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Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (Revised Edition)

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Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (Revised Edition)
By J. Richard Andrews. (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman: 2003. Pg. x, 269.) ISBN: 0-8061-3453-4.

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - September 11, 2009

Introduction to Classical Nahuatl has long been the standard text for anyone desirous of gaining a working knowledge of Nahuatl - the language of the ancient Aztec and modern day Nahua Indians of Central Mexico. In 2003, J. Richard Andrews fully revised and updated his classic text, and adding nine additional chapters. At the same time he also wrote a workbook to accompany the revised edition of Introduction to Classical Nahuatl, thereby correcting one of the major faults of the original book - the lack of sufficient exercises to ensure that students of Classical Nahuatl have a solid understanding of the language.

This workbook, aptly titled Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl is keyed to the revised edition of the textbook, and it provides a wide array of exercises that will help insure that you fully grasp the information in the text. Most important, all the answers are provided in the back of the book.

As with the textbook, the workbook follows an anthropological methodology, teaching you to understand Nahuatl by teaching you Nahuatl from the viewpoint of the language itself, not from an English or Spanish basis. This methodology will help you to internalize the language and to learn to think in the language, rather than constantly translating Nahuatl to English and then back again. In addition to providing a wealth of exercises keyed to the textbook, and an answer key to the exercises, this workbook also provides a broad vocabulary list.

The author of both the textbook and workbook, J. Richard Andrews is considered the foremost authority on Classical Nahuatl and he is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and of Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University. The revised edition of Introduction to Classical Nahuatl and the Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl are essential texts for anyone with an interest in learning Nahuatl. While the text is best used with a knowledgeable instructor, the combination of textbook and workbook can be efficiently used by series students to gain a fundamental understanding of Nahuatl grammar and structure. As well, by the time you work through both the text and workbook, you should find yourself able to read basic Nahuatl. Because this book focuses on Classical Nahuatl, rather than the modern form, its main purpose is to teach you how to read Nahuatl, as the Classic form is no longer spoken. The text does, however, briefly touch upon how Classical Nahuatl was pronounced. If you are interested in learning how to speak modern Nahuatl, you can find some useful resources online, such as on the Native Languages of the Americas website.

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