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Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:02 pm
by David1917
I dragged my girlfriend to countless used bookstores across Berlin & Vienna last summer in search of Langenscheidt books. While I did eventually find one of their short 30 Lessons in Danish courses in Vienna, it wasn't until we got back to Berlin on the last day that I discovered Pequod Books and picked up 2 Praktische Lehrbuecher, one more 30 Lesson course, and a Kurzgrammatik of a language I have no intentions of even thinking about learning in the foreseeable future - Ancient Greek. Just saw it and had to have it.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:46 am
by Axon
I never want to buy very much when I'm just traveling because I always travel out of a backpack and books are heavy. I did pick up a Polish-German phrasebook the first time I went to Poland and had a good time trying to use it in reverse.

Living abroad, though, all bets are off. Books are cheap in both China and Indonesia, and only the thought of how I'm going to get it all to the US is stopping me from buying more. I might give in when it comes to the very useful books for Southeast Asian languages.

The most interesting/useful might be a book in Indonesian on Indonesian syntax (why didn't I buy the phonology and morphology ones?) and a miniaturized cram book of useful quotations and set phrases for Chinese students writing high school essays.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:27 am
by Serpent
Iversen wrote:I mostly buy dictionaries - and it seems that the easiest way to find a Something->Finnish dictionaries or Estonian both ways is to buy a plane ticket to one of those two places
Have you tried adlibris.com?

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:07 pm
by Iversen
I hadn't even heard about adlibris.com, but I checked it, and it supplied me with a useful title, namely Norstedts Swedish-Finnish dictionary. I already have got Norstedts Swedish-Icelandic dictionary, and that's quite good (and my Swedish vocabulary is sufficiently extensive for using it). Unfortunately the book was out of stock by adlibris, but I found the same book in a Danish online store so I have now ordered it there. It isn't cheap at around 60 €, but so be it.

An Estonian dictionary is harder to find, but it's a long time since I last visited the Baltic countries (and FInland, for that matter) so I guess I can find one there. Maybe it's about time to organise a voyage. The Danish bookstore did mention a dictionary with all the Baltic languages in one volume, but since I already own nice big Langenscheidts for Lithuanian and Latvian that option wasn't really tempting. Now I just have the problem that it will take some time before I can find time to look more closely into any of the languages of that region.

Thanks to Serpent for the hint.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:12 pm
by Iversen
Axon wrote:The most interesting/useful might be a book in Indonesian on Indonesian syntax (why didn't I buy the phonology and morphology ones?)

Wouldn't all three be booklets rather than fullsize books?

As for the phonology I have seen some language guides with 'pronunciation help' that was more confusing than what you get simply from reading the normal orthography, which is excellent. And syntax - well, syntax borders on idiomatics, but in itself the syntax shouldn't warrant a big fat book.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:28 pm
by Axon
Iversen wrote:
Axon wrote:The most interesting/useful might be a book in Indonesian on Indonesian syntax (why didn't I buy the phonology and morphology ones?)

Wouldn't all three be booklets rather than fullsize books?

As for the phonology I have seen some language guides with 'pronunciation help' that was more confusing than what you get simply from reading the normal orthography, which is excellent. And syntax - well, syntax borders on idiomatics, but in itself the syntax shouldn't warrant a big fat book.


Sintaksis is a rather slim volume, cheaply printed from a university press. 167 pages, A5 size, just over 1000 examples. I recall that the phonology one was shorter, but likely went into greater detail about historical sound changes, loan word adaptations, prosody, and the things unmarked in Indonesian orthography like vowel changes before consonants. I do recall that it was printed using IPA but without the actual IPA symbols, thus a full-size capital I for the high mid unrounded vowel and a question mark for the glottal stop. That was certainly a black mark against it.

Remember, my backpack had to hold my clothes, camera, laptop, and other books too!

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:28 am
by Bluepaint
Language nerd fail: got hit with an excess baggage charge yesterday. Ouch :( all was fine before the second round of book shopping.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:21 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
My friend and I bought so much that we had to ship most of it back home... (having to carry everything on the train from Inverness to London and then paying extra baggage charges wasn't really an option).

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:33 pm
by Versus
I mostly buy cookbooks with national recipes.

Re: Shopping for language materials when travelling

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:03 pm
by Iversen
I travel with just handluggage and haven't got anything sent home so far, so weight and size are major factors for me. And therefore most of my acquisitions abroad have been in the form of magazines - mostly science magazines - because I can read them in small bits, and they are more varied than books about one subject. The literary works I have bought can be counted on one hand, and I mostly bought them in order to read them during a flight or train travel - and then I didn't like the thought of throwing them out (like Harry Potter III in Portuguese). And of course I have also bought some dictionaries and grammars. And well, also a couple of small culinary booklets - one in Malaysian and the other in Russian (from the airport in Chambéry in France of all places - but at the time it was flooded by Russian tourists).

The first of the two images below show my purchases in Albania in 2012 (on the floor of the Mother Tereza airport), and the second one show the items I added in Hamburg - but at that point weight was less important since I went home by train.

F3922b05_MotherTereza.jpg
F3922b05_MotherTereza.jpg (30.1 KiB) Viewed 427 times

f3923b05_Fuhlsbüttel.jpg
f3923b05_Fuhlsbüttel.jpg (19.28 KiB) Viewed 427 times