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PMs TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3454 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 137 of 451
18 June 2014 at 11:54am | IP Logged 
My post was partly in jest, and I never intended to necessarily recommend that you add
any of these courses to your already large list. However, since you've asked, I'll
give you some comments on some of these courses.

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Jeffers wrote:


-In-Tense French (an all audio, 4 cassette verb program. Very good but out of print.
I got mine used).



Never heard of this one and searching it brought up little. Sounds interesting and
useful tho.



I used this for German a long time ago and it was really useful. It goes through all
the major tenses starting from present, including the main irregular verbs. From
memory the French course starts with present tense of -er verbs in the first chapter,
then the present tense of etre, avoir and aller, then -ir and -re verbs, and so on. No
real surprises about content. What I found useful was the format of the chapters.
Each chapter starts with an explanation of the tense, then gives a verbs paradigm, each
with an example sentence. For example (I'm making this up) "Je suis. Je suis un
americain. Tu es. Tu es gros." Etc. Everything is given in French then in English.
Then there's a dialogue which uses the tense a lot. Then there are some exercises
(e.g. they give you one form, you give another). Finally there are some questions,
which give answers after the pause.

The only problem with the course was that it was all audio. If you couldn't quite
catch a word in a dialogue you were stuck. But in the book 2000+ Essential French
Verbs, the third section is actually the full text of the InTense course, with all the
exercises and questions. I bought the Verb book in the hopes that the CD contained
InTense French, but sadly it does not. So I had to buy it on cassette. I've only used
a little bit of the French course, but I like it. When I want a good review of verbs,
that's where I'll start.

Living French: A Grammar-based Course is an old course from the 60s, which has
been updated more recently. It is very traditional in terms of method as well as
content. The method is like most TY books: dialogue, grammar, vocab list, exercises.
The content in the 3 chapters I completed is about a 50s family. When they sit in the
living room, the father reads the journal while the mother knits or sews. I didn't
like it much. Ironically, if I had managed to use the course more, it would have
probably helped with Le Petit Nicolas, which of course is set in that world. But I
just found it boring.

La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai I think Luke mentioned this one. I have
been feeling like I should use something to improve my accent, and this has great
reviews. There is the book, Pronounce it Perfectly in French, but I didn't like what I
read in the reviews. Basically I gathered that the book focuses too much on the sounds
in isolation. Apparently this video course is more practical. I'll let you know once
I start it.

By the way, La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai is entirely in French. They've
made a new version which uses some English, but otherwise doesn't add much. I decided
to go for this one because it was cheaper, and, since it's entirely in French I can
count it for the Super challenge. (EDIT, the newer version is called "French
Pronunciation - Your Key to Success", but it has one less DVD, so it might also have
less content).

Instant Immersion French There are so many versions, with essentially the same
box. I think this company killed themselves by too much hype and badly thought out
groups of products. They just confused users. Most of them are software courses, some
of which also have some audio files. The one I have is just audio; if you are
interested look for the only one with 16 CDs. I've only used it up to CD 5, but I
think it is actually very good, and well worth the £15 I spent on it. But it is for
beginners, so the first few discs have a lot of things like numbers, dates, days of the
week, etc. The vocabulary is alternated with dialogues and exercises which I think are
very well thought out. I'm not sure if they used a specific SRS pattern, but key words
do come back regularly.

Vocabulearn I agree it's not worth it. Back when I had a longer commute, I
found a used set cheap, so I bought it. But I haven't even finished the first level.

Speak French with Confidence is simply a re-packaging of TY French Conversation.
If you like the Dutch one, you'll probably like this one. Except that they have made a
new version, with additional exercises, Get Talking French in 10 Days, and its
follow-up, Keep Talking French (which I don't have). Basically these two
courses take the old dialogues from TY French Conversation, and add a few new exercises
and some new dialogues as well, approximately doubling the old course.

Practice Makes Perfect This whole series looks good, but I'm not sure I have
the patience to sit down and go through workbooks. My sit-down time is taken up by
watching or reading. When I do courses it's mainly when I'm on the go. Now I think if
I were to buy a French workbook, I'd prefer one from the Grammaire Progressive du
Francais series, since they are entirely in French.

Routledge Frequency Dictionary of French Yes, the one I have is by Deryle
Lonsdale and Yvon Le Bras. I use it to make my main Anki set. The one thing I don't
like about it is that it only gives the masculine singular forms of adjectives. So
when I'm entering new cards, I use the online Collins French dictionary to check
adjectives.

