Learn French: Fluenz French 1 for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad & Android Phones, Version 3
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- Get immediate digital access to the full program on your computer, iPhone, Android phone, and iPad WITHIN HOURS OF PURCHASE. Upon Amazon confirmation we’ll send you activation links so you can start Fluenz French right way (look for an Amazon email in your inbox within hours of purchase.
- Fluenz blends a video tutor who explains the workings of French for English-speakers along with tens thousands of interactive workouts. 30 sessions of up to two and one-half hours each -- the most comprehensive digital French 1 program.
- The program gets installed on your desktop, laptop, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or it can be accessed online, allowing you to seamlessly switch between devices—the program always knows where you left off.
- A realistic, achievable approach to fluency that is being used by the US Navy’s elite units, the UN and UNICEF, Fortune 500 companies, HBS and other leading universities.
- THIRD PARTY SELLERS DO NOT HAVE VERSION 3. THEY'RE SELLING OLDER OR COUNTERFEIT VERSIONS, which no longer work and are NOT supported by Fluenz Inc. Second-hand versions are also NOT supported.
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The Only Program Designed to Meet the Specific Needs of English-Speakers Learning French.
Our video tutorials will guide you every step of the way through issues which are not intuitive for English-speakers. We will show you how French works in a way you’ve never seen before.
By finally mastering difficult liaisons, feminine and masculine endings and similar issues you’ll be able to form your own sentences naturally to engage people in real interactions.
Instead of memorizing phrases without understanding how they work, our video tutorials break down French into the building blocks, one step at a time, in order to build your fluency.
Our path through French has been custom-built for English speakers, the opposite of programs that rely on matching of words and pictures without explanations in order to sell the same package in China, Spain, or the U.S.
Our Workout Platform has been Designed to Imprint French in your Brain
Fluenz engages all your senses by having you recording your own voice, reading, listening in order to improve comprehension, and writing in order to internalize content.
Our comprehensive French approach will immerse you in Francophone culture while you build your verbal fluency as you move from workout to workout.
Our emphasis on practice is paired with a permanent assessment of your progress across all devices, allowing you to know how you’re doing at all times.
Follow the Full Program on your Mac or PC, iPad, iPhone, Android Phone, or online.
Jump midway through sessions from your computer to your phone or your iPad without missing a beat. The tracking system knows where you left off so you can continue on the go.
As soon as Amazon confirms your purchase (which can take a few hours) we send you a code allowing you to download the program to your computer and to activate our apps for iPhone, Android phone, and iPad.
You will need internet access to activate the program and to download the sessions you want to work on. After initial download work seamlessly offline on any given devic
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That said, I would never buy this product again nor would I encourage others to do so.
I have had too many technical issues with this program and it simply is not worth my time or aggravation. The problems are too numerous to list but include login issues, missing items on the toolbar after several uses and most recently, the program telling me I did not activate it yet while all my progress in the lessons was deleted. To top it off, I wasn't even able to login to my French 1 program. I was only given the option to login to German, Italian or Spanish.
I know I am an older gentleman but I do have decent ability to work with technology. It was suggested by another user that replied to my post to forget about the tech issues because the content is the best. While I agree with the content being absolutely the best I have worked with, the aggravation and waste of my time trying to find solutions to the problem are not worth it. My time is priceless (as is everyone's) and better spent working in the lessons and not trying to fix the programming glitches. Fluenz needs to hire better or more competent programmers or better yet, test, test, and test the product until it is right. There has to be something better, technically, out there. If not, I may try a face to face class. I am just so dang frustrated. It's like having a Mercedes or BMW that won't start every time.
I should begin by saying that I'm Canadian, so I did, theoretically, pick up some French in school from Grades 4 to 9 - two hours per week of hell, basically. I didn't do very well in French class, and really couldn't put together even simple phrases before taking Flunez.
"Bonjour! Mange les pommes? Oui, merci!" That sort of "skill" level is what I had going in.
The program itself is nicely put together. Each lesson starts with a short introduction to the topics about to be covered (instructor banter), then moves into the conversation of the day (conversation), then a 5-10 minute lesson based on the conversation (instruction), then a barrage of exercises (application), ending with a sort of congratulatory message (instructor banter). Overall, each lesson takes me about an hour to complete on the first pass.
