Teach Yourself Latvian – Complete Latvian Review
by Terēze Svilāne
Teach Yourself Latvian is designed to learn not only Latvian vocabulary and grammar, but most importantly to get the feel of everyday spoken language.
Each lesson is designed according to theme. For example, chapter 10 deals with traveling and directions. Every lesson has several dialogues you read in the book and also listen on audio CD. After the dialogue there is a compact vocabulary to learn words or expressions in the context of the dialogue. After you finished reading and listening to dialogue you read ‘language points’ or detailed explanations of expressions you just learned, relevant conjugation or other grammar issues. Each lesson also contains section for practicing reading out loud and exercises to reinforce what has been learned in the lesson.
- Comprehensive Latvian course with lots of attention to grammar structure, syntax, sentence formation and real life expressions.
- Not academic, but rather casual way to learn while still maintaining strong focus on serious learning.
- There is a lot of cultural information to learn along and many expressions that are used in every day speech. For example, about Latvian attitude and customs regarding flowers.
- Might be little too overwhelming because of the amount of information presented.
- Traditional format: book+ audio seems a little bit outdated in the world of modern technology, where voice recognition software and interactive learning has become an industry standard.
- Hard to determine one’s progress or areas that need to be strengthened, because of large amount of information that needs to be absorbed in concentrated form.
Teach Yourself Latvian – The bottom line
Latvian is not an easy language to learn. That is why people adopt two approaches. One is just by learning basic vocabulary and phrase to go by or deciding on serious learning that involves months and even years of study. Teach Yourself Latvian tries to combine both. It teaches everyday conversations together with explanation of complex grammar structures.
The author has succeeded in a way that rather complicated grammar structures and expressions are explained in somehow light manner in the context of dialogues. However, there is simply too much material to remember and to my mind the program is little bit too overwhelming for absolute beginners. Probably the author was right when she said that idea is to take a step by step approach and to get flair of the language first even without understanding all rules.
So the bottom line is that Teach Yourself Latvian is good for those who are looking for in-depth study of beginner Latvian and are ready for serious commitment to learning.
Terēze Svilāne has long experience in private Latvian tutoring. She is Latvian who was born in Australia to Latvian parents. Terēze currently resides in UK.