These language textbooks don't dick you around.
Anthologica Universe Atlas / Academia / Terra Firma / These language textbooks don't dick you around.

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? Cev Grammatis Qaghan
posts: 69
, Operon message
Hey everyone knows it can sometimes be frustrating when you first want to study a language, but don't know which introductory textbooks are decent and which are gonna dick you around. Of the languages that I've studied, these are the books that have my seal of approval.

Akkadian
"A Grammar of Akkadian" by Huehnergard. A classic text. Don't dick you around.

Classical Mongolian
"An Introduction to Classical (Literary) Mongolian" by Grønbech & Krueger. I didn't study Clas.Mong. for very long, but when I did I was using this book and I was thoroughly satisfied. Languages like this tend usually not to have introductory textbooks like this. It don't dick you around.

Classical Tibetan
"Introduction to Classical Tibetan" by Stephen Hodge. I couldn't tell you what else there is in Clas.Tibetan, but when I used this I found it pretty good. Maybe it's not the best thing in the world, but it don't dick you around.

Coptic
"Introduction to Sahidic Coptic" by Thomas O Lambdin. Much better than Layton's textbook— this book don't dick you around.

Croatian
"Beginner's Croatian" by Vidan & Niebuhr (Hippocrene). I have no idea how good Hippocrene books are in general, and this book may be a bit too TY-style for some people, but I found it pretty helpful and for the most part it don't dick you around.

Hebrew
"Introduction to Biblical Hebrew" by Thomas O Lambdin. Absolutely solid, and don't dick you around.

Latin
"Wheelock's Latin" by Wheelock et al. A cliche recommendation, but it's still good. It don't dick you around.
"Latin: An Intensive Course" by Moreland & Fleischer. Kinda dense, but not as dense as some books. It don't dick you around.

Pali
"An Elementary Pali Course" by Thera Narada, edited by Eisel Mazard. "Edited by" is a bit of an understatement, since it looks like Mazard reworks this grammar (and others) quite a bit before putting them on his site. It's pretty good, though. Don't dick you around.

Persian
"Persian Grammar" by A.K.S. Lambton. Maybe a little dense in some chapters, but I like it. Don't dick you around.
"An Introduction to Persian" by Wheeler Thackston. A little less information-heavy than Lambton, but good. Don't dick you around.

Russian
"Russian Course" by Nicholas Brown (Penguin). I haven't studied Russian much, nor have I used any other Penguin books, but I was impressed by this one. It is laid out in the format of the TY-style books, but unlike those, it doesn't dick you around.

Sanskrit
"Introduction to Sanskrit" by Thomas Egenes. This book definitely has problems— it introduces too many of certain forms too quickly, while leaving you without other forms, esp. verbal ones. But it has its merits, and it don't dick you around.

Sumerian
"A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts" by John L Hayes. Truth be told, you won't know all that much Sumerian once you're done with this book... but I don't think there are any other intro textbooks for Sumerian out there, and this one is totally useful. It don't dick you around.

Syriac
"Introduction to Syriac" by Wheeler Thackston. I like this book, alot. I use it every time I want to refresh myself on Syriac. It don't dick you around.

Turkish
"Teach Yourself Turkish" by Lewis (1968). Not all old-run TY books are great, but this one is solid. It don't dick you around.

Xhosa
"A Practical Course in Xhosa" by A.C. Jordan. I really can't say any one book is good for learning Xhosa, but this is probably the best. It could probably be a bit better, but at least it don't dick you around.


I can't promise any of these are the "best" out there, and they are all introductory textbooks— not reference grammars. Reference grammars you usually don't have to worry about dicking you around; it's the introductory textbooks that have that habit, which is why I think it might be useful to list the ones that (IMO) don't.
? dhok The Last Aristocrat
posts: 228
, Alkali Metal message
I'd like to add:

Ancient Greek: Try Alpha to Omega by Anne H. Groton. It dicks you around much less than Greek: an Intensive Course by Hansen and Quinn, which lives up to its name a little too much.

Finnish: I am using the old Teach Yourself Finnish (available for pretty cheap used on Amazon). It dicks you around a little bit on the grammar-to-vocabulary ratio (in the opposite direction than Greek: an Intensive Course did), but you will learn the words, and with some work and maybe an outside consulting grammar you'll learn the grammar too.

Anki is a great software app for drilling yourself on vocabulary and, with a bit of ingenuity, grammar. It allows you to create virtual flashcards of any sort (even sorts that physical flashcards do not come in) and uses a spaced repetition algorithm to maximize learning efficiency and put you in a mildly addictive Skinner box. It's free (of both price and ads), versatile, intuitive, and don't dick you around.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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What exactly do you mean for a language textbook to dick one around?
? dhok The Last Aristocrat
posts: 228
, Alkali Metal message
I think that's pretty self-evident, Matrix.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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Unless the textbook has a penis that is it waving around in your face as you read it, no, it is not self-evident.
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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Try doesn't dick around with you. Same thing.
? Nesescosac Verborum qaghatun
posts: 31
, Foreigner message
Modern Tibetan
"Manual of Standard Tibetan" by Tournadre and Dorje is solid. It's what we used in my first-year Tibetan course and the standard, I believe, for learners of Modern Tibetan. Lots of good grammar description, including appendices on differences between registers of Tibetan and dialects of Tibetan. Its descriptions of grammar in the lessons themselves are less linguisticky than the ones in the appendix but they are all usable, though watch out for its non-standard transcription scheme.


