A Modern Czech Grammar
With the present textbook the author has attempted to fill a long-felt need for a simple grammar of the Czech language on the college level, with a balanced presentation in the form of readings, vocabularies, grammatical explanations, and exercises.
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This book really deserves 5 stars. Even though there are a few minor problems with it I have still given it 5 stars.
Problems? Verbs no longer use a final -i, Erben's "Vrba" in the last chapter shows the word snídaní which may actually be snídani, etc.
Truth be told... it will not be possible for native English speakers to learn to speak Czech without this book. There are some other resources online... but Mr. Harkins heads straight for the mountain top without any waste or "baggage".
It may be possible for "us English speakers" to learn languages such as Spanish or Italian through a loose approach. But Czech will require of the English speaker the thorough understanding of grammatical concepts before practical speaking practice can be undertaken.
Study the Harkins book thoroughly and with trust, understand the way the language works, and when this is done one may undertake to begin learning to speak Czech. If you are able to master this grammar book, you will indeed feel the meaning of the accomplishment, and you will understand language in general much better.
After this book is completed, one may supplement one's library with the other Czech Grammar book, which is really only a reference, and the common phrase books may also then become useful. The other Czech language course author is no doubt an expert, but the juvenile, scatter-brained, and undisciplined approach is tiring and wasteful of time in the study of a language that makes the greatest of demands on the student and requires full seriousness if one wishes to proceed in any real way towards mastery.
Of course, if you are just interested in learning a few words for fun, then any of the common travel language books may do.
Mr. Harkins has in this book produced a precious gem for anyone who wants to truly learn to speak Czech.
When you study Erben's Vrba, in the last chapter of the book, after having completed all of the preceding chapters, you will feel as if Mr. Harkins has led you through a wilderness of thorns and thickets and up a holy mountain.
Thank you Mr. Harkins... thank you.
THE PRONUNCIATION AND SPELLING OF CZECH