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Re: [immigrationquebec] Resources for learning french.

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  • G A
    How about the book Complete Idiot guide to French Learning . It has words and pronounications. -GA Ravi Rao wrote: -- Begin fwd ed msg --
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 30, 2003
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      How about the book 'Complete Idiot guide to French Learning'. It has words and pronounications.
       
      -GA

      Ravi Rao <mail@...> wrote:
      -- Begin fwd'ed msg --

      >  Resources for Learning French
      >
      >
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > This is a summary of resources I've found useful in
      > learning French in order to survive in Neuch?tel.
      > The selection of resources is slanted explicitly
      > toward the goal of survival: mastering the language
      > sufficiently to be able to buy a car, read the
      > newspaper, get your furnace repaired, and all the
      > other fun-filled components of day-to-day life. From
      > that base, you can proceed to a deeper understanding
      > of the literary language and more effective ways of
      > expressing yourself but it doesn't make sense to
      > worry about such refinements until you're able to
      > warn that pesky neighbour kid that if he rings your
      > doorbell one more time and runs away, you'll tear
      > off his fingers and toes and feed them to your
      > vicious dog.
      > French in Action
      > French In Action is a video-based course created by
      > Pierre Capretz of Yale University. This course is so
      > excellent it almost justifies the invention of
      > television. I know of no better way to so rapidly
      > obtain a knowledge of day-to-day French.
      > French in Action is focused around 52 half-hour
      > video lessons which assume no prior knowledge of the
      > language. The course starts in French from the first
      > instant, and is built around a story that involves
      > the kinds of day to day activities that are often
      > neglected in literary-oriented language courses.
      > Don't expect to find a lot of verb conjugation and
      > noun-adjective agreement exercises here; the goal is
      > developing an instinct for what "sounds right", just
      > as children do as they learn their first language.
      > You may feel like an idiot when you bungle such
      > details, but the fact is you can mess up genders,
      > adjectival forms, and much of verb conjugation and
      > still be understood perfectly well on the street.
      >
      > French In Action plunges right into colloquial
      > Parisian French, spoken full speed. The first time
      > through you'll probably miss about 90% at first
      > hearing. The second time, you'll get about half, and
      > by the third time you'll understand almost
      > everything. Your very progress provides strong
      > reinforcement as you follow the course.
      >
      > The course consists of the 52 video segments, a
      > textbook which consists largely of transcripts of
      > the videos with explanations, and a workbook and set
      > of audio cassettes that focus on structure, grammar,
      > and pronunciation skills.
      >
      > If you're too busy to work through the more
      > schooldays-like components, you can misuse French In
      > Action to build your skills almost painlessly. Just
      > pick a 30 minute time period every day and work your
      > way through the videos from number 1 through number
      > 52, one per day. When you get to the end, go back to
      > the beginning and start over again. Repeat until you
      > understand perfectly and have ceased to improve.
      > (Mustn't leave you like the programmer found starved
      > in the shower clutching a bottle of shampoo with
      > instructions: "Lather, rinse, repeat".)
      >
      > French In Action is published by the organisations
      > listed at the end of this section. The textbook,
      > study guides, audio cassettes, and other student
      > material are available in many college bookstores;
      > the last time I checked, San Francisco area
      > residents could obtain them at the College of San
      > Mateo bookstore. The video cassettes are distributed
      > separately by the Annenberg/CPB project, in a dumb
      > format (two half-hour segments per VHS cassette--if
      > you insist on standard play you could fit four per
      > tape and twelve in six-hour mode, which would reduce
      > the number of cassettes from twenty-six to five) at
      > a mindboggling price: more than US$600. This
      > notwithstanding the fact that French In Action has
      > been broadcast by numerous Public Broadcasting
      > System stations in the US for years, and anybody
      > with an antenna and a VCR is perfectly free to make
      > their own tapes of the video portion of the course.
      > In fact, some PBS stations have held all-night
      > taping marathons of French In Action, aimed entirely
      > at folks who want to make their own set of tapes.
      > Now while you're perfectly free to tape anything
      > broadcast on TV for your own use, it's still
      > probably a federal crime to run off a copy for a
      > friend. Go figure.
      >
      > [French In Action: Textbook, Workbook, Study Guide,
      > Instructor's Guide, Audio cassettes: Yale University
      > Press, 92-A Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
      > ISBN 0-300-03655-8 (Textbook). Video cassettes,
      > Faculty manual: Annenberg/CPB Project, 1111
      > Sixteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA, Tel:
      > 1-800-LEARNER.]
      >
      > Conversational French in 20 Lessons
      > If you go out and buy this "Cortina Method"
      > self-study book and open it up for the first time,
      > you'll probably think I've taken leave of my senses
      > to recommend this course. First of all, the book was
      > written in 1954 and has not changed much since. It's
      > filled with little tacky line art period
      > illustrations that date it (actually, I'd have
      > guessed late Forties). Ignoring the anachronistic
      > layout and content, however, any of three aspects of
      > this course make it well worth your time.
      > First, each of the 20 lessons is simple and can
      > easily be read through in half an hour. Each builds
      > vocabulary and conversational skills as you go.
