05 Recommended phrasebooks

Memorise the Phrasebook to Learn a New Language


I heartily recommend the iSpeak and All in One series by Alex Chapin, published by McGraw Hill.

Like all good phrasebooks, they contain extremely useful, practical phrases and vocabulary, but these books (actually CDs with about 1500 mp3 files on them) also have an audio recording of each phrase in the target language, which is then repeated in English twice, then finally repeated in the target language again.

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04 Disadvantages of this method

It doesn’t teach you grammar…

but a bit of research on the internet or at the library goes a long way here.

I’ve found Michel Thomas’s method to be particularly helpful when it comes to grammar.  You can download a free booklet of his courses (no audio) here.

Margarita Madrigal used a similar method to teach grammar.



You may have to find someone to practise with.

Not really a disadvantage though – rather an opportunity to meet new people.  In a multicultural city like Sydney or Birmingham, it’s actually quite easy to find people who speak almost any language.  If you can’t find someone nearby, you might like to consider iTalki.

01 Welcome

02 This is why it works…

03 Advantages of this method

04 Disadvantages of this method

03 Advantages of this method


It’s fast.

Learning 10 phrases on average per day , it will take you 4 to 5 months to memorise the entire phrasebook.

This takes about half an hour per day, but once you stop learning new phrases, the time required to retain the phrases you have already learns is about 5-10 minutes per day.

It’s cheap.

If you’re reading this you probably already have access to a computer, and the memorisation software is free.

Phrasebooks are usually cheap too. There is a list of recommended phrasebooks here.

It’s easy.

There are no exams.

There is no writing involved.

It’s convenient.

You can set your own pace and study wherever you like.

It works.

01 Welcome

02 This is why it works…

03 Advantages of this method


04 Disadvantages of this method

05  Recommended phrasebooks