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foreign language

Talking the Talk

50 Useful English Dialogues50 Useful English Dialogues For You and Your Friends

Submitter: While weeding in the children’s world languages section of our public library, this book caught my attention because of the mild condition issues and the chicken on the cover who likes to dance.  There are many things rather awful about this book: The uninspiring line illustrations (the awesome chicken is false advertising), the fact that it teaches British English and our library is in the U.S., standard phrasebook quirkiness, and the strange premise of Russian and English children vacationing in Madrid together apparently without any adult supervision.  These could all be overcome if the book was moderately useful for learning English.

Unfortunately, it is full of strangely translated phrases including:
“This is my player.  I like to listen to the music.”
“Chicken or meat?”
“I want to become brown.”

Holly: “I want to become brown”? I guess that means that while vacationing in Madrid one might want to get a tan. They sure use a lot of exclamation points, too. I agree with submitter on all counts.

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Conversational EskimoConversational Eskimo

The submitter points out that this book is not politically correct – and they’re right, but that’s only one of its many flaws.

First of all, this is described as a “booklet.” Any booklet that has lasted 36 years and is still in what looks like reasonable condition was not used enough to be worth keeping.

Second of all, why are there seals on the cover? What do seals have to do with Inuit language? Location, sure, but it seems like they could come up with a more relevant cover – even for a booklet.

Next, the conversations included (see the pages included below) are ok…but not great. I mean, “You are slow” is a pretty rude thing to say to someone, even if it’s true. “I cannot stop you” is another strange phrase. How about “Where is the bathroom” and “The weather is cold”? Maybe they’re included in pages not submitted. Here’s hoping.


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How to Speak Australian

G'Day! coverG’Day!
Teach Yourself Australian in 20 Easy Lessons

Those of you planning a trip to the wonderful country of Australia might be wise to bring this handy guide to Australian. I invite the Aussies to please comment on the veracity of such a book.

I had a blast reading this. I feel that with this helpful book, I can manage a menu at the Outback Steakhouse restaurant and a Crocodile Dundee film marathon.




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