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on January 20, 2011
First, let me point out right up front you need to have not only this workbook, but also the Audio CD, and the video to make this course really work. It's a very hefty investment, but if you really REALLY want or need to learn French, this course is by far the best, and I have used an awful lot of them. (You can get the videos for free online, but you really still should have the Audio CDs. They are crucial for the oral production part.)

Let me tell you my story, and my recommended path for the person learning French, starting from absolute scratch.

I found out, a year or so in advance, I was going to be moved to France. I had learned some Modern Greek a while back using a Pimsleur course, and I liked it, so I started by getting the French I Pimsleur course. They are expensive, but they are good, especially if you are starting from nothing. I did all three Pimsleurs (there may be four of them now, but I'm not sure) which cost a fortune, but really helped me get started. But frankly, even after all three sets, the Pimsleur course still leaves you as a complete beginner in many ways. Their real strength is in oral production, a major weakness of most other courses.

After I finished the Pimsleur courses, I needed something to keep the momentum going. I tried a few random courses here and there, most of which were pathetic and then I stumbled upon French in Action on the web. There are 52 1/2 hour "episodes" of this (all of which you can find free on the web.) I thought they were great. Then I found out that they were just the tip of the "French in Action" iceberg of material. There is a textbook, workbooks, and (in my mind, most importantly) the audio CDs. These were the perfect second step after Pimsleur. I bought all the stuff for a ton of money, and I have never regretted it. I moved to France and I was able to not only survive, but really do quite well. Was my French perfect? God no. I made all sorts of crazy mistakes. But... in one year's time, I was able to survive my relocation.

After FIA you still have a ton of work to do to become fluent. The long trudge of vocabulary acquisition is the hardest part. I ended up getting all the Harry Potter books in French and on Audio CD and that has helped a lot. I read the French online newspapers, and I watch and listen to French news programs (France 24, France Info, Le Journal en Français Facile among others.) I also subscribe to the DailyFrenchPod by Louis. His podcast is wonderful for learning new words.

So if you have the resources (and I'm not pretending it's not a lot of money here, it is) the best way to learn French from stratch (IMHO) is:
1) Do all the Pimsleur courses.
2) Do all of French in Action (and don't skimp on the Audio CDs and books).
3) Start listening and reading french books, newspapers, podcasts, talking to french people, etc.
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on March 27, 2010
I purchased this workbook as it was required for the class (Fr 180 - Beginning French). Of course, alone this workbook is of no help, but it works quite well with the textbook of the same author. It, actually, expands the lectures of the textbooks and elaborates on many of its topics. Overall, it is a good buy for those who is determined "to conquer" French and start communicating ASAP.
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VINE VOICEon August 22, 2008
French in Action: A Beginning Course in language and Culture, Second Edition: Workbook, Part 1 (Yale Language Series)

I wanted to learn French and selected the Capretz Method - French in Action as a beginning course in language and culture. The workbook is essential, but it must be stressed that to learn effectively, you also need the audio tapes and the videos. They are often available on the air or in the library, however, you need to study them more than one time through to pick up language nuances.

Each lesson consists of a 10 minute story (American boy meets French girl - cute story, adds interest), then an explanation by Professor Capretz. The workbook is divided into chapters and each chapter has a section on aural comprehension, oral production where you play the part of a character, and a question and answer segment on the above. Several additional study topics are covered, including a written practice where you write a short exchange between the two characters.

This is an immersion course and as such, is one of the best, but as I mentioned, the workbook is only one part of the course. I also urge you to pick up the Study Guide which guides you through the course. The course is not inexpensive, but very effective with all the tools.

Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon May 15, 2007
Used in combination with the audio materials, this course promises so much more than the usual (colors, numbers, basic greetings, etc.), and places a strong emphasis on pronunciation and idioms. You finish with a useful knowledge of French--the kind people actually speak. Comprehension is difficult at first because the speakers talk at a normal pace without overemphasizing the words, but it is this technique that leaves one able to know what people are saying without having them slow down.

As for the method of delivery--it's fun! The textbook follows a narrative structure, specifically a story about Robert, an American student in France, and Mireille, a young and witty student at the famed Sorbonne in Paris. There is love, mystery, and lots of important cultural information on the way, as well as an underlying humor that made our class laugh quite often. I recommend it highly for use in a class, and if you are willing to dish out the cash, for independent study as well. It has everything you need to gain a firm grounding in French language, culture, and idioms.

While the workbook is not crucial to the program, it helps practice written skills that might otherwise get neglected. It also goes well with certain audio activities and reinforces the material.
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on April 10, 2014
The French in Action series is a great tool for learning French. The series is a little dated nowadays, but the themes are still relevant and the immersion from the very start is a great way to learn.
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on August 11, 2013
This workbook is good to use with the FIA audio program. When I bought it, I thought I could skip the audio and just do the workbook and watch the videos. Then I found out a lot of the workbook requires the audio and was saddened because I didn't want to spend anymore money. I found the audio online torrent for free so I was way happier, then I found out the audio is super helpful and a good component that is not to be missed.
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on December 10, 2012
This is a great text that follows the videos, which are available on you tube. A great tool to learn at your own pace. The book is equivalent to one year of college french.
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VINE VOICEon March 27, 2010

1)This program has great comprehensible input.

2)The videos are entertaining, it is tied into the communicative approach, not the grammar method.

3)It uses no English.


1)It may be rather difficult for someone who hasn't had a few semesters of French. You may struggle with this psychologically.

2)I am not sure if this a con or not. However, I would say you would have to watch the video more than once.
Read the transcript of the video more than once. Listen to the audio more than once. It could take a lot of your time. However, If you've done French 102 already you should be able to handle this.

3)The program can be rather expensive.

Frankly, I have refined a lot of my knowledge of the French language using this. I don't think it's very good for self-study for someone who hasn't finished at least 2 semesters of French. That's my guess. Otherwise, you will struggle. Don't expect yourself to just be in a race to finish the 52 videos. Even if you're advanced take your time. Refine what you know. Even if it takes you about a year or more to get through them, so be it. This program requires patience. I've only gone through about 17 videos out of 52. I am making my comments after having gone through that much of it. I do not have a ton of spare time. I expect to go through another 7 videos
over the summer. I am not in a hurry.
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on May 30, 2003
I bought this book because I started watching the TV show on PBS. When I found out there was a book that went with it I was thrilled. I took French in High School and wanted to brush up. It was too hard keeping track of the show without this book but together they make a great combination.
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on September 23, 2010
FIA is great because it is learning the language through immersion right into it. The workbook is very thorough with great exercises.
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