      > Second, grammar is taught in a very effective
      > manner--by English-language footnotes keyed to the
      > French-language material in the lessons. Each time a
      > new grammatical construct appears, a footnote
      > introduces it and provides a simplified explanation
      > of the principle involved. I've found this a
      > remarkably painless and effective way to assimilate
      > grammar. Third, the last 135 pages of the book
      > contain an exhaustively detailed and well-written
      > reference on French grammar that's worth the modest
      > price of the book by itself. You can find much
      > classier French courses, but this one works.
      > [Cortina, R., and Alden, D., Conversational French
      > in 20 Lessons , New York: Henry Holt,
      > 1954-1962-1977. ISBN 0-8327-0011-8.]
      >
      > Champs-Elys?es
      > Once you've come to terms with the basic vocabulary
      > and grammar of a language, you're only at the start
      > of a long process of learning how the language is
      > actually spoken colloquially and of learning to hear
      > the language. Spoken language has much less
      > information bandwidth than the printed page and
      > contains much more ambiguity which must be resolved,
      > in real time, by context. Consider, for example,
      > that in French the words:
      >     tu      you (familiar form)
      >     tu/tue  past participle of the verb se taire
      >     tout    all
      >     tue     kill (1st & 3rd person singular present)
      >
      > will probably sound exactly alike to a novice, and
      > don't differ all that much in pronunciation in any
      > case. Or the words:
      >     foi     faith
      >     foie    liver
      >     fois    time, occasion
      >
      > which are pronounced precisely the same, at least as
      > far as rendering into the International Phonetic
      > Alphabet is concerned. Now if you know the context
      > of the discussion and pick up all the neighbouring
      > words, you're not likely to be confused about the
      > meaning of p?t? de foie gras (unless, perhaps,
      > you're in some weird California cult-o-mart), but
      > when you're in language learning mode, missing about
      > 10% of the words and struggling to understand the
      > rest as fast as somebody is talking, the added
      > ambiguity of sounds really makes things tough.
      > Finally consider this epiphany of aural ambiguity
      > passed on by Billy Hinners, all pronounced precisely
      > the same.
      >     vert    green
      >     vers    toward, or verse (of a poem)
      >     verre   glass
      >     ver     worm
      >     vair    squirrel fur
      >
      > Developing full-speed comprehension of the spoken
      > language simply requires a lot of practice, and the
      > best way I know to develop the skill is through an
      > audio magazine called Champs-Elys?es published, in
      > of all places, Nashville, Tennessee. Ten times a
      > year you receive an audio cassette which amounts to
      > a variety radio program entirely in French. Segments
      > include news, interviews, current popular music,
      > history, and the like. The cassette is accompanied
      > by a complete printed transcript in which idiomatic
      > and unusual words are printed in boldface and
      > defined, in English, at the end. You can use this in
      > several ways. You can listen to the cassette cold to
      > measure comprehension, then play it again while
      > reading the transcript to identify words. Quickly,
      > you'll find yourself able to pick out more and more
      > words as they are spoken. When I'm done with the
      > cassette, I usually read through the definitions at
      > the end, picking up a few new and useful idioms each
      > time.
      >
      > The content of Champs-Elys?es makes no compromises
      > toward being a learning tool; the language is spoken
      > just as fast as you'll hear on French radio stations
      > (and generally faster than Swiss French), and with
      > an unrestricted vocabulary. Don't expect to find
      > words like mettre or prendre defined--the
      > definitions tend to be more like:
      >
      >   le l?gitimiste: legitimist; in France, a supporter
      > of the elder branch of the Bourbons, dethroned in
      > 1830, to the advantage of the Orl?ans branch. When
      > King Charles X abdicated and went into exile, his
      > cousin, the duc d'Orl?ans, Louis-Philippe 1er became
      > "roi des Fran?ais". In 1883 the comte de Chambord,
      > Henry V, grandson of Charles X, died without an
      > heir.
      >   la zizanie: ill-feeling (cf. mettre/semer la
      > zizanie dans une famille = to set a family at
      > loggerheads).
      >
      > The only disadvantage of Champs-Elys?es is the
      > price; about US$100 per year, but if you're really
      > serious about understanding spoken French, I don't
      > know of any better way, especially if you're living
      > in an area where you don't have access to French
      > language radio and television programs to provide
      > the same kinds of practice (albeit without a
      > transcript to help you). An optional "study guide"
      > is also available, which seems to be produced with a
      > goal of introducing Champs-Elys?es into school
      > curricula. I found the study guide boring and
      > essentially useless, so I dropped my subscription to
      > it when I renewed last year. If your interest
      > encompasses other languages, the same company
      > publishes similar audio magazines in German,
      > Italian, and Spanish; I've tried the Spanish and
      > German editions and found them to be of the same
      > quality as the French. [Champs-Elys?es, P.O. Box
      > 158067, Nashville, TN 37215, USA. Phone:
      > USA/800-824-0829.]
      >
      > Sous-titres au Secours
      > If you live in Europe, there's a free and
      > inexhaustible resource for learning to hear French
      > that's as close as your television set. Unlike in
      > the United States where subtitles require a special
      > decoder, most European networks subtitle their
      > programs using the Teletext mechanism which also
      > provides access to pages of news, weather, financial
      > quotes, and other information.
