Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
If you stick with this until the end of the course book
on June 4, 2005
you *can* get a working knowledge of the French language.
I wouldn't recommend the Living Language series as the be all and end all of language instruction. This is a definite beginner/refresher course, designed to familiarize the person with basic everyday expressions, the alphabet, numbers, cognates (words that are similar in French and English), and so on.
The main point of language instruction is memorization - something we all had to do in elementary school all those years ago. I understand the majority of the reviewers' gripe about the series not putting what you've learned to use. I echo that sentiment in wishing that this series would include more exercises other than match this expression with the correct answer.
It may seem a bit empty to just have a native speaker reading off a list of the alphabet, numbers, and everything else in the course book but to hear a native speaker pronouncing the language is key. If you can pick up from that person the way words in that language are pronounced, chances are pretty good that you can be understood by native speakers when you do your own pronounciation.
Language instruction is different for everyone. If you have the time and the money, perhaps a course at the local community college will do (although those tend to be immersion courses - where the instructor starts right in with the language whether you understand it or not) or you could go to the local French society for some classes. In Philadelphia, we are fortunate to have the Alliance Francaise de Philadelphie that offers French language courses. They are a bit expensive (for members and non-members) but the teachers are directly from France. Can't beat that!
Treat the Living Language series as a primer for more in-depth language instruction.