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Elementary Vietnamese: Moi Ban Noi Tieng Viet. Let's Speak Vietnamese. [With MP3] (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 7. Mai 2013

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"This is a superbly constructed textbook written by an experienced teacher for the benefits of beginning learners of Vietnamese…Professor Ngo is to be congratulated on his outstanding achievement; he has indeed produced a powerful tool in the area of learning resources for Southeast Asian languages." —Nguyen Dinh–Hoa, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Foreign Languages, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

"…It comes with a mp3 CD, which is super important because Vietnamese is a tonal language and the tones can be subtle to untrained ears." —I'm Not the Nanny

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Dr. Binh Nhu Ngo is the Director of the Vietnamese Language Program in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and has been teaching Vietnamese there since 1992. He was born and educated in Hanoi, and earned his Ph.D. in linguistics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He has taught Vietnamese and linguistics at Moscow University, and since 1992 he has taught at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) and at a number of universities and colleges in the United States. He was the Vice-President of the Council of Teachers of Southeast Asian Languages (COTSEAL) and represents Harvard University at the Group of Universities for the Advancement of Vietnamese Abroad (GUAVA), whose Chair he has been since 2003. His other books include Speak & Read Vietnamese and Continuing Vietnamese.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 11 Rezensionen
18 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Audio CD is a plus. 14. Juni 2013
Von N. Trinh - Veröffentlicht auf
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I'm Vietnamese, but I consider English as my primary language. I know how to speak Vietnamese with my parents, but I think that's because they've grown accustomed to my broken sentence fragments. Plus, I forget basic words sometimes (like the Vietnamese word for college, Spanish, pregnant etc.) So when I saw this book, I thought "what the hey I got summer vacation to tackle this."

The book starts off easy for me, but boy does it get progressively harder. The book teaches you Vietnamese grammar (preposition, adverbs, etc.). Sad thing is I barely understood what a preposition meant, so I found myself skimming those parts. The conversational text and vocab list in the book are a lot more handy for me since they are accompanied by audio (~8 hrs worth). The bonus of the audio CD is that you can pop it into the computer and drag the MP3 files (>1 GB) to your desktop for transfer to an iPod or something.

The negative (or positive to some) is the exercises in the book. I don't think there are answer keys for them so you will have to judge for yourself the correctness of your answer.

Overall, I think this is a good beginner book for myself. The audio CD is a lot more beneficial than the grammar lessons, but hey I'm not trying to write a dissertation in Vietnamese or anything like that. I'm just trying to retain my heritage.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very good for serious, dedicated home study... 15. Juli 2013
Von VG - Veröffentlicht auf long as you already have some knowledge of the language. Look, it may be called Elementary Vietnamese, but it's a textbook for a university course, and it's meant to be delivered by a professor who answers questions, demonstrates pronunciation, cajoles, encourages and explains. If you're a complete beginner, you're likely to be overwhelmed, but it's nonetheless good for serious home study, as long as you already have some Vietnamese under your belt, and you're willing to make a considerable effort.

(First, a quick paragraph about my knowledge of Vietnamese, so you can better judge my review against your own situation: I'm a native speaker of English, and I also speak fluent French. I've been teaching myself Vietnamese for two-and-a-half years now. I did the 30 Pimsleur Viet lessons (excellent), and I've been through all 105 L-Lingo Viet lessons once (pretty good). I often use the Tuttle Compact English-Viet dictionary, and I also have Quinn's book, Beginner's Vietnamese, but it's dated and slow going. I try, but mostly do not succeed, to read an article in an online Viet newspaper daily. I have also used fun learning aids, such as Sing n' Learn Vietnamese.)

The name of the book notwithstanding, Elementary Vietnamese is more advanced than anything else I've used, and it moves at a very rapid pace. For example, whereas Pimsleur lightly touches on tense markers during 30 lessons, Elementary Vietnamese covers them thoroughly, about eight of them, with usage notes, exceptions, etc., in just one lesson, with very little hand-holding. And the book uses proper terminology for everything, as a course textbook should, so be prepared for predicates, relative subordinate clauses, velar fricatives and the like. It introduces new words at a furious clip, but as a home learner, you of course have the option of taking your time.

A few practical notes: The book has fifteen chapters. The first fourteen chapters introduce basic grammatical structures and lots of vocabulary. Each chapter has a dialogue or three or four, a vocabulary list, grammar instruction, usage notes, a proverb, interesting (and useful) cultural notes, and lots of drills and exercises. The final chapter, divided into eight units, covers pronunciation. There is also a fairly extensive V-E and E-V glossary at the end. That's crucial, because the drills and exercises lean heavily on the vocabulary you've learned, and if you constantly had to flip through previous pages, randomly searching for a word you'd forgotten, you'd be in trouble. The book also comes with a very good CD that contains numerous recordings (more about the recordings later).