      > Principally intended for the deaf, subtitled
      > programs are a wonderful way to improve your
      > comprehension of the spoken language. You'll note,
      > as you gain skill, that subtitles are often
      > simplified compared to the actual spoken dialogue
      > (primarily so they don't flash by too quickly to
      > read). Even so, you'll find you're soon following
      > speech much more readily, even without subtitles or
      > when using that most challenging of modern
      > conveniences, the telephone.
      >
      > To receive subtitles, you need a Teletext-equipped
      > television: most medium-priced and higher receivers
      > include this feature. Then, when watching a
      > subtitled broadcast (they are, regrettably, still in
      > the minority), set your decoder to the "page" on
      > which the subtitles are transmitted. Most
      > broadcasters have adopted the European standard of
      > page 888 for subtitles, but you may encounter some
      > which haven't yet conformed. France 2's evening news
      > is always subtitled, and T?l?vision Suisse Romande
      > subtitles the news every other evening.
      >
      > Video cassette recorders do not record Teletext
      > information, so even if a movie you record was
      > broadcast with subtitles, you won't be able to see
      > them when you replay the tape. (Tricky high-end
      > video setups do allow recording subtitles, but few
      > people have such special equipment or the patience
      > to figure out how to use it.)
      >
      > Oxford French Minidictionary
      > This is a small (7.5?12cm), fat (650 page)
      > English/French translation dictionary of more than
      > 45,000 words and 65,000 translations. It's small
      > enough so you can tuck it in a corner of your
      > briefcase and never be without it. Don't look for
      > extensive definitions here, just brief one or two
      > word translations. But for a book so physically
      > small, the coverage of the language is nothing less
      > than astounding. [ The Oxford French Minidictionary
      > , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN
      > 0-19-860140-9.]
      > If you live in continental Europe, you may not be
      > able to find the Oxford dictionary in your
      > bookstore. Fortunately, Robert & Collins publish a
      > virtually identical volume (size, shape, format, and
      > content) which is available everywhere. The Oxford
      > and Robert are so similar that if you don't happen
      > to glance at the cover you'll seldom be aware which
      > you're using. [Le Robert & Collins GEM Dictionnaire
      > -- Fran?ais-Anglais/Anglais-Fran?ais: Dictionnaires
      > Le Robert, 1992. ISBN 2-85036-136-4.] In the UK you
      > may find it published by Harper Collins Publishers
      > under ISBN 0-00-458539-9.
      >
      > Barron's French Grammar
      > This is an English-language, pocket sized summary of
      > French grammar which makes a perfect briefcase
      > companion to a compact translation dictionary like
      > the Oxford French Minidictionary mentioned above.
      > Despite its size (less than 200 15?9 cm pages), it's
      > quite complete and includes plenty of examples and
      > mnemonic tricks to help troublesome points stick in
      > your mind. It contains one of the best summaries of
      > that eternal puzzle, "which preposition goes with
      > what verb" I've seen. [Kendris, C., Barron's French
      > Grammar , Hauppage NY: Barron's, 1990. ISBN
      > 0-8120-4292-1.]
      > Colle Fran?aise & Le Truc des Genres
      > This is a one-page "reference card" for French that
      > I developed while learning the language. In learning
      > French, I found that the most difficult words to
      > master were what I came to call "linguistic glue,"
      > the adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and
      > conjunctions that link verbs and nouns into complete
      > sentences. Unlike verbs and nouns, which are
      > frequently similar in English and French, these
      > "glue words" tend to be unique in each language. In
      > addition, they are often used in idiomatic ways
      > which are difficult to find, even in a dictionary.
      > The reference card is provided as a PostScript file
      > which, when printed on a PostScript printer,
      > produces a one-page reference card that lists more
      > than 230 French "glue words" along with their
      > English translations. I've found that keeping this
      > card at hand while reading French documents saves an
      > enormous amount of time compared to flipping through
      > a dictionary, and is an excellent way to commit
      > these words and their usage to memory. An electronic
      > version of the reference card is available on this
      > Web server.
      >
      > Included on the reference card is "the gender
      > trick". English speakers learning French often
      > struggle to memorise the gender of each noun. Yet
      > simply learning 40 word endings will allow you to
      > predict the gender of three quarters of all French
      > nouns with an accuracy of approximately 95%. For
      > example, of the 1976 nouns that end with the letter
      > "t", all but 5 are masculine. A companion gender
      > reference card lists each ending, the number of
      > nouns with that ending, the accuracy of gender
      > prediction it yields, and principal exceptions to
      > the rule. I developed the rules in the gender trick
      > based on analysis of more than 18,000 nouns.
      >
      > [Colle Fran?aise and Le Truc des Genres are
      > available in the directory francais. See the README
      > in that directory for details.]
      >
      > 501 French Verbs
      > You may remember this old buddy from high school
      > French class. It's the book that gives complete
      > conjugations, one per page, for 501 of the most
      > common French verbs, and lists more than 1000
      > additional verbs conjugated identically to the 501
      > given explicitly. This book is mostly useful in
      > writing the language rather than speaking, but
      > you'll use it often enough to justify the modest
      > price. [Kendris, C., 501 French Verbs , Hauppage NY:
      > Barron's 1996. ISBN 0-8120-9281-3.]
