Go antiquing: coursebooks from the last century

It might be true that some grammar books never go out of style, like Murphy’s “English Grammar in Use”.  This is not valid for coursebooks.   Today a coursebook may become outdated in less than five years, not so much for changes in grammar and functional exponents, but because new words emerge and often replace the old ones, because shallow celebrities shelf life has shrunk, because of the constant changes in visual designing and  ever-increasing technical possibilities.

I just love some of the new coursebooks, especially the online modules, but I would never dispose of my old coursebooks. Now and then I even try to get hold of some oldie, even though I would never use it in class.


Because they also tell us a story about bygone times. Sometimes askew.

Teaching English in the Eastern Bloc must have been a funny business occasionally. Here are just three bits and pieces, selected randomly:

This one is taken from “Engleski jezik” for seventh  graders, published by Veselin Maslesa in Bosnia and Herzegovina (then a federal republic of Yugoslavia) in 1983.

The following excerpt is from “Modern English 3 for teacher students”, published by Volk und Wissen Volkseigener Verlag in Berlin in 1980.

And this rather surprising one is from “Galaxy-X” published by Tankönyvkiadó in Budapest in 1986.


Wondering what are your perky or unusual finds from auld coursebooks?


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