The "BASIS AND ESSENTIALS" BOOKS
Edited by Charles Duff
Learn other languages the Basic way.
Like Basic English, these brilliant handbooks are built up on scientific principles ; they are indeed a "First approximation" to Basic French, German, Spanish, and Russian.
They are not lists of set phrases to be learned parrot-fashion. The contain the minimum of word-material that has to be known for everyday conversation and practical purposes, and a grammatical instrument of such a nature that the person who knows both need never be at a loss to make phrases to meet almost any exigency. No other language books offer a short cut comparable.
The Times Literary Supplement, in a recent review, said, "Excellent little manuals. Mr. Duff provides the beginner with a practical and logical method based upon sound psychological principles, leading him gently on from the known to the unknown, and constantly appealing to the association of ideas." -- Amazon Authors
The above was copied from an advertisement in the back of a play written in Basic English that was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD in September 1936. Some, of the books are currently listed by Amazon and other used book web sites. Charles Duff is the author of the popular EVERYDAY HANDBOOK series including SPANISH, FRENCH, ITALIAN and RUSSIAN For Beginners that are still available new.
FRENCH, by Charles Duff
SPANISH, by Charles Duff
GERMAN, by Charles Duff and Richard Freund
RUSSIAN, by Charles Duff and Anissime Krougliakoff
(The new Soviet usages and spelling are given)
Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Hindustani, and other language are in preparation, and books of exercises.
Charles Duff (1894-1966) was a British author of books on language learning and other subjects.
Duff served as an officer in the British Merchant Navy in World War I and then in the intelligence division of the Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service. He resigned from the Foreign Office in the 1930s, claiming it was solidly supportive of fascism in Spain and ready to back a similar system in Britain.
After he retired, he taught linguistics and languages in London and Singapore while writing travel guides, histories, satires, and a series of text books for the active self-learner. Some of these were published by Ogden's Orthological Institute.
Russian For Beginners, .
Spanish For Beginners, .
French For Beginners, .
Italian For Beginners, .
How to Learn a Language, 1947.
French For Home Study .
The Basis and Essentials of French, 1940 (second edition) .
The Basis and Essentials of German (with Richerd Freund) .
The Basis and Essentials of Spanish, 1933 (1st ed) .
The Basis and Essentials of Italian, being a first approximation to a Basic Italian, 1946.
The Basis and Essentials of Russian (with Anissime Krougliakoff) .
The Basis and Essentials of Portuguese and reader.
All Purpose Russian for Adults .
English for Adults
French for Adults .
German for Adults .
Italian for Adults .
Spanish for Adults .
Several of these titles have been reissued and revised several times.
B&E of Spanish is so popular that used copies may be had for postage.
In my experience, "For Beginners", Everyday Handbooks Series of the 1960-70s, were akin to the "For Dummy's" books of more recent period and were very good for each subject that I had bought.
"The Basis and Essentials of Spanish" by Charles Duff.
This is a small, hardback book similar to Ogden's Psychic Miniatures, 6-1/2" x 4", 152 pages. I see about 1905 words in the word list including masculine and femine forms with 870 considered similar to English.
All books in this Series present a method of approach to the study of foreign languages based upon a simple and, one might think, a very obvious notion. It is this " That the part of any language to be mastered FIRST is the part required to express the most frequently recurring ideas. In this Introductions to the little treatises on French and German will be found statements of how the most useful material of those languages was found. The present work provides the same material for Spanish.
One does not have to be a profound psychologist or an alert observer to know that, in life generally, there are certain ideas which recur again and again. They are, so to speak, the framework of all expression. Recent advances in the study of language show that, if working vocabulary be well chosen, it need not be numerically large in order to be able to express with it nearly every idea of which the mind of man is capable.1
Of course, one must be prepared to use this ' Essential ' vocabulary intelligently -- at times even with ingenuity and imagination. One must frequently employ paraphrase or descriptive analysis. Suppose, for example, we have to translate ' onslaught ' -- a word for which we do not know an exact equivalent -- we may turn it into ' very fierce attack ' ; and so on, almost ad infinitum, providing always that there is a complete mastery of the ' key ' material. Having mastered this Basis and Essentials the student need not stop there. But he may rest assured that, having mastered it, he possesses a practical working instrument which will carry him a long way. With the aid of those two wonderful assets of the translator -- ingenuity and imagination -- he will find himself able to translate any ordinary matter up to the standard of a newspaper article.
I submit that no other books offer a short-cut comparable, and I make this assertion with some confidence The material offered is compiled in accordance with a method which allows little scope for error. Both grammar and vocabulary have been tested and found that they will do what is claimed for them.
1 In Basic English, by C. K. Ogden, we have a system in which 850 words do the work of over 20,000.
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About this Page: Duff.html -- Charles Duff language books used Ogden's methods.
Last updated March 22, 2012
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