      > Bescherelle "Green" Series
      > The following Bescherelle books:
      >   Bescherelle 1: La conjugaison--12000 verbes, ISBN
      > 2-218-02949-9
      >   Bescherelle 2: L'orthographe pour tous, ISBN
      > 2-218-02952-9
      >   Bescherelle 3: La grammaire pour tous, ISBN
      > 2-218-02954-5
      > are genuine heavy-duty references to conjugation,
      > spelling, and grammar. In Switzerland, they are
      > published by ?ditions 5 Continents, 5, avenue de
      > Longemalle, CH-1020 RENENS, and are available in any
      > bookshop and even in larger supermarkets. Since the
      > explanatory text in these books is in French, they
      > aren't for beginners (although the conjugation and
      > spelling books can be readily used). Once you've
      > learned enough to read them, they're the books
      > you'll turn to again and again. These references are
      > masterpieces of graphical design: they use colour
      > throughout in a highly effective manner, for
      > example, to highlight irregular forms in tables of
      > verb conjugations.
      > Languages of the World and (X)dictool
      > There's a CD-ROM available called Languages of the
      > World which includes a collection of language
      > dictionaries for Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French,
      > German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, and
      > Swedish. The French dictionaries included are:
      >   a.. Harrap's Shorter French-English,
      > English-French
      >   (350,000+ translations & examples)
      >   b.. Harrap's French-English, English-French
      > Dictionary of Data Processing
      >   (18,000 headwords)
      >   c.. Harrap's French-English, English-French
      > Science Dictionary
      >   (30,000 headwords)
      >   d.. Harrap's French-English, English-French
      > Business Dictionary
      > The Harrap dictionaries are serious, high quality
      > references which sell well in bookstores; they
      > aren't the kind of bottom feeders you often find
      > repackaged on CD-ROMs. Unfortunately, this CD-ROM
      > comes with what is perhaps the worst access software
      > ever created. Whaddya think of the idea of a 450K
      > terminate and stay resident program for MS-DOS? With
      > an indecipherable keyboard-based user interface to
      > boot. To reboot, that is!
      > If you're lucky enough to have a Sun Workstation
      > with a CD-ROM drive (or you're on a network across
      > which you can access a CD-ROM drive), you can use
      > DICTOOL, an access and retrieval program I wrote
      > which makes looking up words in the dictionaries on
      > this CD-ROM extremely easy and virtually
      > instantaneous. When you're sitting at your Sun, you
      > need only click an icon, type in a word (or the
      > first few letters of it) in English or French, and
      > in less than a second its complete dictionary entry
      > appears in a text subwindow, allowing you to cut and
      > paste translations into a document you're writing.
      > You don't even have to type accents on words you're
      > looking up. You can also easily browse forward and
      > backward in the dictionary alphabetically. Versions
      > of DICTOOL are available for both the original
      > SunView window system and OpenWindows.
      >
      > DICTOOL is available by anonymous FTP from
      > ftp.fourmilab.ch in the directory /pub/web/dictool.
      > Of course since it's just the retrieval engine you
      > must also buy the CD-ROM that contains the actual
      > dictionaries. "Languages of the World" is sold for
      > US$889 by the Bureau of Electronic Publishing. But
      > before you pay that price, shop around! People have
      > obtained this CD-ROM at prices varying from zero
      > (bundled with a drive), less than US$100, all the
      > way up to the BEP list price. Having instant
      > translations on tap for a wide variety of languages
      > is extremely convenient (you'll be amazed how many
      > more puzzling words you look up when it's so easy),
      > but I'm not sure I'd pay close to US$900 for it. But
      > if, as I did, you can get the CD-ROM cheaply (I
      > found it as part of a bundle in the DAK catalogue),
      > it's worth US$100 or so--the paper dictionaries it
      > contains would cost you substantially more than
      > that. Further, if you're on a network, you can mount
      > the CD-ROM on a drive that's exported over NFS and
      > any number of people on the same net can legally
      > share a single CD-ROM; nothing in the license
      > restricts network access. [Bureau of Electronic
      > Publishing, 141 New Road, Parsippany NJ 07054, USA,
      > Tel: USA/800-828-4766 or 201-808-2700.]
      >
      > I have recently heard that Languages of the World
      > can be ordered for US$59 from S&S Enterprises, Tel:
      > USA/800-ROM-DISC. I have not verified this
      > personally and have had no experience with this
      > firm.
      >
      > Dictionnaire des Mots Suisses de la Langue Fran?aise
      > If you're living in Suisse Romande, this odd-shaped
      > and overpriced (CHF 29.50) book is probably worth
      > picking up. Most of the more than 1000 words it
      > defines are relatively useless items like names
      > given to residents of this town or that region,
      > terms obviously adapted from the German, and the
      > like, but every now and then this volume will save
      > you some puzzlement. For example, last week I was
      > reviewing a contract which included the phrase
      > "L'Icha figurera s?par?ment". Eeesh...what's "Icha"?