On the whole, the book does a good job of presenting basic structure and grammar, and explaining numerous aspects of the language, such as qualifiers, ways of asking questions, the ever-thorny problem of how to address people, usage, pluralisation, tense markers and time, numbers, word formation, making requests, placement of adjectives and adverbs and the effect on meaning, etc. And at twenty pages, almost an hour of recorded instruction and 1.5 hours of recorded drills, it has the best (though very technical) pronunciation guide I've run into yet. The pronunciation section also has drawings to show how you should pronounce various sounds.

If you're a complete beginner, however, you'll likely feel lost, even if you try to go slowly. Learning Vietnamese is not like learning French, at least not for me. It's not so much the grammar or vocabulary or tones, but the method of expression. French and English speakers express themselves in essentially the same manner, and share lots of vocabulary. Not so Vietnamese. And it's difficult to teach that to home learners through a book.

In addition, the level of technical detail about pronunciation is far beyond what a true beginner needs, or can even understand. But the thing is, you don't absolutely have to pay too much attention to that: the pronunciation drills are excellent, and the speakers in the recordings are clear (though they speak rapidly). Who cares if you understand the notion of the voiced glottal fricative? Just imitate the guy/woman in the recordings.

With regard to the recordings, there are about 175 of them, in MP3 format (and I'd swear the main male demonstrator is the same person who did the Pimsleur recordings). The recordings include everything from sample dialogues, new vocabulary, grammar notes, usage instruction and pronunciation guide/exercises. The grammar notes and usage recordings are word-for-word readings of a considerable portion of the textbook, which might seem odd, but it has the advantage of making the course semi-portable. I can re-fresh my memory by listening to a lesson on the train, for example. However, it doesn't always work terrifically well as a portable audio course, since it really wasn't designed that way. As I mentioned at the top, it's a course that was designed to be given by a professor to students who have the book open in front of them.

There are tons of exercises in the book, which is great, and you can write to Tuttle to get the answer key. Unfortunately, the answer key is slender, and only contains answers to a limited number of exercises. Tuttle, the publisher, would probably respond that you don't need an answer key to all of the very simple drills, but I think that's an error: they underestimate how difficult it is to be a home learner, with no one to answer your questions. But there once again, let's be clear: this is primarily a course textbook. If you're using it for home study, you've got to expect that it can't respond to your every need, and that in some respects, you're on your own.

Starting in chapter seven, there are narrative sections to introduce vocabulary. These are sizable chunks of text (in the book and in the recordings) that would be daunting for the complete beginner, but I find that the narratives are a good opportunity to listen to a person speak at length in Vietnamese, with the text laid out in front of me. A male and a female reader read the text, and I find that I learn a lot by listening and re-listening while following along. There are quite a few a-ha! moments, as I realise `that's how you say that!' I've only done two narratives so far, but they've been very helpful. Sooner or later, I'll take a crack at listening and writing down the text without looking at the book - a homemade dictée. Still, it's not for the complete beginner. There is vocabulary help for the narratives, but no translation. It might be nice if Tuttle included a complete translation of a few of the narratives in the answer key. Interestingly, one of the readings is a poem, which is a nice touch, and pretty rare for Viet instructional material. Some of the narratives are also original newspaper clippings.

I know it's vitally important for many people to know whether the book teaches Northern or Southern pronunciation. To me, this is a non-issue, as most of us will be lucky to master a halfway decent pronunciation of anything, never mind the regional differences, but for what it's worth, and as the intro explains, it mostly uses Northern pronunciation, the superset of the language, but actually employs some regional variation here and there in various places.

For me, this is a very useful book, and the perfect complement to my other studies. I'm about halfway through the first fourteen chapters, and I've been through the pronunciation chapter several times. But it's really not for the complete beginner. It's a generally thorough book, but there are nonetheless times that I want to raise my hand and ask a question, as the instruction can be cursory, and assumes that you are very quick on the uptake. I would strongly suggest doing all 30 Pimsleur lessons before beginning Elementary Vietnamese. Pimsleur has almost no written material at all, so the two systems complement each other nicely. Mind you, Pimsleur is quite pricey by comparison.

I'd give it 4.5 stars, but Amazon doesn't do halves, so four out of five.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Could be better, could be worse 14. Februar 2014
Von SpamFreeOrDie - Veröffentlicht auf
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Viet Ngu Dam Thoai Conversational VietnameseIt could be better, it could be worse.

It's better than a lot of Vietnamese foreign language texts I've seen, although IMO not as good as Conversational Vietnamese (author: Bac Hoai Tran), which I also happen to have.

