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Any Audio Programs LIke This?

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fsc
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4725 days ago

100 posts - 117 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 1 of 6
29 January 2010 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
Having gone through several audio programs from my public library like Pimsleur, Michelle Thomas, Vocabulearn, etc., I haven't come across any that teach in a way that I think would be really effective in understanding spoken French.

Here is what I think would work for me and I am curious if anyone has come across something like this.

The program would give me a list of say 10 or 20 words spoken in French followed by the English equivalent, one after the other. I could repeat this list a few times to get familiar with the words. Then it would use each word in a variety of sentences to help learn them and make them stick. Then it would have conversations between people that are made up almost entirely of these 10 or 20 words, or at least used a lot in the conversations. This would all happen within the same lesson. Then it would go on to the next lesson with a new set of 10 or 20 words.

Pimsleur does something like this but you learn maybe 5 to 7 words a lesson and they tend to repeat the same phrases over and over and have you participating in the conversation making progress pretty slow.

Vocabulearn is great with lists of words but they don't use them in sentences or conversation so you are forced to memorize them. Although they do have lessons made up of phrases, the phrases are often made up of words you didn't learn previously and are spoken too fast to hear the actual sounds. They are also are guilty of doing the next thing I am about to talk about.

I find very frustrating when they teach you phrases or idioms but don't translate the words literally as well as give you the meaning of the idiom.

For example, they will say in French "He let the cat out of the bag" and translate it as "He told a secret". So now you are thinking "cat" means "told" and "bag" means "secret". Then the next time you hear "He put the groceries in the bag", you think they are saying "He put the groceries in the secret".

Had they told you what the words translate to first, you would be learning words in context and could use that knowledge when you heard other phrases. Also, if you already knew the words "He let the cat out of the bag" in French, and they told you the word for word translation, you wouldn't have to memorize anything. You already know it. Then you just have to be told what the idiom is, or more likely, you would be able to figure it out by yourself. Instead you are sitting there thinking "cat" is the word for "told" but it just happens to sound the same as the word for a pet animal.

A good example in Vocabulearn is the phrase "Don't drink and drive" which in French is literally "Don't drink before taking the wheel". If they had told me that, I would have learned a new word "wheel" and not thought it was another word for "drive". Also, since I knew all the other words in the phrase, it would have made it very easy for me to remember this. Instead I am just memorizing all the sounds thinking they translate directly into "Don't drink and drive", and not words I already know. They do a lot of phrase like this but worse. I can't tell you how much time I wasted trying to remember phrases only to eventually find out the actual translation and then have no problem remembering it.

I have heard good things about Assimil but I am hesitant to spend money on another program that just doesn't work. Also, I believe that requires you to read along as you listen. Since I have a long commute, audio only programs work the best.



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Warp3
Senior Member
United States
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Joined 3931 days ago

1419 posts - 1765 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Korean, Japanese

 
 Message 2 of 6
29 January 2010 at 4:27pm | IP Logged 
It's not designed as an audio only program, but the method you describe above reminds me a lot of the FSI drills.

Regarding Assimil, from what I've read / heard, the audio CDs are entirely in the target language and are primarily for listening practice. The instruction portion is in the books instead.
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DaraghM
Diglot
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 4547 days ago

1947 posts - 2923 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French, Russian, Hungarian

 
 Message 3 of 6
01 February 2010 at 11:28am | IP Logged 
I've used Vocabulearn, and stopped because of a similar issue. I would strongly recommend using FSI, as it does exactly what you're looking for. It provides a number of words, and also grammar points, and manipulates them in a variety of ways. It also features dialogues where each sentence is used with a number of different structures. A lot of people find FSI tedious, but after Vocabulearn, it will seem a breeze.

Edited by DaraghM on 01 February 2010 at 11:29am

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fsc
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4725 days ago

100 posts - 117 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 4 of 6
20 February 2010 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
Thank you for your replies.

Edited by fsc on 20 February 2010 at 3:27pm

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fanatic
Octoglot
Senior Member
Australia
speedmathematics.com
Joined 5542 days ago

1152 posts - 1815 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, French, Afrikaans, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Dutch
Studies: Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Modern Hebrew, Malay, Mandarin, Esperanto

 
 Message 5 of 6
21 February 2010 at 6:07am | IP Logged 
In playing half an hour of Assimil while you drive you can review around 250 to 450 words. That is a good return for your time while commuting. French Without Toil has 140 lessons recorded on around three hours of lessons. At around 3500 words for the course you are reviewing more than 1000 words in an hour.

When I have to make a long drive I usually play an Assimil recording and some lessons from Russian for Everybody. They are all in the target language and you get a big return on your time. Also, the lessons are interesting in themselves.

Edited by fanatic on 21 February 2010 at 6:11am

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fsc
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4725 days ago

100 posts - 117 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 6 of 6
23 February 2010 at 12:36pm | IP Logged 
Thanks fanatic. Assimil will be on my to-do list.


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