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on July 9, 2008
This is the first French language product that has been an effective tool for me to actually learn French. I've taken local classes, used Rosetta Stone, and purchased Smart French audio CDS. Yes...I am an old dog and its very hard for me to learn new tricks. Pimsleur was effective because of the reviews that occur throughout the audio set. You just don't memorize it one time and then never hear it again. The next session builds on the previous session with a some "new material" and by the end you've built a "small" but effective vocabulary. I also learned specific language rules that were omitted or assumed common knowledge in my French class. I understand that other users may want a written book or guide. However, I've found that with French, it is better NOT to know how the word is spelled because it doesn't sound anything like the way it's spelled. It's definitely better to learn the correct pronounciation FIRST. I highly recommend this audio series. It was much more effective than the Smart French Audio CDs.
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on September 11, 2006
This is a fantastic product, and one of the best ways to really get an early handle on grammar, and an outstanding way to practice speaking and pronounciation at any level. However, please do not do not get disapointed when you don't speak perfect French in 8 hours. This will give you basic tools to build on, but then you need to spend some time in a French country, or take several years of university classes.

When considering the investment in a foriegn language, consider that it may take 1000 hours (for an extremely easy language like French) to feel very comfortable in the language. That's one hour of serious study each day for three years. Or you can go sit in a Parisian cafe and talk to people who are willing to tutor you (extremely hard to find without some pretty good skills to start with) and you might get there in a few months.

I like this product because it's the very best available for naturally teaching you the grammar basics and for helping you to build the core vocabulary (stuff like and, but, or, many, few, the, a, an, whowhatwhenwherewhy), the core language structure (negation, word order), and it's outstanding for it's ability to teach language sounds...

A side willing to sleep between lesson times. Something happens when you sleep, and you'll be better at it by the next lesson. That's why it's important to do this every single day, so that you have the maximum number of study-sleep cycles.
33 comments281 of 297 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2013
For my POSITIVE COMMENTS, please refer to my separate review of PIMSLEUR FRENCH that I posted under the COMPREHENSIVE version of this language programme. You should be aware that the "abbreviated" versions of this otherwise excellent programme were introduced by Simon & Schuster as a LOW-PRICED TEASER, in an effort to entice you to purchase the infinitely more complete COMPREHENSIVE courses. However, the "abbreviated" versions contain nothing more than the first few lessons of the "comprehensive" versions. So, if you purchase these low-priced teasers and then purchase the Comprehensive-I package, you will have paid for the first 8 or 16 lessons twice. Believe me, if you purchase the abbreviated version, you WILL be enticed! So, do yourself a favour and simply purchase the Comprehensive-I package. I have given the low-priced teaser 2 stars, not because of the quality, but rather to direct you to the more complete programme. Take a quick look at my full review under the COMPREHENSIVE version!
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on March 17, 2008
Pimsleur's Conversational French CDs are very easy to use and convenient. We keep them in the car because we are there often. Everyone joins in repeating the phrases. Most of the sentences are ones that you would use in getting about a French speaking area. However, I would have liked having a written booklet with it, because it is difficult to determine b or v and some other pronunciations. On the whole I feel it is worth the reasonable we paid for it. The lessons progress from one to the other so that there is a continuity in learning.
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on January 14, 2009
Let's be frank or in this case, French. There is no 'instant conversation' as in, "Voila! Now you are gifted with an immediate understanding. Go forth and communicate." The fact is you have to put in some real effort and study to reach a reasonable level of proficiency. I know, because I speak a number of languages poorly but thanks to Pimsleur CDs I'm probably less irritating to waiters, shop keepers and hotel staff in French and German. I'm dang near certain they chuckle less too!
The CDs cover ample basics and if you transfer the discs into your I-POD or plug them into your car you can play them and do the exercises until you get a working understanding going. If you're riding the train or bus you may get a few strange looks from your fellow commuters or say, learn a few new helpful phrases, like swear words I picked up from a fellow commuter. 'You never know when you might need it,' he said.
The CDs provide good value for what you get and are a good learning tool too. But as I said, you'll need to invest some time and effort to get that 'instant understanding.' Take the time. The better we communicate, the better we inevitably become.
A shame though the CDs don't teach you to sneer.
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on September 1, 2009
Pimsleur language programs are really good, and Conversational French is no different. This is an easy way (with repeated listenings) to learn a bit of another language. It won't make you fluent, but it will give you a familiarity with a language, its vocabulary and pronunciation, that will give you some confidence in using it.
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on January 29, 2009
The conversations are brilliant along with the drill. However there is no written transcripts for you to verify the spellings or the subtleties of pronunciation, and very often the tense changes with a minor twist in pronunciation, which our non french ears may not be able to decipher. Considering the high cost of the package the company should have included the transcripts, maybe in a soft form.

The other thing is that grammar is not really explained during the course. Its more rote learning. I would strongly recommend the 10 CD Michel Thomas method along with the Advanced course. Not only are the transcripts there, but the tenses and grammar are explained very well, as well as its far cheaper.
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on June 8, 2010
This is a good program, like all the Pimsleur products. However, I don't think it is as good as either Spanish or Italian. It is more limited in the way French is expressed in conversation.

This product is designed to get you to respond automatically in conversational situations it covers. It is not designed to give you much of a vocabulary or grammar, so a rating should not be penalized for not including them. Many other products give you what Pimsleur lacks, and are readily available on Amazon. I suggest Living Language products for vocabulary, situations, good pronunciation.
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on August 14, 2012
I finished this 'conversational French' lesson and all I've done is learn how to get someone to come back to my hotel. The learning tool is great in theory, however, it doesn't teach you much besides, "would you like to have some wine at my place?". It gets kind of weird after a while when the woman starts teaching you how to say, "sir, you don't understand me. I don't want to have a drink with you or go back to your place later." I definitely picked up on the language, but I also learned how to pick up on a stranger, which isn't something I was hoping to take away from this lesson for my upcoming trip for my wedding anniversary. It's a decent learning tool and maybe I would have been more satisfied if I bought the whole French package...possibly I would have learn more. But when I finished this set, I felt like I wasted time learning useless phrases. I would have preferred a more traveler-friendly version, not creepy-pick-up version. But in all honesty, the teaching technique is great and I learned everything that was taught on the discs. Maybe content review should be performed by Mr Paul Pimsleur. Unless it's a French thing...
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on August 23, 2007
Pimsleur's products are excellent. The CDs provide the very thorough repetition and drill necessary to begin building real converstional/listening skills. I've used Pimsleur to garner "travel fluency" in both French and Spanish. While I've continued studying French, I still ocassionally revisit the Spanish discs to review before travel.

I've tried various beginner's listening CDs. Pimleur's are by far the best. They are an excellent first step.
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