So you’ve decided to learn a new language. If you’re like me (or many of my fellow language learners), your first step was to probably head over to your nearest bookstore to browse the foreign language book section.
After much deliberation, page turning, and likely at least one paper cut, you choose a book or two, take them to the checkout counter and head home.
But after a few days of study, you’re a bit tired of vocabulary surrounding the purchase of train tickets, asking what time it is, and ordering food at a restaurant. It doesn’t give you anything to go over with your language exchange partner and you’re feeling a bit frustrated.
You wonder, isn’t there something out there that will provide you with useful vocabulary and phrases to help equip you for real life conversations with native speakers right away?
And my answer to you is – yes. Yes, there is.
Instant [ Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian ] Series from Tuttle
While most phrasebooks and course books are great for when you plan on traveling to a country, few are helpful when your sole goal for the language is to communicate and converse (whether that means traveling to the country or not).
The Instant series from Tuttle, however, is not your usual phrasebook. Rather than focusing on phrases to help you order food, go to the hospital, rent a hotel room, or buy a train ticket, it provides you with more than 100 key words and phrases to help you express more than 1,000 unique ideas based on general conversation topics.
If your goal is to converse in your target language, this really is one of the first books I suggest you buy – especially since it’s only around $7USD.
The books is split up into 100 sections with the focus of each section being a single word such as “mistake”, “weather” or “who?”. Each section includes several example sentences (all of which are highly useful). The book doesn’t include any grammar (although there are a few points that explained to you), so this isn’t for you if you’re looking for something a little more advanced or thorough.
There are also sections with information on Arab countries and cities, landmarks, and Islamic expressions, so you even get a little bit of cultural information thrown in as well. For a compact, 160 or so page guide, the Instant Language books are an impressive resource. Especially for those at the beginning stage who just want to dive right into speaking.e
Things That I Like About the Instant Language Series
The portable size of the book // It’s only slightly larger than my other phrasebooks which makes it easy to carry along with me. It fits right into my purse/bag/sax case and so when/if I travel somewhere, I can take it along with me.
It includes the language script, translation and the transliteration // For languages that have different writing systems, I love that both the transliteration and script are included (in many it’s only one or the other).
Things I Think Could Be Better with the Instant Language Series
I’d love for there to be more included // I know that 1,000 different ideas is quite a lot of material, but I’d love to see a volume two for this series. I really think that there’s potential for expansion here.
I’d love to see these books available in more languages // Tuttle is a publishing company focused on Asian languages, so I don’t think they’ll expand this series into other language groups (for now), but I’d love to see more of these books available in other Asian languages (Tagalog, Thai, Hindi, Cantonese). I really think this is a great phrasebook and I think it could really benefit learners of other languages.
If you’re just getting started in a language, or if you’re looking for a practical phrasebook, then I seriously recommend the Instant series from Tuttle. While the languages are limited, I think that they’re a fantastic addition to your language learning library if your target language is available as part of this series. I hope that they’ll continue to expand the Instant language book collection. I definitely plan on adding a few more of these to my resources.
Book // Instant Arabic
Author // Fethi Mansouri Dr. & Yousef Alreemaw
Publisher // Tuttle
Length // 160 pages
Please note that while I was given a copy of Instant Arabic in exchange for a review, all opinions and views expressed in this article are my own.
And now, for the Giveaway!
Win a Copy of Instant Arabic
Would you like to win your very own copy of Tuttle’s Instant Arabic? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post about with a phrase you’d love to learn in one of your target languages.
Please make sure your comment is tied to a valid email address (so that I can get in touch with you). The closing date is 11/21/2015 at midnight PST. Any entries received after this time will not qualify for entry.
I’m also offering bonus entries for those of you who (limit one per person per media outlet):
1) Share this post on Twitter. Make sure you mention me, @eurolinguistesk, in your Tweet.
2) Comment on this post on our Facebook page.
3) Comment on one of my Instagram photos using the hashtag #instantlanguage
Please note that these bonus entries only count if you have also posted a comment on this blog post.
This competition is open worldwide. After the closing date has passed, the winner will be selected randomly and I will contact you directly using the email address you’ve provided by commenting on this blog. The winner will need to supply their mailing address and the book will be mailed out directly by the publisher. If the winner does not reply with their mailing address within 14 days of the email being sent out, another winner will be selected in their place.
Do you have a favorite phrasebook? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!