Best CD or Tape for Travelers French

Old Aug 16th, 2001, 12:50 PM
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Best CD or Tape for Travelers French

I spent some time this past weekend looking at all the various recordings available to learn French for travelers.
I speak Spanish fluently, but not more than 3 words of french (and I'm not too good at those).
As I am hoping to travel to France in July 2002, I was wondering which language learning programs you think are excellent?
I narrowed down my search in the stores to the Berlitz tapes and the Living language tapes. I didn't buy anything however, as I was unsure.
Let me know what you think.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 01:14 PM
Santa Chiara
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Pam: I highly recommend Pimmsleur's.
They're expensive, but if you really dedicate yourself, you get a lot out of them. Before moving to Italy, I went through the whole 18-tape set couple of times. At first I didn't appreciate what I was learning, but now that I have studied Italian formally, I have a better understanding of, for instance, the conditional, than my classmates.

One caveat: These tapes are all audio, but I had a long commute. I am basically a visual learner, and not having the words in front of me has hindered somewhat. On the other hand, the constant repetition and use of more advanced phrases in an elementary set gave me a better feel for the language. I would recommend them unconditionally.

And I used the short set ( 4 tapes) to brush up on my French for a recent trip.

I am sure you can find a good used set on Amazon.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 01:20 PM
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Hi Pam
Check the copyrights for currency. Years ago I had Living Language tapes for Italian, and now that I'm studying the language for real, I'm seeing that many of the expressions and usage on my old tapes are very out-of-date.
I also have the Berlitz tapes, bought a couple of years ago. Very good, but I could have done without the touchy-feely introduction, which imo wastes valuable space on the tape.

What amuses me sometimes on language tapes are the choices they make for which phrases are important to learn.
"Where is the police station?" to me makes sense. "Where can I buy a pineapple?" seems less of a priority to me, unless I'm speaking Italian in Hawaii.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 01:34 PM
Book Chick
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Might want to check out the offerings by the Olivia & Hill Press. (They have a web site.) They not only have basic vocab audio, etc., but also one on slang which is kind of nice.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 01:39 PM
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I studied Czech that way but not French so really can't recommend one, except to comment that I would avoid Berlitz if their tapes are similar to their classes. I took a class their one just to brush up on my French, an advanced conversation, and they did not teach the language grammatically and also used vocabulary geared towards business travelers even though no one in the class was taking it for business. I really dislike Berlitz a lot, they were very expensive and not well-run. Anyway, I don't know their tapes, but if they have the same mindset as their books and classes, I would avoid them.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 04:03 PM
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Last year I posted a similar question concerning Italian tapes & books. A kindly Fodorite (thank you, June!) introduced me to the Pimsler tapes. I'll be the first to admit that I am "challenged" (i.e. dumb as a sack of hammers) when it comes to learning other languages. But even I learned some basic Italian with those tapes!!! THAT is as strong endorsement as you're going to find! ;-)
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 04:47 PM
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There's a great website, Parlo.Com, which offers travel French, Italian, and Spanish. Each course is twelve lessons with an audio component so that you can hear how a native speaker would say everything, for about $39! I found it invaluable for my recent Italian trip.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 07:22 PM
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With one year to go, you can sign up for a class at college or a community college. I recommend full credit class instead of conversational only.

If you only want to do it using CD, I also recommend Pimsleur. You should be easily complete all three levels before your trip. My only complain is that there is no transcript, just audio. So sometimes it is not clear what is the subtle differences between phrases. Since I also signe up for a class to college, I got all those questions answered in the class.

Since the CD is very expensive, try to find it in your local library. You can listen to entire lesson 1 of 30 lessons in each level to make sure it is something you want to invest in. The Web site is:

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