The rejected review.

I have been posting book reviews on for over ten years and, until today, have never had one be rejected.

After the review was rejected I resubmitted it cutting out the references to the CD collection which Amazon suggests I include to provide credibility. Instead I mentioned that I am the author of a CD course to teach spoken Mandarin Chinese as well someone who has been involved in language pedagogy for many years.

They just notified me that they will not permit my second review to be posted as well.

I am outraged but there is no recourse to either protest or even find out why every review on this book is being rejected. Maybe if I gave it five stars and said it was great they would publish it.

They do not specify which of the guidelines was violated. As you will note, I am not using obscenity or other inappropriate language.

The volume reviewed is: Second language acquisition abroad. The LDS missionary experience. The author of this anthology is Lynne Hansen, a professor at a Mormon college on Hawaii, Brigham Young University.

Incidentally, Amazon is asking $135 for this volume which I believe is a total rip off. I obtained it via the Library of Congress since no other institution in the area owns it.

Since it was rejected for violating their guidelines I will reproduce it here.

Here is the review. I gave the book two out of five stars for reasons explained in the review.

Little on acquistion, lots on attrition., September 2, 2012

By Harold Goodman (Silver Spring, Maryland 20910)
This review is from: Second Language Acquisition Abroad: The LDS Missionary Experience (Studies in Bilingualism) (Hardcover)

I am the author of:
Speak Mandarin Chinese For Beginners The Michel Thomas Method (8-CD Beginner’s Program) (Michel Thomas Series)
Total Mandarin Chinese with the Michel Thomas Method
Michel Thomas Method Speak Mandarin Chinese Advanced (Michel Thomas Series)

I approached this volume expecting, as the title advertises, to learn about second language acquisition among Mormon missionaries.

Unfortunately, that is not its focus. Out of eleven chapters by various authors, barely two or slightly more than 40 pages out of a total of 268, share the Mormon approach to learning languages and one of these is largely data from testing of returned missionaries.

From what is presented in these chapters one would be hard pressed to replicate the training experience. In fact, it would be impossible to do so.

Two other chapters speak of motivation and how single words are learned. The entire rest of the book deals with attrition of language proficiency which is not what the title suggests.

In addition, the bulk of language preparation for missions abroad is done in the US and not, as the title specifies, abroad.

I was very excited to read the two bibliographies at the end of the book. They were entitled comprehensive bibliographies of mission language references, both annotated and unannotated.

Again, we are presented with something that is quite different than advertised.

I have been collecting missionary language training materials for several years and have before me a few used in the LDS language training efforts. None of these practical training materials are to be found in the bibliographies.

Rather, these bibliographies deal solely with academic studies on language acquisition and attrition among the Mormons which is not what the titles of these parts of the book would suggest.

You will not learn much of anything in particular about how Mormon missionaries are actually trained in languages before and during their times in missions from this book.

However, if you want an academic study complete with graphs, statistical tables, mind numbing data and other research matters far removed from practical pedagogy and training then you have found your book.

I was very disappointed in this book and would not recommend it to someone who wants to learn how Mormon missionaries are actually trained.

That is a book that remains to be written.

How do thousands of young people learn foreign languages and then actually go to missions where they are expected to use them daily? That is my question. It is not at all answered by this book which is a shame.

I would love to read such a book when it is finally published.

Author: Harold

6 thoughts on “The rejected review.

  1. Life is life. It goes on whether we are aware of it or not.

    Thanks for writing.

    I had no idea that anyone even reads what I write here.

  2. I check on the blog every now and again 🙂 Think I've read most of your posts

    How is your Russian learning going?

    Any big events happen in the last year?


  3. I was thinking the same thing (I'm a different "anonymous"- the one who suggested you write an MT Yiddish course in a comment ages ago). I was also wondering why you weren't posting. You seem very down, but if you don't post, you'll end up losing your readers.

    FWIW I started learning a little Yiddish. I've been learning German for a while and find the similarties and differences fascinating. As someone who speaks Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and (if I remember correctly) German, I bet you could really write some interesting stuff on that.

    I don't know how many people read your blog, by the way; but there are ways for you to find out. I'm not sure it'd be a good time for you to do that (lol) as your readers will have fallen dramatically since you stopped posting..better to wait until your blog is more active again ha ha. Anyway, what I meant to say was that, regardless of how many people read it, I bought Shekhtmans book (How to improve your foreign language immediately) on your recommendation and they do say that if you reach just one person…

    If you're really stuck on ideas for a post, you could review that new Yiddishpop site (just stick "Yiddishpop" into google). It's still in beta, but looks like it'll be a really good way to learn.

  4. Hi, anonymous ( the latest)

    I spent last July in China studying Chinese language and acupuncture at a Chinese medicine hospital in Tianjin. This city of ten million is located 2.5 hours by car from Beijing.

    I have another blog,, where I also post. Those articles are related to my medical practice which is occupying a lot of my time lately.

    Thanks for reading what I write.

  5. I am now doing all health and healing related posting on my new site

    I also have a blog there which I am posting to more frequently.

    A lot has happened since I got back in 2013 from China. There is a section on my new site about Asian and energy medicine.

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