      > Well, pull out ye olde DdMSdlLF and there it is,
      > right on page nonante-et-une, "ICHA, n.m., Mot
      > suisse. - Imp?t sur le chiffre d'affaires"...or, in
      > other words, sales tax. [Nicollier, A., Dictionnaire
      > des mots suisses de la langue fran?aise, Gen?ve: GVA
      > SA, 1990. ISBN 2-88115-003-9.]
      > Audio-Forum
      > Audio-Forum is a company that started out marketing
      > the US Foreign Service Institute (public domain)
      > language courses and grew to become the most
      > comprehensive supplier of language learning material
      > I know of. The FSI courses still form the foundation
      > of their offerings, but their catalogue now includes
      > a wide variety of material covering languages from
      > Afrikaans to Zulu.
      > I have not tried the Foreign Service Institute
      > French course they sell (Basic French Part A is
      > US$175, Part B US$195, Advanced Part A US$225,
      > Advanced Part B US$225), but I have worked through
      > their Basic Spanish and German FSI courses and can
      > recommend them with the following caveats. One,
      > US$175 is a lot of money for a 200 page paperback
      > book and 12 hissy cassettes, especially when the
      > material therein is in the public domain and, if
      > you're a US citizen, developed with your tax dollars
      > (or your parents'). Second, the textbook is
      > photo-reproduced from the original master that looks
      > like it was typed on a 1950's vintage manual
      > typewriter, including erasures. Still, the course is
      > very thorough, if somewhat tedious, and thousands of
      > people have taught themselves using it.
      >
      > The Audio-Forum catalogue contains 7 full pages of
      > French language material, including videos, French
      > language movies and radio programs, flash cards,
      > brush-up courses, material focusing on dialogues and
      > colloquial speech, and courses for children.
      > [Audio-Forum, 96 Broad Street, Guilford CT 06437,
      > USA. Tel: USA/800-243-1234 or 203-453-9794.
      > Catalogue US$2.]
      >
      > Dictionnaires d'Informatique
      > Okay, you've clawed your way to sufficient
      > proficiency in French that you can verbally ream
      > that sale esp?ce de limace puante who rammed you in
      > the traffic circle without batting an eyebrow. But
      > how do you say "spreadsheet" in French? Well, if
      > you're a computer type, you're going to need the
      > following outrageously expensive books.
      > (Unfortunately, I don't have the receipt and the
      > price isn't printed on the books, but I distinctly
      > recall these puppies emptying my wallet when I
      > bought them.)
      >   Ginguay, M., and Lauret, A., Dictionnaire
      > d'informatique, ISBN-2-225-81885-1.
      >   Ginguay, M., Dictionnaire Fran?ais-Anglais
      > d'informatique, ISBN-2-225-82006-6.
      >   Ginguay, M., Dictionnaire Anglais-Fran?ais
      > d'informatique, ISBN-2-225-81988-2.
      > all published by Masson, 120, boulevard
      > Saint-Germain, 75280 Paris Cedex 06, France. Oh
      > yeah, it's "tableur". Now what the heck is an
      > "SGBD"?
      > Wicked French
      > Finally, just for fun, here's a slim little
      > phrasebook filled with les mots justes pour ?picer
      > la vie quotidienne comme "Le canard calcin? ?tait
      > vraiment extraordinaire" (The carbonised duck was
      > particularly fine), "?te ce tas de f?rraille de la
      > circulation" (Get that worthless heap off the road),
      > and "Pardonnez-moi, mais avez-vous un porc-?pic
      > coinc? entre les fesses?" (work this one out for
      > yourself!). [Tomb, H., Wicked French , New York:
      > Workman Publishing, 1989. ISBN-0-894480-616-5.]
      > The Hacker's French
      > No, I'm not about to start writing another
      > "Hacker's" book until I get the last one published!
      > But here are my notes for such a volume, aimed at
      > how to quickly acquire a basic survival proficiency
      > in French using the tools listed above.
      >   a.. French In Action
      >   Get this course and play one video per day, each
      > and every day, week in and week out. When you get to
      > the end, start over from the beginning. Even if you
      > don't have time to read the text, practice with the
      > workbooks, or use the cassettes, make the 30 minute
      > slot for the video a permanent part of your life.
      > I've said on several occasions that if you simply
      > watch this series of 52 videos through two times,
      > you could parachute into Abidjan and get along in
      > day to day life from the moment you hit the ground.
      > It's that good. Really. As you proceed along this
      > path, I'd also recommend doing one lesson per day of
      > the Cortina course over and over until you don't
      > feel you're improving further.
      >
      >
      >   b.. Hammer Grammar
      >   At some level, you simply have to bash grammar
      > into your head, especially since there are facets of
      > French grammar that have no or very limited
      > counterparts in English (such as many uses of the
      > subjunctive, partitives, and the greater precision
      > of time in French through such tenses as the future
      > anterior). I recommend simply reading the Barron's
      > and Cortina grammar summaries from front to back,
      > spending about a week on each pass, a chapter or
      > half a chapter per day, until it begins to sink in.
      > There are lots of exercises you can do to master
      > grammar, but the most important thing is first of
      > all to know what there is to master, and these
      > references show you that. The Cortina course, with
      > its footnotes introducing elements of grammar, is
      > very helpful in connecting the rules to their
      > application in the language.