The instructor for the course is Sonia Gil. She is, by all reasonable measures, a pretty lady. However, I am not personally the sort to be swayed by such. The banter sections are fun and add a bit of personality to the course. Videoed Sonia always seems delighted to see me, and that is always a great pleasure. The banter sections make the course somewhat humanistic, to the point where I sometimes momentarily forget I'm sitting alone in my office, entranced by a brightly-lit screen. Seriously, I sometimes respond when she pauses between sentences. But, then again, I also talk to my dog, my exercise equipment, and my food at certain times.
The conversation of the day incorporates vocabulary from the previous lessons, as well as new stuff. I'd say the split is about 30/70. You're supposed to watch it thrice: once with English/French subtitles, once with French subtitles only, and once with no subtitles whatsoever. I like this setup. I generally will repeat what's being said and try my best to translate it to English on-the-fly. By the time I'm into the third round, the one with no subtitles, I can generally accurately understand and translate 75% of what was said, and I can always get the gist. Granted, each conversation is only about 7-12 lines, but we're aiming for utility, not quantity.
The conversations I've experienced so far are definitely aimed at travellers. Some reviewers have balked at this targeting. But, I don't really mind it because the conversations are, nonetheless, fairly realistic. They do what they're supposed to, showing the language in context. I mean, if you expect any programme to transform you into a fluent-speaker in a month, you should remember how long you've been going at English.
Anyhow, the conversations include such things as ordering dishes off menus, travelling in taxis, meeting workmates, all the sort of usual faff. All the audio seems to be provided by native Parisian speakers (I've asked my Québécois friend).
Some people dislike that, sometimes, the speakers pronounce the same words slightly differently. However, I kind of like this. It adds a realism component to the dialogue. Certainly, I don't expect everyone in France to speak with exactly the same pronunciation. I think it's better to be exposed to natural-sounding speech.
The conversation component is effective. Blows Rosetta Stone's "The boy is under the airplane" style phrases out of the water.
The lessons with Sonia are well done and fairly snazzy considering the territory; she often will flick away on-screen words before new ones materialise beside her. More importantly, the instruction is good. She goes through the conversation phrase-by-phrase, introducing relevant topics as they arise.
That said, Fluenz seems to focus on teaching you the I/you/he/she forms of verbs, which is fine, although it limits the number of phrases you could theoretically cobble together. They leave out some forms depending on the verb, and haven't yet introduced me to the informal "you" form at all. I understand why they did this, to get me up and running as quickly as possible. I assume they've choreographed the lessons so that I'm shown the things with the most utility first, as to cut down on confusion. Still, if I'd just been coming to French for the first time, I might've appreciated knowing that an informal "you" exists, even if it isn't handled right away.
A few reviewers have commented that the instruction moves either too slowly as a whole, or that Sonia pauses too often during them. I disagree. I think the speed of instruction is good; it's optimised for retention, rather than overloading you with stuff, which I appreciate. I like that Sonia pauses. It gives me time to either yell out implicit questions or repeat what she's saying. I sometimes wish the pauses were slightly longer, actually.
A few people have also commented that Sonia has a detectable non-French accent. I don't mind this. The speakers for the conversations and exercises are all native, so her perceived accent issues are no big deal. Her job is to teach, and she does that well. Also, her accent isn't bad. It's probably typical of someone who studied French for several years, and certainly better than the people taking her course. Her accent, to me, is a non-issue. I bought this thing because I want to learn French, not because I'm particularly interested in trying to pass off as a Parisian.
The exercises are fairly traditional. There are about 7 or eight types. I would disagree with some of the other reviews. The exercises aren't particularly "fun" or "enjoyable", no matter how many pretty pictures of Paris they put into the background. I don't really think any serious language learning can be "fun".
The exercises are, however, extremely effective for me. Basically, they fall into: translating, reading, listening, and writing. For example, the speaker will say a phrase and I'll be tasked with writing down what they said. Or, I'll be asked to write down the French equivalent of an English phrase. I think the effectiveness comes from having to type so much. They're writing-intensive styles of exercises; I also say the phrases as I type them out. They're not "fun", but they break up the work into small chunks, so I've very rarely thought, "Oh Christ. Another one?"
Just so the Rosetta Stone fans know, they've also a short segment of match-the-vague-image-to-the-word, but they only do about seven pairs. After selecting the same stock photos to the same words over and over again, I've grown to hate that woman who represents "mademoiselle".