Fast French with Elisabeth Smith I bought this to work on with my son. If you
were just starting a French it would be pretty good. It's supposed to give you enough
to get you speaking in 6 weeks. But it is intentionally non-systematic. I think the
series would be great if you had to visit a country in a couple months and you don't
know the language at all.

Les Portes Tordues Again, I got this to work on with my son. It was the first
resource I bought for French, and at the time I didn't know any French. The audio
contains the story alone, and each segment is only about a minute long. I couldn't use
it because it didn't tell you how to pronounce the vocabulary, and so it has sat unused
on my shelf. Now that I know how to read French, I'm thinking about using it with my
second son. It combines traditional language learning: dialogue + vocab + grammar +
exercises with an overarching narrative. I like the idea, but I haven't used it so I
can't say if it is well-executed.


Should you get any of these courses? Only if you think it fills a gap in your
resources and if you would look forward to using it. The only one which I think really
fits that description might be La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai, and possibly
French Grammar in Context (but only if you like to use grammars).

Personally, I now have so many courses I'll never complete them all. I'm certain I
will complete FSI 1-24. I also definitely plan on using the Pronunciation DVDs soon.
I'd like to complete FIA as well, but that's a large undertaking. I'm halfway through
Pimsleur III, so I might as well do the other half. I got both Hugo levels, and I
think they'd be a nice way to get a thorough review and fill in any gaps. But there
are only 24 hours in a day, and I'd rather spend more of my time on reading and
watching/listening. Plus, there's Hindi and ancient Greek, not to mention my long-
neglected German. And I have learned and forgotten Hebrew, which would be nice to
revive. And have I mentioned I'd like to learn Sanskrit? Sigh.......

Edited by Jeffers on 18 June 2014 at 11:56am

2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4021 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 138 of 451
18 June 2014 at 12:52pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
My post was partly in jest, and I never intended to necessarily recommend that you add
any of these courses to your already large list. However, since you've asked, I'll
give you some comments on some of these courses.

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Jeffers wrote:


-In-Tense French (an all audio, 4 cassette verb program. Very good but out of print.
I got mine used).



Never heard of this one and searching it brought up little. Sounds interesting and
useful tho.



I used this for German a long time ago and it was really useful. It goes through all
the major tenses starting from present, including the main irregular verbs. From
memory the French course starts with present tense of -er verbs in the first chapter,
then the present tense of etre, avoir and aller, then -ir and -re verbs, and so on. No
real surprises about content. What I found useful was the format of the chapters.
Each chapter starts with an explanation of the tense, then gives a verbs paradigm, each
with an example sentence. For example (I'm making this up) "Je suis. Je suis un
americain. Tu es. Tu es gros." Etc. Everything is given in French then in English.
Then there's a dialogue which uses the tense a lot. Then there are some exercises
(e.g. they give you one form, you give another). Finally there are some questions,
which give answers after the pause.

The only problem with the course was that it was all audio. If you couldn't quite
catch a word in a dialogue you were stuck. But in the book 2000+ Essential French
Verbs, the third section is actually the full text of the InTense course, with all the
exercises and questions. I bought the Verb book in the hopes that the CD contained
InTense French, but sadly it does not. So I had to buy it on cassette. I've only used
a little bit of the French course, but I like it. When I want a good review of verbs,
that's where I'll start.

Living French: A Grammar-based Course is an old course from the 60s, which has
been updated more recently. It is very traditional in terms of method as well as
content. The method is like most TY books: dialogue, grammar, vocab list, exercises.
The content in the 3 chapters I completed is about a 50s family. When they sit in the
living room, the father reads the journal while the mother knits or sews. I didn't
like it much. Ironically, if I had managed to use the course more, it would have
probably helped with Le Petit Nicolas, which of course is set in that world. But I
just found it boring.

La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai I think Luke mentioned this one. I have
been feeling like I should use something to improve my accent, and this has great
reviews. There is the book, Pronounce it Perfectly in French, but I didn't like what I
read in the reviews. Basically I gathered that the book focuses too much on the sounds
in isolation. Apparently this video course is more practical. I'll let you know once
I start it.

By the way, La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai is entirely in French. They've
made a new version which uses some English, but otherwise doesn't add much. I decided
to go for this one because it was cheaper, and, since it's entirely in French I can
count it for the Super challenge. (EDIT, the newer version is called "French
Pronunciation - Your Key to Success", but it has one less DVD, so it might also have
less content).