      >
      >
      >   c.. Read for Vocabulary
      >   Once you understand enough grammar to comprehend
      > basic sentence structure, you can then start to
      > build your vocabulary by reading. It's often
      > recommended that you start with children's books,
      > but I prefer to read something that's interesting
      > enough I'd read it in English. Newspapers and
      > magazines are excellent material for beginners,
      > since they generally don't use fancy literary
      > language (though there are exceptions; don't expect
      > to "get" some humour columnists for quite a while).
      > If you're a science fiction fan, check out the
      > illustrated Web editions of Jules Verne's De la
      > terre ? la lune and Le Tour du monde en
      > quatre-vingts jours available on this server. A wide
      > variety of public domain French-language documents
      > are published on the Web by L'Association des
      > bibliophiles Universels.
      >
      >   As you're reading, keep that little translation
      > dictionary at hand. Every time you hit a stumper,
      > look it up. (Or if you're reading with a workstation
      > running DICTOOL at hand, use it; it's a lot faster).
      > Before long you'll find yourself exclaiming, "Gee,
      > it's been pages and pages since I looked anything
      > up, and then you'll be well on your way to mastering
      > the basic vocabulary.
      >
      >
      >   d.. Listen for comprehension
      >   Language learning consists of a sequence of
      > painfully-achieved milestones. I found that being
      > able to read the language readily--in other words,
      > knowing enough vocabulary and grammar to be able to
      > understand printed text without constantly having to
      > look words up and puzzle out sentence structure, is
      > only the first step. Learning to hear the language
      > is a related, yet largely independent skill. You
      > have to understand the words, of course, but
      > memorising the whole bloody dictionary won't help if
      > you can't tell what words somebody is saying.
      > Constant practice is the only way to acquire this
      > skill. If you're living in the US, about all you can
      > do is watch French In Action and work through the
      > Champs-Elys?es tapes as they arrive every month. If
      > you're living in a Francophone area, take advantage
      > of every opportunity to hear the language--tune the
      > radio to talk programs when you're in the car, watch
      > the TV news every night, catch the latest Hollywood
      > movies in dubbed editions, and listen to people
      > talking to one another on the street. This is the
      > language as she is spoke, not as she is writ, and
      > you gotta hear it to learn it. You'll probably find
      > this a painfully slow process. But after a year or
      > so, you'll be amazed at your progress.
      >
      >
      >   e.. Speak up
      >   Once you can read books and newspapers almost as
      > fast as you read your native tongue, and you can
      > follow a political discussion on the radio while
      > driving through crowded traffic without difficulty,
      > then you're ready to discover that you're still in
      > the starting gate at the eloquence track, as it
      > were, when it comes to actually speaking the
      > language.
      >
      >   Summoning up the right word at the instant you
      > need it, assembling words into sentences in the
      > proper order, and matching all the subjects,
      > adjectives, objects, verb numbers and tenses and all
      > the other details of a strongly-typed language is
      > yet another difficult-to-acquire skill.
      >
      >   And if you really want to master it, I can't help
      > you very much because I'm still struggling with this
      > phase myself (although I should note that I don't
      > consider myself a particularly articulate speaker of
      > extemporaneous conversational English). The basic
      > fact is this: if you want to learn to speak a
      > language, as opposed to read it or listen to it,
      > you're going to have to pack up and move to
      > someplace they speak that language, plunge in, and
      > start getting things done in that language. No
      > exercise, no course, and no trick that I know of
      > will do it. Neurons get programmed by being used,
      > and once you've struggled to express something like
      > "light socket" to the guy in the hardware store and
      > suddenly his face lights up and he exclaims, "une
      > douille!", that term will get burned into your
      > repertoire.
      >
      >
      >   f.. Nasty habits
      >   I've found that once you get the language learning
      > circuit going, you can reinforce it in many ways. As
      > you walk around the house or office, try to name all
      > the objects you see in the language you're learning
      > and remember to look up the ones that stump you. Try
      > to use what would otherwise be downtime: driving to
      > work, making dinner, performing triple bypass
      > surgery on the cat, to reinforce your listening
      > skills; keep the radio or TV on or, if you're in the
      > US, use Champs-Elys?es or French In Action for
      > practice.
      >
      >   And finally, here's the nastiest habit of all, one
      > that combines both the acquisition of language
      > skills with a diversion from that bane of modern
      > existence, endless, boring business meetings. You
      > need to work yourself quite a way up the learning
      > curve before you can kick this in, but once you get
      > there it's like lighting the afterburner halfway
      > down the runway. The next time you're stuck in a
      > stuffy room, one hour into five or six hours of a
      > Very Important Action Item Resolution Meeting
      > focused on where the serial number should be printed
      > on the disc label and all of the cataclysmic
      > implications of any change on the global community
      > of humans obsessed with serial number formats, just
      > smile, lean back, and...translate.
      >
      >   Imagine you're one of those people in the booth at
      > the United Nations, carefully rendering the
      > discourse of the Fifth Undersecretary for Propriety
      > of the New Zealand Delegation in the acrimonious
      > debate on the Convention To Denounce Nastiness As A
      > Means Of Resolving Conflicts into the language
      > you're learning. Translate, and as you do, note down
      > on the pad in front of you the words that stump you.