Basque
Standard Basque: A Progressive Grammar by de Rijk is a wonderful thing: it's a reference grammar, with example sentences and vocabulary. It presents the easier grammatical structures (rules of the definite and indefinite articles and what not) first, and then moves later onto the more challenging Basque verbs, with meaty grammatical descriptions for everything.


That's all I've got for now - I'll probably think of some later.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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quoting Nessari:
Try doesn't dick around with you. Same thing.

That doesn't help. What exactly does dicking around entail, with regard to a language textbook?
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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…ok, try they don't fuck around with you. That has to be clear.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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Maybe I'm not being clear enough. I want examples of what a linguistics textbook looks like when it's dicking around with you.
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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Ok, that makes more sense. Having never read an intro linguistics book, I can't help with that I'm sorry to say.
? Cev Grammatis Qaghan
posts: 69
, Operon message
Those aren't linguistics textbooks.
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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Point. Matrix, have you never read a shitty Teach Yourself LANGUAGE book?
? Vuv posts: 4
, Foreigner message
Hello: Marhaban.
Let's look at it in a dialogue.
Ali: Marhaban, Amir.
Amir: Marhaban, Ali.
In Arabic, to say "hello", you say "marhaban". To make this more clear, let's take a look at some more examples:
Fatimah: Marhaban, Amir, Marhaban Ali.
Ali: Marhaban, Fatimah.
Amir: Marhaban, Fatimah. Kaifa haluki?
"Kaifa haluki?" means "How are you", but don't worry about that quite yet. For now, focus on "marhaban".
? Nesescosac Verborum qaghatun
posts: 31
, Foreigner message
Asked a linguist friend of mine what textbooks he'd recommend, and he gives the following:

quoting my friend:
College Yiddish is a classic, but I'm also a big fan of Sheva Zucker's two-part Yiddish textbooks.
DeRijk, if that counts as a textbook, and Alan R. King's Elementary Basque or whatever it's called.

Genki is a beloved Japanese textbook for a reason, though I haven't used it much. I'm also a big fan of Learn Japanese the Manga Way, which is better as a reference text but is still really good either way.

? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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quoting Nessari:
Point. Matrix, have you never read a shitty Teach Yourself LANGUAGE book?

Correct.
Yng posts: 1
, lurker message
Colloquial Syrian Arabic, Mary-Jane Liddicoat - goes slowly for the first half, then very fast for the second half and you get the impression there should've been more chapters. Also bizarrely uses some very, very colloquial Damascene lexemes, some of which are markedly 'folksy' even within Damascus and some of which might not be understood even by other Syrians. On the other hand, gives a comprehensive view of basic morphology and morphophonology and a very good base of useful vocabulary and miscellaneous expressions and constructions and leaves you able to have a wide range of transactional conversations (but unlike other textbooks is not restricted to transactional conversation and gives you the tools to build a more general fluency). All in all, the best Levantine Arabic textbook and don't dick you around.

Comprehensive Study of Modern Egyptian Arabic, Ernest T Abdel Massih - Jesus Christ if these books existed for every language nobody would ever be dicked around ever. Consists of a number of different textbooks, beginning with an Introduction to Egyptian Arabic and including an alphabetical reference grammar (?), themed vocabulary lists, texts in colloquial Arabic (plays and so on) and several other resources. Even taken on its own, An Introduction is incredible comprehensive for what it is and very well suited to those of a linguistic bent who are familiar with some of the more basic jargon and want an approach which doesn't simplify or patronise like most language textbooks. Available online, although I don't know if the audio can be found. All in all, don't dick you around.
? Nessari ?????? ?????? ????????
posts: 932
, Illúbequía, Seattle, Cascadia
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quoting Matrix:
quoting Nessari:
Point. Matrix, have you never read a shitty Teach Yourself LANGUAGE book?

Correct.

So you're saying you've never read a shitty language-teaching book? Seriously? I find that very hard to believe.
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
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The only language textbooks I've read were for French and Japanese, and all within the context of school. Furthermore, I barely remember any of them, let alone what they were called. I remember in my Japanese classes, the main textbooks we used were, I think, Australian. I think we also might have had a Genki book in one of them that we never used.
? Kereb Ba'al
posts: 50
, Reader message
I was in Portland this weekend and I found Thackston for thirty bucks! Go me!
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