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French for Reading

65 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0133316032
ISBN-10: 0133316033
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Programmed text for acquisition of reading skills for courses beginning or rapid review.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133316033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133316032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 194 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on September 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully structured book for teaching yourself to read French (not to write or speak French). It's weirdly expensive, and it needs updating, but it's great anyway. I needed to prepare for a translation exam required by my doctoral program, with a background of a year of French in the seventh grade and enough Spanish and Latin to have a feel for Romance languages. I used this book, making vocabulary flash cards along the way, and I passed my exam.

A tip for choosing a French/English dictionary suitable for beginners: See if there's an entry for "eu" ("had") that at least refers you to "avoir" ("to have"). If there isn't, find another dictionary--one that doesn't assume you know things like entirely irregular past participles.
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129 of 131 people found the following review helpful By J. Holt on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...I can't imagine being in a class to learn French for reading -- you can do it all by yourself with this book -- save yourself tuition money and go for it.
I just passed my department's reading exam in French -- like other people mention, the book prepares you for multiple fields of readings (mine was in Japanese Literature) -- I used this book entirely to get me through it.
Forget Jean-Pierre and Marie -- this book has real documents and stories in French -- no generic contexts. Students of Literature will probably enjoy this book not only for the skills, but also the reading selection (you're reading Hugo, Baudelaire, Bergson, Rousseau in the original!). Students of history and science, have no fear -- there's good stuff for you too.
How I prepared for my exam: I read the book, but halfway through I went back and did daily review of previous chapters as I progressed -- things like the French subjunctive, imperfect tenses, etc are hard to grasp, but a little review and you'll comfortable with it. Vocabulary cards and a thorough review of theFalse Cognates at the back of the book are a must. After about 2 months of daily work (about 2-4 hours a day), I was able to read articles in my field with little difficulty. Bon chance!
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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Maria B on October 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Regarding using this book to help with speaking: This book has nothing about pronunciation, so if you care about speaking I recommend learning general spelling and pronunciation rules beforehand, so you have an idea of how to read this stuff aloud properly in case you find yourself inadvertently doing so. I had had some French in school, but I also listened to all three levels of Pimsleur French, which I found helpful for pronunciation practice. I would also recommend Pronounce It Perfectly in French for good spelling/pronunciation instruction.
But that's a different matter from how great this book is. I found it particularly wonderful because of the little guarantee on the back--that it covers all aspects of French grammar as required for overseas French schools. I got the feeling that after I had mastered this book, I wouldn't have to worry about running across some huge and surprising gap in my body of French knowledge. So far, that has held true.
This book is pretty hardcore, and I found it hard to be motivated to study it without having some concrete goal--mine was a trip to France. I had always eschewed reading, claiming I only cared about speaking--but I have realized that as an adult, it's much easier to pick up grammar quickly by reading, and since reading is easier than speaking/understanding, it gives you an early basis for general confidence in the language.
So, with a goal in mind, I painstakingly went through this book in (I think it was) about two months, making sure I knew all covered vocabulary and grammar before moving on, and then reviewing earlier chapters as suggested in the book. I also used it in conjunction with Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach, another book which I have greatly appreciated.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By D. Hart on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book for anyone who needs to quickly learn enough French to reliably translate from written French to written English.

After one month of working through 15 to 20 pages a day, I passed the translation exam I need for my degree in art history--with NO prior background in French.

In fear and desperation I bought about 15 books: grammars, workbooks, etc. In the end this, and a dictionary, were all I needed. Forget reading a straight grammar; it's useless without exercises. And forget introductory style workbooks. They won't get you far enough fast enough.

If you are like me and can't stand the thought of wrote memorization, this book is particularly good. The exercises are perfectly calculated to repeat the right vocabularly enough times in the right order and contexts so that you learn it through use rather than memorization--as you would in an immersion program for speaking--only much more quickly.

I only wish comparable texts existed for German and Italian.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Hoosier on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had worked through another "Read French to Pass Your Doctoral Comp" text prior to discovering this book. The difference was night-and-day. Other books can get you over the "hump" of your graduate reading exam. But they do little else: One learns from them to "decode" French. But if you want to learn to *read* the language--and if you are a beginner, as I was--you will need to learn grammar and to drill. This book has it all.

After working through this book, I was able to read French-language books and articles in my area (history and international relations), and to use these sources in research for my book. The "decoding" method was too frustrating for me, since my pace was snail-like, or escargot-like, perhaps. Now I can read at a decent pace, without fear of making frequent errors in translation.

French is not a "hard" language, in the way that the other languages that I need for my research are "hard." But I would say don't be fooled. It is a very subtle language. The placement of the "que" in a "ne . . . que" phrase can make a tremendous amount of difference. If you really need to read French, this is a wonderful book.

Regarding other reviewers' comments: I think that it is worth the price. As another reviewer put it, you can use this book in place of a reading course and save money. Besides, reading courses often use this book, so you may end up buying it anyway. Finally, I didn't find that I was able to work through it as quickly as some others on this site. It took me about four months. But I am very slow at learning languages, so, as they say, actual results may vary.
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