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Learning French!

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Learning French!

Postby Philosophia » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:46 am

Hey everyone, I've recently begun learning Latin and I'm using Wheelock's text to assist me. Along with Latin I've been learning French, and although I'm not sure it's good to be doing two languages at the same time, I'd really like a text to assist me with this too. I know this is a Latin and Greek forum, but I'm sure some of you speak French and if you can recommend a solid text for learning I'd be very appreciative.
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Re: Learning French!

Postby pster » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:57 am

I have no idea what is a good book for beginners. My thinking these days is that a lot of them are pretty bad and so I would proceed with a lot of caution. There is a good web site for beginners however: http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/index.html
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Re: Learning French!

Postby cb » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:22 pm

hi, i would recommend any materials that have audio - there's no perfect book, just dive in asap. it will take a long time and what will help you most is (i found) a burning sense that you are running out of time and so need to commit yourself to it completely for the time you have available for it, like how you felt before an exam you were preparing for (i used to count the hours i had left before it started, and try to work out what i could get done in the time) and then -- if your motivation starts to drop later, you get to chapter 8 or whatever and then it starts to drop away, you stop picking up the book -- try to identify what it was concretely that made you want to start the language in the first place (even if it's just watching a french movie, reading a french book, whatever) and keep using that trigger again to get back on track.... i use this all the time, weak-willed and capricious minds like mine are easy to goad into action like that :)

if you tend to only get half-way through books or projects, get the shortest book on french that you can find (with audio), work through it all, then move up to a longer one, and so on.

it will take time but it is definitely doable. i went from taking a trip to paris, really liking it, starting french at alliance française (after having left uni), and now live and work in paris. cheers, chad
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Re: Learning French!

Postby pster » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:24 pm

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Re: Learning French!

Postby Philosophia » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:29 am

Thanks guys, I really like all the advice that you gave and the sites you supplied. Sorry to drag it on more, but do you think it would be a good idea if I got a small book of like grammar review and used that to learn the grammar. Then use that knowledge to do translations, kind of like a grammar-translation method of learning Latin or is that not as effective?
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Re: Learning French!

Postby cb » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:30 pm

hi, i think whatever works for you, just try it and if it doesn't work move on to the next thing. i went through grammars, exercise books, verb drill books, verb wheels, websites, etc etc. it's a whole language and so you can build up your language organically from lots of sources. translation isn't as ideal though, you might not know whether you are missing idiom in your translations - exercise books with answers in the back would be better for that i think. cheers, chad
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Re: Learning French!

Postby pster » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:06 pm

I also use the Lingoes dictionary software with a French-English dictionary and also Le Petit Robert French-French dictionary. I love it. I just mouse over and get instant quality translations.

http://www.lingoes.net/

Also, I doubt there is a better French-English dictionary that isn't double the size:

http://www.amazon.fr/Langenscheidts-Com ... eidt+urwin

And this is a great site for when you need to know all the vocabulary for a given domain. I used it recently for bicycles and toilet seats:

http://www.ikonet.com/fr/ledictionnairevisuel/

I would just work through that Tex site. It's got audio and exercises and gives you all the basics.

And if you have any tough questions, you can pose them over at the site all the translators use:

http://www.wordreference.com

Also, this is probably far and away the single best seller for learning French (verbs):

http://www.amazon.fr/Nouveau-Bescherell ... escherelle

And this guy has a great collection of videos in French on antiquity and later history:

http://www.youtube.com/user/goaouldosiris/videos
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Re: Learning French!

Postby juli » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:44 am

Philosophia wrote:Thanks guys, I really like all the advice that you gave and the sites you supplied. Sorry to drag it on more, but do you think it would be a good idea if I got a small book of like grammar review and used that to learn the grammar. Then use that knowledge to do translations, kind of like a grammar-translation method of learning Latin or is that not as effective?


What's effective really depends on how you learn. If the grammar-translation method of learning Latin is working well for you, then using that method for French is probably going to be effective as well. If you learn better hearing and speaking (to go to the other extreme and something not really practical for Latin) then getting the Pimsleur French tapes from the library may be the way to go.

It also matters what your goals for French are. If you want to go to Paris or Quebec and chat with people, you probably don't really care about grammar. If you want to be able to read the and understand French classics, one of the out of copyright French textbooks from archive.org that uses the grammar-translation method might be a better route.

Julie
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