Instant Immersion French There are so many versions, with essentially the same
box. I think this company killed themselves by too much hype and badly thought out
groups of products. They just confused users. Most of them are software courses, some
of which also have some audio files. The one I have is just audio; if you are
interested look for the only one with 16 CDs. I've only used it up to CD 5, but I
think it is actually very good, and well worth the £15 I spent on it. But it is for
beginners, so the first few discs have a lot of things like numbers, dates, days of the
week, etc. The vocabulary is alternated with dialogues and exercises which I think are
very well thought out. I'm not sure if they used a specific SRS pattern, but key words
do come back regularly.

Vocabulearn I agree it's not worth it. Back when I had a longer commute, I
found a used set cheap, so I bought it. But I haven't even finished the first level.

Speak French with Confidence is simply a re-packaging of TY French Conversation.
If you like the Dutch one, you'll probably like this one. Except that they have made a
new version, with additional exercises, Get Talking French in 10 Days, and its
follow-up, Keep Talking French (which I don't have). Basically these two
courses take the old dialogues from TY French Conversation, and add a few new exercises
and some new dialogues as well, approximately doubling the old course.

Practice Makes Perfect This whole series looks good, but I'm not sure I have
the patience to sit down and go through workbooks. My sit-down time is taken up by
watching or reading. When I do courses it's mainly when I'm on the go. Now I think if
I were to buy a French workbook, I'd prefer one from the Grammaire Progressive du
Francais series, since they are entirely in French.

Routledge Frequency Dictionary of French Yes, the one I have is by Deryle
Lonsdale and Yvon Le Bras. I use it to make my main Anki set. The one thing I don't
like about it is that it only gives the masculine singular forms of adjectives. So
when I'm entering new cards, I use the online Collins French dictionary to check
adjectives.

Fast French with Elisabeth Smith I bought this to work on with my son. If you
were just starting a French it would be pretty good. It's supposed to give you enough
to get you speaking in 6 weeks. But it is intentionally non-systematic. I think the
series would be great if you had to visit a country in a couple months and you don't
know the language at all.

Les Portes Tordues Again, I got this to work on with my son. It was the first
resource I bought for French, and at the time I didn't know any French. The audio
contains the story alone, and each segment is only about a minute long. I couldn't use
it because it didn't tell you how to pronounce the vocabulary, and so it has sat unused
on my shelf. Now that I know how to read French, I'm thinking about using it with my
second son. It combines traditional language learning: dialogue + vocab + grammar +
exercises with an overarching narrative. I like the idea, but I haven't used it so I
can't say if it is well-executed.


Should you get any of these courses? Only if you think it fills a gap in your
resources and if you would look forward to using it. The only one which I think really
fits that description might be La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai, and possibly
French Grammar in Context (but only if you like to use grammars).

Personally, I now have so many courses I'll never complete them all. I'm certain I
will complete FSI 1-24. I also definitely plan on using the Pronunciation DVDs soon.
I'd like to complete FIA as well, but that's a large undertaking. I'm halfway through
Pimsleur III, so I might as well do the other half. I got both Hugo levels, and I
think they'd be a nice way to get a thorough review and fill in any gaps. But there
are only 24 hours in a day, and I'd rather spend more of my time on reading and
watching/listening. Plus, there's Hindi and ancient Greek, not to mention my long-
neglected German. And I have learned and forgotten Hebrew, which would be nice to
revive. And have I mentioned I'd like to learn Sanskrit? Sigh.......



Thanks for your feedback Jeffers, that's really helpful. I believe you are right indeed. I need not get any more
courses at all unless there's a need to fill a gap and I doubt there be too many of those (gaps) with all the
materials I have. Perhaps in the Practice Makes Perfect series the subjunctive book may be quite useful, and
the one containing prepositions otherwise in all honesty I really don't need anything else, but to move entirely
to native material after all course are done away with. I may not require that 'La prononciation française pour
de vrai'    either- I just like the sound of it based on the reviews. Still I look fwd to reading your thoughts on it. I
honestly feel that my pronunciation has very few flaws in it. It is something I'm proud to say I've worked on
extremely diligently from the first day I decided to learn French, and I have continued to keep a 'frame of
mind' poised for fine tuning whenever listening to French audio via audio supplied in various styles of
courses. Anyway thanks again Jeffers, I knew your course list was in jest yet I just found myself replying to
every one of them after looking them up and couldn't resist, well, making those comments I guess. Thanks for
replying :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3454 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 139 of 451
18 June 2014 at 2:20pm | IP Logged 
I'm glad you found it helpful. It was actually helpful to me to look back on all of my
courses, consider their merits, and think about whether I need to reopen some of them
or not.

