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Russian Face to Face

Book Review

 

Title:

Russian Face to Face -- Level One

Author:

George W. Morris et  al

Publisher:

NTC Publishing Group,  Lincolnwood, IL

ISBN:

0-8442-4300-0

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

October, 2000

Rating:

Russian Face to Face is a textbook designed for use in a classroom setting. It is attractively illustrated and  organized thematically.

This textbook is arranged in a manner that accomplishes more than just learning the Russian language. Each chapter has multiple goals to accomplish. The main goals include phonetics and reading, grammatical concepts, understanding how the language functions, and gathering cultural information about Russia and Russian society.

The book starts with a short history lesson about Russia from about 1,000 AD to the present. It also shows the student how the Russian language came to be what it is today and how it is similar to other modern languages. The introduction also includes a table with the Russian alphabet and some equivalent English pronunciations.

There is a large variety of photographs of Russians at work and at play in this textbook. The book also makes extensive use of cartoons to demonstrate conversational Russian. Another interesting feature of this text is the way that colors are used. Each chapter begins with a two axis table showing what needs to be accomplished in the chapter and each cell is color coded. There are a number of boxes with special information sprinkled throughout the text, and the box color matches the color coded cell goal tables.

As the student reads through the text, each paragraph has a letter and number in a small box at the beginning, again color coded based on the concept being taught in that section. Each new word or use is printed in boldface type to alert the student. The new vocabulary for each lesson can be found on the last page of each chapter, and many of the words are also listed in a concise English-Russian and Russian-English dictionary near the end of the book. Another feature of the text organization is that interactive activities are found throughout the text in every chapter. Most of these questions are structured so that they can be performed both individually and in groups, or as both oral and written practice.

This book was written to be used in  a classroom setting. Because this is a school textbook, some of the questions  and activities are inappropriate for individual study. There is no answer key for any of the questions for the same reason. Conversely, this is an entertaining,  colorful and well-structured textbook with a wealth of cultural information  about Russia and Russian people. The novice student will discover a large amount of new words and grammatical concepts. I would recommend this book outside of  a classroom setting for somebody that already understands basic Russian pronunciation  and desires to expand their knowledge of the language and culture in one combined book.

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