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Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2019
I absolutely adore the French language, having taken it in both high school and college. I had such an affinity for it that I thought I was perhaps gifted with languages—that was until I took German! So I was quick to snap up this book at my favorite book review site. I was curious about how I would do with it as I only read French or watch French movies occasionally.
There is only a brief introductory section before the book launches into the eight short stories. In this section, the authors briefly touch on intensive vs. extensive ways of learning language and how this book should be used. I actually found the discussion about intensive vs. extensive to be an interesting topic. I hadn't really given it much thought before. I found myself wondering if there is something to this extensive way of learning, as it seems much more like the way we actually acquire language as children. I thought that the ways the authors told how to use the book were a little confusing. The first bit of advice is to read each story once and once only, but then they talked about using a spaced-repetition program for better mastery but didn't specifically say to reread the stories for this. Again, just a bit of a jumble. They had two ways to actually approach the stories. One way is to read the story first and continue through that story’s section. The other is to read the vocabulary list first and then read the story before proceeding to the rest of the section.
Each story has several parts to it, starting with the story in French that is followed by a vocabulary list, a quiz in French, and an English translation of the story. I chose the read-the-vocabulary-list-first method, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much of it made sense to me. The only thing that was confusing to me was the verb tenses. I'll admit that, at this point, I only really remember a few of them on sight. At least I knew that they were verb tenses! I was happy to actually comprehend and answer the quiz questions correctly. I actually think the brief quiz helped cement the words, phrases, and concepts while giving a few new words to consider. Then, of course, the English translation laid everything bare, and I could then get a sense of what those tenses were.
Interestingly, having gone through Story 1 and moving into Story 2, I found myself understanding more without even having to read that story’s vocabulary list first. I wonder if they are on to something here about extensive learning for language. In fact, my experience with this book made me wish that there were more resources like this, perhaps with longer and more complex stories or articles. I think it is a great way to learn a foreign language, and I wish I had more of this to sink my teeth into!
One quick word about the vocabulary lists. I was surprised at how extensive they were, given the authors’ stance on intensive learning (which requires that the learner look up vocabulary that they don’t know). But I was glad for them, as they did help refresh my memory and get me in a French frame of mind, more ready to read the short story. But I was surprised that they included some very obvious words while not having others that would have been beneficial. For instance, did they really need to tell us that the French word “fruit” is the English word fruit? Or that “carrottes” were carrots? I would like to think that even if you have taken no French whatsoever, you could figure these out!
This book is definitely not for a rank beginner in French. You do have to have studied the language at least a little to appreciate this book fully. But if you are someone who considers themselves to be a beginner or intermediate French language learner, you may find that this short book is just one more tool to help you become more fluent with French.
I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2019
I tried reading the stories but I can’t help but translate the words to English. I hope in time I can read and comprehend the story in French. I appreciate the book though I had a little bit of difficulty reading at first but as I progress, I get to understand the story and learn bit by bit.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2019
I love languages and French is so awesome. Reading French stories has been so helpful for me in picking up more of this wonderful language. I am just starting this language but this book is a great help.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Good to read for a level B1-2. Not too many new words, it goes rather quickly. I liked that there is also the translation to check if you do not feel sure about some sentences. The text is not really very deep or exciting, but for learning purposes, there are plenty of everyday words that are useful.