      > Everybody will think you're making careful notes of
      > the momentous decisions being "taken" at the
      > meeting, and since the words you note down will be
      > the tricky ones, your scribblings will probably be
      > more useful to recall the details of the meeting
      > than the gibberish all the other potatoes in the
      > room are scratching down.
      >
      >   Then, when you finally escape, go look up the
      > words that baffled you in your little translation
      > dictionary or with DICTOOL, and write out the
      > translations on the page. I don't know why, but
      > searching for a word and coming up empty, then
      > looking it up shortly thereafter and writing it down
      > seems to burn it into the brain more effectively
      > than any other way I've found.
      >
      >
      >   g.. "Have I ever failed?"
      >   Remember this mantra of the survival language
      > learner. Better yet, translate it into French and
      > remember that! For if your goal is to live in a
      > French-speaking culture and conduct your day to day
      > life in that language, then the only real criterion
      > for success is success itself--can you, in fact, get
      > along in that language? At the start, you'll be
      > short of skills and confidence and things will be a
      > little rocky. And you will continue to grind your
      > teeth every time you mis-conjugate a verb, blow an
      > adjective agreement, or fail to come up with a noun
      > that's "right on the tip of your tongue". And that
      > irritation will probably last the rest of your life.
      > But after a month or so, think about this: once
      > you've rented an apartment, bought a car, arranged
      > for insurance, opened a bank account, ordered a
      > turkey for Christmas, gotten the oil tank refilled,
      > etc., etc. and never had a real disaster (you know,
      > disaster: like having a ton of steer manure dumped
      > in your neighbour's yard), then every time the
      > molars start gnashing, just ask, "Have I ever
      > failed?"...failed to get done what I set out to do,
      > without having to find somebody who speaks English?
      > And as long as you haven't failed, then you're
      > succeeding--succeeding in living your life in a
      > language you didn't grow up speaking--a skill that
      > the vast majority of humans on this planet never
      > acquire or even attempt. And as the days and weeks
      > pass, "never failing" will mature into "success" and
      > then "proficiency". Then you can start on German.
      >
      >
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > by John Walker
      >
      >
      >



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    • James Chung
      No thanks but thanks. I m not an idiot. LOL! ... === message truncated === __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Shopping - with
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 1, 2003
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        No thanks but thanks. I'm not an idiot. LOL!

        --- G A <aguf2001@...> wrote:
        > How about the book 'Complete Idiot guide to French
        > Learning'. It has words and pronounications.
        >
        > -GA
        >
        > Ravi Rao <mail@...> wrote:
        > -- Begin fwd'ed msg --
        >
        > > Resources for Learning French
        > >
        > >
        >
        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > > This is a summary of resources I've found useful
        > in
        > > learning French in order to survive in Neuch?tel.
        > > The selection of resources is slanted explicitly
        > > toward the goal of survival: mastering the
        > language
        > > sufficiently to be able to buy a car, read the
        > > newspaper, get your furnace repaired, and all the
        > > other fun-filled components of day-to-day life.
        > From
        > > that base, you can proceed to a deeper
        > understanding
        > > of the literary language and more effective ways
        > of
        > > expressing yourself but it doesn't make sense to
        > > worry about such refinements until you're able to
        > > warn that pesky neighbour kid that if he rings
        > your
        > > doorbell one more time and runs away, you'll tear
        > > off his fingers and toes and feed them to your
        > > vicious dog.
        > > French in Action
        > > French In Action is a video-based course created
        > by
        > > Pierre Capretz of Yale University. This course is
        > so
        > > excellent it almost justifies the invention of
        > > television. I know of no better way to so rapidly
        > > obtain a knowledge of day-to-day French.
        > > French in Action is focused around 52 half-hour
        > > video lessons which assume no prior knowledge of
        > the
        > > language. The course starts in French from the
        > first
        > > instant, and is built around a story that involves
        > > the kinds of day to day activities that are often
        > > neglected in literary-oriented language courses.
        > > Don't expect to find a lot of verb conjugation and
        > > noun-adjective agreement exercises here; the goal
        > is
        > > developing an instinct for what "sounds right",
        > just
        > > as children do as they learn their first language.
        > > You may feel like an idiot when you bungle such
        > > details, but the fact is you can mess up genders,
        > > adjectival forms, and much of verb conjugation and
        > > still be understood perfectly well on the street.
        > >
        > > French In Action plunges right into colloquial
        > > Parisian French, spoken full speed. The first time
        > > through you'll probably miss about 90% at first
        > > hearing. The second time, you'll get about half,
        > and
        > > by the third time you'll understand almost
        > > everything. Your very progress provides strong
        > > reinforcement as you follow the course.
        > >
        > > The course consists of the 52 video segments, a
        > > textbook which consists largely of transcripts of
        > > the videos with explanations, and a workbook and
        > set
        > > of audio cassettes that focus on structure,
        > grammar,
        > > and pronunciation skills.
        > >
        > > If you're too busy to work through the more
        > > schooldays-like components, you can misuse French
        > In
        > > Action to build your skills almost painlessly.
