Company/dp/2831516757/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Berlitz+Think+%26+Talk+Russian&qid=1562507030&s=gateway&sr=8-2 Berlitz Think & Talk Japanese
Although I do not have a copy of Berlitz Think & Talk Japanese, it is clear from the “Look Inside” images on Amazon.com that this course does not follow the same approach to instruction as was adopted for French, German, Italian, or Spanish courses in the series. The materials include 3 course manuals and 6 audio cassettes, packaged in a hard-shell plastic case.
The course appears to provide an elementary introduction to Katakan/Hiragan with a reliance thereafter on Kanji for the bulk of the lessons which present the language through situational dialogues. Ample notes accompany the dialogues. It would be reasonable to assume that the recordings are in the target language only. While I have not come across any reviews of this course, the “Look Inside” images on Amazon.com inspire confidence and, were I interested in studying Japanese, I would not hesitate in trying this course. I would not be surprised to discover that the level upon completion would be CEFR A2 or slightly higher. Think and Talk: Japanese – Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Think-Talk-Berlitz-Publishing-Company/dp/2831516544/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=