- Paperback: 350 pages
- Publisher: French and European Publications Inc (October 25, 2013)
- Language: French
- ISBN-10: 2700580540
- ISBN-13: 978-2700580549
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Using French Super Pack - Advanced French for English Speakers - Book + 4 CD's plus 1CD MP3 (French Edition) (French)
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The content of the lessons is a lot more about France. I enjoyed learning about the different parts of France and some of the history. They have a lot more idiomatic language and that's exactly what I was looking for. There probably aren't enough repetitions to really acquire some of the colloquialisms, but some exposure is great. I remember one of the lessons had a song (!) in the middle of it, which was a great surprise and really helped to break up the monotony. Additionally, this book teaches the missing historic past and imperfect subjunctive (literary tenses), which is required for really reading French literature. And what do you know, it contains extracts of Real French Literature (TM), so you can even see how far you've come! It was really motivating to see that I was able to understand it. The author's sense of dread over the corruption of French (usually Anglicisms) and the elegance of certain phrasings that really aren't popular is quite amusing and very French of him. And actually, I find it kind of endearing. I do think the exercises are more interesting and varied than in the beginner course, but these are just for improving my listening skills (transcribing and spontaneous understanding).
Now, the bad. The book has a copyright of 1985, which shows. The font isn't like the New French with Ease that I have (or really, any of the 2010+ courses that I own). The text is small and monochrome, which I guess is alright, but feels like a step down in print quality. The audio is clearly more muddy than the pristine recordings found in newer Assimil courses. Sometimes I can't make out what the person is saying because its so unclear, and I don't mean, "they speak too fast", I mean, "a loud sound floods the speaker and I can't hear anything distinct." Majority of the time, it's not a big deal, but it feels like I'm listening to a tape recording again.
The references to "francs" as a currency instead of Euros (again, content is from 1985) is starting to show its age. Obviously then, modern inventions like email, cellphones, the Internet, etc. do not appear. Some of the English translations of the French text are somewhat unconventional but not difficult to understand. The author notes that there is no perfect English translation of some of the French, so fair enough.
The book is hardly 350 pages (see image comparing Assimil's Arabic vs Using French), compared to the 600-800 of the introductory courses. This one, in particular, is very compact due to the small font and most notably, the lack of any dictionary / glossary / grammar reference. There is simply a short "irregular verb summary" at the end, where the author gives some irregular verb forms. Useful, but at times, I've found it beneficial to simply look up a specific word that isn't clear even while having the English translation.
Still, it's short (70 lessons). I probably overpaid for it here at Amazon as I later found the course for <$40 at a foreign book store (Schoenhofs).