The exercises are effective. I know a few people have complained about the lack of a microphone-based pronunciation checker like the one found in Rosetta Stone. But, I've used Rosetta Stone before and the pronunciation checker rarely works. The Fluenz record-yourself-and-compare exercise works much better, as it relies on your own ears. Surely, we can tell if we sound like any given recording better than a computer can, right?
One caveat I did notice is that the speaker for the exercises seemed to have somewhat lost her voice around lesson eight or so. After that point, she's quiet and hoarse, and harder to understand. A few times I need to pull up the answer to a question, just because I can't quite understand what she's saying now. No huge deal. That happens about twice a lesson, and there are at least 60 exercise sets per lesson or something.
MP3 Tracks: My purchase came with a free download of eight companion audio lessons. Each of the lessons is ten minutes, and features Sonia and a guy with a sexy French accent. They mostly do "How would I say?" and "Repeat after me" drills. Honestly, I've only skimmed through the audio lessons. They seem more like a throw-in for someone who simply must attempt to learn on the go. I guess they'd be good for quick refreshers.
Browser-based Exercises: Last time I checked, in the members' area of their website, Fluenz had a Flash-based browser exercises thing. It's basically the same as the DVD's exercises, but with the addition of a randomiser option. The really cool part about the browser-based exercises thing, though, is that it lets you select any language you want. If you're motivated enough, I'm sure you could learn additional languages by pairing that with some books.
Community: The Fluenz community seem to be a nice bunch. I haven't and don't plan to spend much time on their forums. The Fluenz staff are good at interacting with the community and genuinely seem to enjoy talking about language with the users on there. I enjoy learning languages, but not as much as these folks. Also, the tech support team seem to be active in the community. I saw them pushing out special hotfixes to certain users who were having problems.
Although the programme moves slowly, it's effective at the stuff it does teach. After the first week or so, I was able to throw together understandable, albeit simplistic, statements on my own. The vocab Fluenz teaches is quite limited, but, in Canada, packaging has to be English-French bilingual, and it's surprising how many nouns you can pick up that way.
My Québécois friend is very happy and shocked about my results, which has increased the incentive for me to continue. I actually corrected my other friend's conjugation after I asked him a question about my lesson. He's an American ex-pat who's studied French for a few years and works for the Government of Canada, so that was pretty surprising for both of us. It just came out without me thinking about it. That said, it was also 12:30 AM, so he was probably also not very focused.
In terms of retention, I'd say it's excellent. I stopped using the program for three weeks at lesson 13, and was able to pick up right where I left off. I'm excited to be at the half-way point, and will probably buy the other levels after I'm done.
Some others have pointed out that you could basically get the same experience for much less by using one of those audiobook-workbook bundles. While I think this is true, I also think that I personally wouldn't be able to finish such a course. I've used Pimselur before, and it just didn't work well for me. Call me a visual zombie, but I find the multimedia presentation style easier in terms of retention and just more engaging.
It's true that paying hundreds of dollars for something like this seems a bit steep, but it costs money to put together something like this. It's true that the packaging and some other stuff is a bit overdone, but, for me, Fluenz has worked and that's what counts.
A reviewer commented that, for the price of the whole set, you could take a traditional French class. They complained that Fluenz doesn't offer the same experience as a class would nor enough skills to become fluent or pass any standardised tests. All these points are true because they're supposed to be true, I assume. Fluenz is for people like me who just want to learn French via their computer, for pleasure, on their own time.
For me, it's worth the money because I am happy with my purchase, having a relatively good time with the programme, and sticking to the programme.
Fluenz builds in a stepwise fashion, and intersperses video tutorials and language explanations with conversations and language drills. In addition to the physical product, once you've bought it you have access to podcasts, online flashcards, and forums - materials which help enhance and drill in the learning.
The company is awesome. They want you to succeed, and I've always felt like the company wanted me to be happy and have a good experience with their product. They're constantly working on tweaking and polishing the existing product as well as coming out with new content.
I started out buying French 1 and Spanish 1, and have since bought 2-5 of both sets because I was so impressed with the products and the company. French I study because I love the language and it's in my heritage (Quebecois grandmother) and Spanish because I like the language and have many opportunities to use it in my work and travels.
Thank you Fluenz for a great product, one that works...and works well because I actually enjoy and use it.