Friday, April 30, 2010

Intensive french courses can be intimidating for the novice learner. However, sometimes you need a really good crash course on french, especially if you're a businessman or a student about to take the plunge and visit that country.

So it might help to find a immersion course to really get accustomed to french in a short amount of time.

In my search for intensive french programs, I came across Rocket French (Premium).

Now this is what I call the Rolls Royce of french language study courses.

Are you sitting down? Get ready.

This course is jam-packed with audio CD, 24/7 online support, and you have a choice of the 20 CD pack or a downloadable version.

What's the downside? The Price.

Of course, they hit you where it hurts.

You have choice of spending $99+ or $200+ dollars (US).

However, I highly recommend this product because it's versatile and complete! You won't need any other course on how to speak French.

Price: 2/5
Quality: 5/5
Ease of Use / Portability: 5/5
Mac compatibility: 5/5
Customer Support: 5/5

If you're serious about learning French and changing your life completely, I highly recommend that you get started with Rocket French Premium today!

There is a product that I can't recommend because I don't have the right computer to use the software. (I have a Mac and the software only works on PCs.)

But if there was ever a time that I wanted to go out an purchase a PC, it would be now.

The program to learn French is called the Surefire French Learning Package and they seem to really understand what problems we newbie french-speakers are having.

They did their research. They state: "50% of all everyday conversations in French (or in any other language for that matter) consists of not more than 1000 words."

Wow! That cuts down the amount of work on how many words you have to memorize.

Just focus in on 1000 words, rather than an entire language. Sooo smart.

I haven't bought the product, because I don't have a PC. But if you're interested, you should check it out here. It's only $37, which doesn't seem like much in comparison to the other programs I have reviewed.

Bon chance!

In my humble opinion, I believe the best way to learn french is to get stranded in a French-speaking country. When you are completely left with no other resources, except French, you are forced to learn the language in order to survive. The radio, TV, internet, street signs, everything is in French. You can't help but absorb that language, via osmosis.

That's right! The best way to learn french is full immersion!

However, most of us don't have this luxury.

So what's the next best way to learn french? Purchase a course and completely digest all the information contained in it.

Now in my last post I mentioned an audiobook course, which normally would be the best of both worlds: audio (listening and hearing french) along with the instruction of a professional course.

However, what about an online course that offers versatility?

What about a course that shortens the learning curve?

Well, that's how I came across, Easy French Lessons. It's an online course that offers you a "shortcut method" of learning French. They claim that the best way to learn the language is "knowing what to say at the right time." So they are all about timing.

This was interesting to me. I had never heard of "timing" as being the tool to really grasp French.

What I liked about this program was "Shortcut learning" approach. I wanted to save myself the time of having to learn every single detail before moving on to the next little detail.

However, I did a little more investigative research and found their TOS (terms of service). I was more than a little hesitant after reading they have no phone support. It just seemed all too sketchy.

Overall, I do not recommend this program. The lack of "human touch" from this program makes me reluctant to recommend it.

Price: 4/5
Quality: 2/5
Ease of Use / Portability: 4/5
Mac compatibility: 5/5
Customer Support: 2/5

If you'd like to read more about Easy French Lessons, you can check out their homepage here.

I figured the best way to learn french through audio was to find a french audio book.

And where's the first person anyone looks when it comes to learning a new language?

Of course, the bookstore.

So I found myself in the foreign language section of my favorite librairies.

And I came across this book in my search: Just Listen and Learn French.

The title, by itself, made it seem so easy. It was an audiobook.

Price was reasonable: $20-$25 (depending on where you find it).

I liked that the creators of this product chose record real French men and women. I was glad because knew I was hearing what real french sounds like. If I were walking down the streets of France, this is what I would hear. So it was very true-to-life.

In terms of quality and ease of use, I would rank this on the lower end. It's not exactly what I was looking for, but the title definitely is tempting.

It was very difficult to understand the voices. So a lot of repeating of lessons was needed, because the voices went so fast and somewhat garbled accents. For a beginner, this would be very tough to get a grasp of the language. I believe this would be a better product, if they had BOTH a rehearsed actor slowly stating the phrases and then a true Parisian or French-Canadian saying the same thing.

It was a CD, so it was Mac compatible.

Because it's an audiobook, clearly there's no customer support available.

Overall, my rating for this french learning program is:
  • Price: 5/5
  • Quality: 3/5
  • Ease of Use / Portability: 3/5
  • Mac compatibility: 5/5
  • Customer Support: 0/5
If you're looking for audio french lessons for beginners then "Just Listen and Learn French," might be the best fit for you. I'm not too keen on it. But to learn more about it, you can check it out here.

Conversational French Lessons: Why I chose to study french

Contrary to popular belief, I didn't choose French because of some movie star or because I had a crush on someone who spoke French. (But both reasons are good motivation to continue learning french.)

So why did I choose to learn french?

Well there were a few reasons:
  1. I chose french because there were only two options for languages to choose in school: either French or Spanish. I had been exposed to Spanish before in my local neighborhood (and on spanish language television) and I never was really impressed with the way Spanish sounded.
  2. Part of choosing a language is identifying with the culture and the hopes of perhaps visiting that country (or countries.) I have never really had an interest in visiting Spain or Latin America. Who knows? Perhaps one day.
  3. I also chose French because it seemed like a challenge. The silent letters and the strange yet unique accent. Could I do it? Could I adopt the accent and pass for being French?
  4. Also, the French language always sounded so elegant, sophisticated, and delicate. So I felt I could be *another person* and reinvent myself with this new exotic language. Kind of like an international spy. Voulez-vous couchez avec moi? (Well, not quite.)
So there you have it.

What are you reasons for wanting to learn french?

Welcome to my blog!

Hi! My name is Kelly!

And I am proud to say that I am a francophone (french speaker).

Hold on! I'm no expert, but I did go from never understanding a lick of french to being able to hold full conversations in french (with native french speakers)!

My ultimate goal over these past years was to hold a conversation in french with a native french speaker -- and not have them die of boredom.

So I've created this blog as a diary to help anyone who is experiencing the same problems I had with trying to learn to speak french.

I know a lot of people struggle to learn another language, especially if the language is not their native tongue.

In fact, it took over 8 years of trial and error for me to finally find the greatest and most effective methods to pick up the french language. I've tried a ton of programs, books, audiobooks, and french courses over just under a decade. And I've spent quite a bit of money to achieve my goal.

Whew! But I've finally made it!

And to spare you all the from wasting your time (along with all the madness along the way), I've rated all the techniques, programs, and products for you -- so you can get an inside scoop before you make the crucial decision (da da dum!)

  • Price: Important because everything comes directly from my pocketbook.
  • Quality: I'm a quantity over quantity person.
  • Ease of Use / Portability: Is the software, book, program easy to use?
  • Mac compatibility: I own a Mac, so this is crucial for me.
  • Customer Support: I can get lost with the learning part, so it would be nice to have.
I'm keeping track of all my efforts for your convenience.

Hopefully, through my trek, I can entertain you along the way! Perhaps you can laugh at my mistakes and blunders and learn from them, too!

I hope you can learn something from me here and more importantly gain the same results that I have.

À tout à l'heure!