French Today

Book Review



Berlitz French Today


Berlitz Publishing Company, Inc.



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

August, 2001



Berlitz French Today is an interactive audio course for  self-study of the French language. The package consists of a Learner's Guide, Course Book, French English Dictionary and four audio CD disks.

The Learner's Guide is a thirty page booklet with  several goals. One goal is to give the listener an idea of how to approach self-study and it includes tips for this purpose. It also provides an in-depth discussion of basic French grammar including nouns, pronouns, plurals, verbs, and adjective use. A short section at the beginning gives the listener a plain language explanation of French pronunciation, while a complete glossary of the vocabulary used in the audio portion of the course is at the end.

Get more information about French Today at Amazon.comThe  Course Book provides the framework that is used to teach the listener French.  Each chapter is divided into sections, and begins with a listing of new vocabulary that will be learned in the chapter. Some sections are associated with audio material on the CD, while others provide tips on improving French language skills. Each section with related audio material is clearly marked so that the student can start and stop the CD as needed. A page of checkpoints at the end of the  chapter ensures that the listener has mastered the contents by asking a series of questions.

The dictionary included with this course is designed with  the traveler in mind. It is bi-lingual so that the user can translate back and  forth and the word list is most concerned with words that a tourist may encounter. The French listings indicate the gender of nouns, and both French and English  listings include a pronunciation key. Short sections at the end of each language highlight the translation of common menu items in both languages. Another short  section in the middle has useful travel phrases for arriving at the airport, getting to the hotel, dining, sightseeing, and emergency situations. Other reference  pages provide help with numbers, temperature conversions, and telling time.

The audio portion of the course is very similar to that of the Think and Talk series, but shorter and a little less inclusive. Each of the marked sections in the Course Book is available on the CD for the  student to listen and learn. A variety of activities ask the student to listen, repeat phrases and vocabulary, and to participate in conversations by role-playing. An English-speaking guide steps the listener through each activity. The audio  material is fresh and lively, and most of the activities involve actual conversations to improve the listener's overall comprehension.

This program is a wonderful mid-budget solution for  learning the French language in spare moments. It is designed to give the listener a workable comprehension of practical French using the shortest amount of time. Activities are well structured, flow naturally from one to the other, and are  designed to improve vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversational skills.

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