        > Just
        > > pick a 30 minute time period every day and work
        > your
        > > way through the videos from number 1 through
        > number
        > > 52, one per day. When you get to the end, go back
        > to
        > > the beginning and start over again. Repeat until
        > you
        > > understand perfectly and have ceased to improve.
        > > (Mustn't leave you like the programmer found
        > starved
        > > in the shower clutching a bottle of shampoo with
        > > instructions: "Lather, rinse, repeat".)
        > >
        > > French In Action is published by the organisations
        > > listed at the end of this section. The textbook,
        > > study guides, audio cassettes, and other student
        > > material are available in many college bookstores;
        > > the last time I checked, San Francisco area
        > > residents could obtain them at the College of San
        > > Mateo bookstore. The video cassettes are
        > distributed
        > > separately by the Annenberg/CPB project, in a dumb
        > > format (two half-hour segments per VHS
        > cassette--if
        > > you insist on standard play you could fit four per
        > > tape and twelve in six-hour mode, which would
        > reduce
        > > the number of cassettes from twenty-six to five)
        > at
        > > a mindboggling price: more than US$600. This
        > > notwithstanding the fact that French In Action has
        > > been broadcast by numerous Public Broadcasting
        > > System stations in the US for years, and anybody
        > > with an antenna and a VCR is perfectly free to
        > make
        > > their own tapes of the video portion of the
        > course.
        > > In fact, some PBS stations have held all-night
        > > taping marathons of French In Action, aimed
        > entirely
        > > at folks who want to make their own set of tapes.
        > > Now while you're perfectly free to tape anything
        > > broadcast on TV for your own use, it's still
        > > probably a federal crime to run off a copy for a
        > > friend. Go figure.
        > >
        > > [French In Action: Textbook, Workbook, Study
        > Guide,
        > > Instructor's Guide, Audio cassettes: Yale
        > University
        > > Press, 92-A Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520,
        > USA.
        > > ISBN 0-300-03655-8 (Textbook). Video cassettes,
        > > Faculty manual: Annenberg/CPB Project, 1111
        > > Sixteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA,
        > Tel:
        > > 1-800-LEARNER.]
        > >
        > > Conversational French in 20 Lessons
        > > If you go out and buy this "Cortina Method"
        > > self-study book and open it up for the first time,
        > > you'll probably think I've taken leave of my
        > senses
        > > to recommend this course. First of all, the book
        > was
        > > written in 1954 and has not changed much since.
        > It's
        > > filled with little tacky line art period
        > > illustrations that date it (actually, I'd have
        > > guessed late Forties). Ignoring the anachronistic
        > > layout and content, however, any of three aspects
        > of
        > > this course make it well worth your time.
        > > First, each of the 20 lessons is simple and can
        > > easily be read through in half an hour. Each
        > builds
        > > vocabulary and conversational skills as you go.
        > > Second, grammar is taught in a very effective
        > > manner--by English-language footnotes keyed to the
        > > French-language material in the lessons. Each time
        > a
        > > new grammatical construct appears, a footnote
        > > introduces it and provides a simplified
        > explanation
        > > of the principle involved. I've found this a
        > > remarkably painless and effective way to
        > assimilate
        > > grammar. Third, the last 135 pages of the book
        > > contain an exhaustively detailed and well-written
        > > reference on French grammar that's worth the
        > modest
        > > price of the book by itself. You can find much
        > > classier French courses, but this one works.
        > > [Cortina, R., and Alden, D., Conversational French
        > > in 20 Lessons , New York: Henry Holt,
        > > 1954-1962-1977. ISBN 0-8327-0011-8.]
        > >
        > > Champs-Elys?es
        > > Once you've come to terms with the basic
        > vocabulary
        > > and grammar of a language, you're only at the
        > start
        > > of a long process of learning how the language is
        > > actually spoken colloquially and of learning to
        > hear
        > > the language. Spoken language has much less
        > > information bandwidth than the printed page and
        > > contains much more ambiguity which must be
        > resolved,
        > > in real time, by context. Consider, for example,
        > > that in French the words:
        > > tu you (familiar form)
        > > tu/tue past participle of the verb se taire
        > > tout all
        > > tue kill (1st & 3rd person singular
        > present)
        > >
        > > will probably sound exactly alike to a novice, and
        >
        === message truncated ===


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      • clairvoyant316
        That Idiot s Guide is a book good *IF/ONLY IF* they include a CD ROM or some sort to practice the pronunciation. Have you guys visited misc.immigration.canada
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 1, 2003
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          That Idiot's Guide is a book good *IF/ONLY IF* they include a CD ROM
          or some sort to practice the pronunciation.

          Have you guys visited misc.immigration.canada lately?
          Look under the heading "got Quebec interview date, timeline is.."

          I am really concerned about "the French requirement".
          I put 1 on my French skill and I know the very LITTLE basic
          conversation and grammar.
          Gosh....what a hard language to learn...:)


          --- In immigrationquebec@yahoogroups.com, James Chung
          <chungosaurus@y...> wrote:
          > No thanks but thanks. I'm not an idiot. LOL!
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.