Customer Review

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars travel bias, June 12, 2011
This review is from: Learn French: Fluenz French 1+2+3+4+5 for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad & Android phones (DVD-ROM)
One issue with this product - great as it is - is the very strong bias toward travel situations. Not all of us are learning French for that purpose. And in forcing that frame onto all customers, the company makes an otherwise-great product less useful. A product that's advertised as teaching a language should do precisely that - as opposed to teaching it for a particular purpose. This was fine in levels 1-3, but I'm on level-5 right now, and it's still travel-focused.

On specifics: one thing that irritates the heck out of me is the "write the phrase you hear" section. Specifically, the sentences (at least at this level) are very long. Which means that no sooner has your brain recognized one section of the sentence, and begun to write it down, that the recording continues with the rest of the sentence. And you lose track of what you had begun to write down. There's no way to start or stop it at mid point. At that point, it has nothing to do with learning or comprehension - the phrases are repetitions of a translation section earlier in each module, and even things one has translated perfectly without help or trouble become impossible to write down. It's purely about short-term memory. I'm a native English speaker, and I wouldn't even be able to do this in English--holding long sentences in my mind as the recording continues to blather on, and transcribing every word perfectly, without spelling mistakes.

Seems like a design flaw to me. And it's fixable - breaking the phrases down into parts would not, it seems to me, detract from the overall beauty of the program. (And again, despite the flaws, it really is the best learning experience out there).
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 30, 2011 9:53:00 AM PDT
Tricia says:
I'm learning French with the Fluenz program and I really love it. It's effective and it's fun. I really like the way the material is presented, and the way the lessons build on each other.

I don't have the problem with the section "Write the phrase you hear" that krakatoa seems to. It doesn't give you a long sentence to begin with. It gives you five phrases/sentences, one at a time. They build on each other. So the first one might say, in French, 'you know". You type that. The screen clears and the next phrase you hear, in French, is "Do you know", and you type that. The screen clears and the third phrase is "Do you know what you want to eat?". All of these are phrases come directly from the lesson you're working on. The 4th sentence will be a variation substituting other words from vocabulary you've had. The fifth sentence will be another variation on it. Because the phrases/sentences build it's not as if you were being presented with a long sentence immediately.

I think it works best not to start typing until you've heard the whole phrase/sentence. You can play the audio over and over until you understand it. Then when you're ready, start typing. If, at any point, you forget part of the phrase/sentence, just mouse click the "play' button and the phrase/sentence will repeat without interfering with what you've already typed. You can click "play" as many times as you need to. Type two words, click 'play", type two more words, click "play", etc. If I've typed the whole sentence and the program doesn't accept it as correct, I'll click "play" and read what I've typed, as the phrase/sentence repeats, to find my mistake. And if you still can't figure out where you're wrong, you can click "answer" and, below your typing box, you'll see the phrase/sentence correctly typed. At that point, while looking at the answer, you can retype the sentence correctly.

I think this section works very well, and I enjoy it very much. It really helps with listening comprehension.

I know at times I get frustrated and say to the program "don't speak so quickly" because it can be hard to pick out individual words. But that's French - they run it all together. You need to train your ear. As you progress with the program and learn more it gets easier to "pick out the words".

I have found it very helpful to repeat lessons. Do a few and then repeat those. Or do all the lessons up to a review session and then start over. Or if a particular lesson was hard, repeat the whole lesson before moving on. There's a lot to absorb in these lessons and repeating them can really help. And it will be encouraging when a lesson that gave you problems the first time you did it is now much easier. You'll see your progress.

I definitely recommend the Fluenz French program. I give it 5 stars.
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