Teach Yourself or Colloquial

What are Teach Yourself and Colloquial courses?

Teach Yourself and Colloquial are both study-at-home courses consisting of books and accompanying audio CD’s. We’ve written about both before individually, so read our articles for Teach Yourself and Colloquial for a more in depth introduction.

Pros of Teach Yourself?

  • It gives a solid grounding in basic sentences and tourist level language
  • If you are planning a trip abroad, Teach yourself will be immensely useful in getting the basics down.
  • It allows you to bridge the gap between beginner and intermediate.

Cons of Teach Yourself?

  • It’ll only take you so far in your language learning. It’s not a complete system.
  • It’s faster paced than Colloquial, and not as comprehensive. (In general: See Conclusion)
  • The dialogue swaps between dialects. This can be confusing.
  • The series quality varies widely between different books.

Pros of Colloquial?

  • Like Teach Yourself, Colloquial is available in a lot of languages.
  • The books tend to be a bit more comprehensive and slower going than their Teach Yourself counterparts.
  • You can read along with the dialogue and so learn grammar by osmosis.

Cons of Colloquial?

  • The addition of comprehensiveness comes potentially at the price of ease of reading.
  • The dialogues could sometimes be better constructed.

Conclusion: Teach Yourself or Colloquial?

As you can see by a quick comparison of the two series, there is very little separating them. Obviously, the major disclaimer is always that series can vary by book. This means that Teach Yourself Spanish might be better than Colloquial Spanish. Teach Yourself Russian might be worse than Colloquial Russian. As always, it’s best to check. Also a lot of the pros and cons of each series are subjective. Different learners will need different resources.

Think in terms of goal setting when thumbing through the books at your local store. Do you want to build sentences to put into your SRS system? Then find a book with a lot of suitable sentences. Do you want a particular situation to be covered? One might have a scenario designed specifically for that.

This article is an overview for a quick case by case comparison. To pick between Teach Yourself or Colloquial, we recommend you read our articles here and here . These give a better look at the strengths and weaknesses of each series individually.

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