One of my classmates has the second addition of this book. The dialogues are reworked a bit, so if your class uses the third edition, it could be difficult to follow using the second edition. Other than that, the third edition is mostly just a re-shuffling of the second. The type face was improved, and much of the pronunciation guide was moved from the front (where it's easy to find and helpful) to near the end, where it's harder to find quickly when you need it; this was a very poor decision both practically and organizationally. If you use the book, you'll see.

The good: if you know a bit about linguistics, it has some good technical charts and information. While no substitute for hearing a native speaker model the language, this section is still useful. There is a lot of vocabulary introduced and the ramp is a bit steep; this is a good thing.

The bad: like pretty much all Vietnamese language texts, this book teaches the northern (Hanoi) dialect. Whether that's actually bad or not is subjective; however, since most Viet Kieu (the Vietnameses diaspora and their descendants) are not speakers of northern dialect - including my friends and relatives here in southern California - it strikes me that most students of Vietnamese would be better served by learning Saigon dialect. Of course, if your purpose of study is to go to Ha Noi and deal with government or business officials there, this would not be the case, but you're probably also in the (small) minority of people studying Vietnamese as a foreign language.

Also, like most Vietnamese texts, the speech level in this one is pretty formal. My wife (who is a native speaker) took one look at it and said, "People don't really talk like that!" Of course they don't, and when I was studying Japanese (a language in which I am proficient), the text books were like that too, although Japanese do tend to speak more formally - at least to strangers - than Vietnamese. That doesn't mean there are not occasions for formal speech in Vietnamese, but my experience (which includes having lived in Saigon for a year) is that Vietnamese are very friendly and casual, much like most Americans are. People tell me that the north is more formal and reserved, but I can't really speak to that; except for a one-week business trip in which I was primarily interacting with other foreigners, I've never spent any time in northern Viet Nam.

The dialogues and vocabulary in Conversational Vietnamese seem closer to the way people talk (I speak little Vietnamese yet, but I understand a fair bit as a result of over 10 years - and counting - married to a native speaker, plus the year I spent in Saigon), so if you are a teacher of Vietnamese and are looking for a good text, I recommend that one.

If you're a student of Vietnamese and your teacher has chosen this one, well, you're stuck with it :-) Conversational Vietnamese could be useful as a supplement. I'm using it in that way because I think it has better explanations of syntax and tone. YMMV. Take a look at it if you can. It's available on Amazon, but it doesn't have any "look inside" samples: Viet Ngu Dam Thoai Conversational Vietnamese
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Tons of theory, mere ounces of model language on the CD 28. März 2014
Von 56 - Veröffentlicht auf
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The conversations (i.e. the substance of the target language itself) are short, even tiny. These are followed by vocabulary lists, a few pages of grammar, and extensive drills. The conversations, vocabulary, and grammar explanations are included on the audio CD, but not the lengthy drills. Problem: Why record the English-language explanations ad infinitum, and then omit entirely the audio for the extensive Vietnamese-language drills that round out every chapter? The drills (in Vietnamese, of course) comprising much of the body of this book could be a much richer resource for the solo learner if only they were recorded on the CD.
On this book's cover it says: "Ideal for self-study or classroom use." I disagree: You'll need a native Vietnamese-speaker to help you get through the drills, for each drill introduces much new vocabulary which the learner's ear needs to hear modeled--and these drills, as I said, are the meat and potatoes of this book.
So far, I am disappointed.

Mind you, this book explains Vietnamese grammar and phonology in great detail: as far as that goes, five stars. But if you're trying to learn the language on your own, you'll find it rough going with this textbook, I suspect.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
If you are considering taking a Vietnamese class and are not a native speaker I would highly recommend studying at a private lan 17. Oktober 2014
Von Chance of Sun - Veröffentlicht auf
I am completely new to the Vietnamese language. I am a native English speaker and I also speak intermediate Japanese so I am not new to the art of learning a new language. While I understand that tonal languages present a completely different set of challenges as compared to others I have to say that I as well as ALL of the other Non-Vietnamese speakers in my class feel that this book progresses way to fast and is too difficult for a new learner of the language. There are no translations given in the book and the explanations of the grammer are very hard to understand and grasp. I feel the book is poorly organized. If you are considering taking a Vietnamese class and are not a native speaker I would highly recommend studying at a private language school and self study.
I attend a class at a class in Little Saigon (Westminster, CA) and the vast majority of the students in my classs are Native Vietnamese speakers attending class just to meet language requirements and to improve their GPA. The instructors design their classes for these types of students and this book is one example of poor design for a beginner. I strongly believe this book was written with the belief that the majority of the intended students would be native speakers that have never learned to read or write it.
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