Colloquial Series Review

Colloquial is a similar set of books and CD’s to those you might find in “Teach Yourself.” In terms of our language learning method, Colloquial bridges the gap between step three and four. If you pull the course apart, you’ll get a lot of useful sentences, and if you use it will it’ll help you construct whole paragraphs and give you a grounding before you move on to more advanced grammar concepts.

Once again, we’ll be reviewing the language series in general in this review. Language specific reviews will come later, but there are enough similarities across the framework that we can give a brief overview.

What is Colloquial?

Colloquial is a catch all, beginners language course. Colloquial is a series of books by publishers Routledge, and the standard version of Colloquial in a language is a book and two sixty minute CD’s, which are comprised of the dialogues that are written in the book.

How does Colloquial work?

There is an introductory chapter, which tells us about the language. It states where the language is from, how many speakers there are, and generally talks about the distribution of the language throughout the World. For instance, the Spanish colloquial talks of Latin America and European Spanish, and the French version of Colloquial details the spread of French across parts of Oceania and Africa.

After this, there’ll be a demonstration of the alphabet, or script. This is quite simple in general, and gives you enough to move quickly on in writing. However, obviously writing has to be parsed down to its simplest form in order to do this, so Colloquial is not a book which will detail the in-and-outs of every aspect of writing.

Then we move into text-book style materials. General topics are standard: At the theater, talking about travel, etc.

Each chapter starts off with a dialogue, and then moves through vocabulary, grammar and then back to another dialogue.

Why should I use Colloquial?

As stated above, Colloquial will help you to get experience listening to the language and reading the language. With a little self study and willingness to study ‘off the beaten path’ and make your own exercises and missions, it can also be used for speaking and writing as well.

It’s good for building a stock list of sentences, as well as familiarity with common questions.

What are the Benefits of Colloquial?

  • You can read along the dialogues, and become familiar with basic grammar.
  • You can take sentences from the material and use them to build your own personal story.
  • Like Teach Yourself, Colloquial are available in a lot of languages, even some relatively obscure ones.
  • They’re great to get you to a level where you can move around freely as a tourist and have very basic conversations with native speakers.


What are the problems with Colloquial?

The problems, like the benefits, are similar to those for Teach Yourself. As I stated above, the pace is different to Teach Yourself.

The problem with the audio that it isn’t always focused on practicality. It’s all practice, which is good. Still, the dialogue could be better. In one language, there was a dialogue which was a radio listener calling into the show. This doesn’t follow any sort of Pareto Principle, nor is the particular example useful in any real context.

Also, there is a high percentage of English to Target language in the audio. This isn’t so bad for the written sections, because you’re buying a Colloquial book to be taught the language, not just get a set of demonstrations. If that is your style of learning, get Assimil.

Where can I buy Colloquial Language Learning Materials

You can get them at Amazon. Search for your target language at these pages:

Colloquial (US) or Colloquial at Amazon UK

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