Now that I'm in the SC, it's tempting to go "full native". But I don't think that's
any more efficient than doing only courses. I think they support each other. When
you've read and watched a lot of native material, you have loads of real examples in
the back of your mind when you use courses. I think the most efficient way to learn is
to use a combination of courses and native material, even at the intermediate level and
above. It's not easy finding the right balance, but since I'm just studying for my own
pleasure, I'm happy to be guided by my mood.

Thanks to you, FSI (unit 7) is now back in my car CD player, and I think I'll be better
off for it. It is taking time away from my SC work, but in the long run I'll have an
easier time reading in 6 months having gone through some more lessons and drills.
2 persons have voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5750 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 140 of 451
18 June 2014 at 8:07pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai I think Luke mentioned this one. I have been feeling like I should use something to improve my accent, and this has great reviews. There is the book, Pronounce it Perfectly in French, but I didn't like what I read in the reviews. Basically I gathered that the book focuses too much on the sounds in isolation. Apparently this video course is more practical. I'll let you know once I start it.


I'm looking forward to your review :)

I wrote about
my experience with Prounounce it Perfectly in French and FSI French Phonology.


Edited by luke on 18 June 2014 at 8:08pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3454 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 141 of 451
18 June 2014 at 8:43pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
Jeffers wrote:
La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai I think Luke mentioned this one. I have been feeling like I should use something to improve my accent, and this has great reviews. There is the book, Pronounce it Perfectly in French, but I didn't like what I read in the reviews. Basically I gathered that the book focuses too much on the sounds in isolation. Apparently this video course is more practical. I'll let you know once I start it.


I'm looking forward to your review :)

I wrote about
my experience with Prounounce it Perfectly in French and FSI French Phonology.


Ah, thanks for that reminder, Luke. So it was actually Songlines who mentioned La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai, but in a thread you revived.
1 person has voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5750 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 142 of 451
18 June 2014 at 10:08pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
Ah, thanks for that reminder, Luke. So it was actually Songlines who mentioned La Prononciation Francaise Pour De Vrai, but in a thread you revived.


And that DVD does look interesting. There is a
brief clip on youtube.
1 person has voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4021 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 143 of 451
28 June 2014 at 7:03am | IP Logged 
Flaschcards.....

I have to say.. Yet again am I finding flashcards problematic. I do think i'm better
off with them than without them... BUT....

First off the reason I feel I'm better off with them is simply because they are a
record of vocabularly learned thus far. If I stopped entering new words I encounter
then I would be back to my old method of scribbling new words down at the top of pages
and coming back through these pages at a later date to review the new vocab. This is a
cumbersome method, as it means that to a certain extent if I don't want to forget newly
learned words I have to lug a shit load of books around with me everwhere I go... well
at least if I move house the new books MUST come, if I want to keep abreast of my new
words I have to have a couple of old books with me each study session while spending 5
to 15 min reviewing them per hour or two. So I kinda need the FC's, it means I can
ditch a lot of my books as I also make grammar cards, and any conversations contained
within courses are on my iPhone anyway.

So the problem then?

Well I recently read, which makes a lot of sense btw, that learning words in isolation
(my flashcards are predominantly isolated words) means that you learn isolated words
and have diminished skill in placing them into a contextual position that makes sense
and is correct (ie a grammatical correct sentence)... THEREFORE you should learn words
contained within sentences.... SO.... I then started entering new words/expressions
into my FC deck with 2 example sentences per word. Even tho I'm typing them in... it
takes too f***ing long dammit! And it is such a good way to learn too I think, but
simply too time consuming. I progress around 5 to 10 times as slowly as when entering
them in isolation. So unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on which way you care to
look at it) I'm no longer going to enter examples unless clarity is absolutely required
such as adverbial phrases which literally make no sense on their own even if learned in
isolation.

pffft go f*** yourselves flashcards! You are forever giving me the shits!

No, I'm not ditching them, I'm just damned frustrated. I need to see them as a memory
trigger tool. A tool that helps me regain recognition but does not explain much else or
provide much else, for that I need to continue with reading, listening, courses and so
on.

That's my 2 cents
1 person has voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5750 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 144 of 451
28 June 2014 at 11:47am | IP Logged 
I totally get your frustration. I added Anki flashcards a few weeks ago and other than learning a handful of
words, am not sure it is helpful. Perhaps words associated with current study material would be the answer.
E.G. a word from a lesson that is used in a dialogue or story has the "context". The flashcard is for trying to
nudge the word more towards active vocabulary.

I've only been adding 5 words a day most days and Anki is only taking about 5 minutes a day. I look at it as a
break. If it was 15 minutes, it would be on my sh** list too.


2 persons have voted this message useful



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