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French For Dummies [Paperback]

Dodi-Katrin Schmidt , Michelle M. Williams , Dominique Wenzel
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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French For Dummies, with CD French For Dummies, with CD 4.0 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

Dec 15 1999 For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
If you buy into the Pepé Le Pew stereotype of the French – arrogant, stuffy, overly amorous, and rather odiferous (Pepé Le Pew was a skunk. Talk about stereotypical!) – then think again. Not only are the French people some of the most relaxed, pleasant people you'll ever meet, but their society is one of the oldest, most culturally rich societies in the world. So it's no surprise that French is known as perhaps the most beautiful of all languages. Listen to someone speak French – sure, you don't have a clue what she's saying, but aren't you enraptured by the sound of it?

Unfortunately, just because a language is beautiful doesn't mean that it's easy to learn. Although French has many things in common with English, French has had many, many centuries to evolve into the language it is today, which means it's had all that time to become more complex. That's where French For Dummies can help. Written in partnership with the language experts at Berlitz, this book can give you what you need for basic communication in French.

French For Dummies covers the following topics and more:

  • Basic pronunciation and gestures
  • The nuts and bolts of French grammar
  • Meeting and greeting in French
  • Situations in which you can use French: Making small talk, dining out, shopping, and talking on the phone
  • Traveling to France: Dealing with French currency, staying at a hotel, and getting around town
  • Top Ten lists on ways to pick up French quickly, things you should never say in French, favorite French expressions, and important French holidays to remember.
  • Appendixes with verb conjugation tables, as well as a French mini-dictionary

French For Dummies also comes with a CD that has audio transcriptions of all the exercises in the book, so that you can actually hear the French pronunciations.

So whether you're taking a business trip and need to pick up a little French quickly; you're cramming for your high school French final; or you've always wanted to learn a new language but don't have the time to drag yourself to a class once a week, French For Dummies can get you well on your way to becoming fluent in no time.


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Product Details


Product Description

From the Publisher

This unintimidating guide from the experts at Berlitz helps you start speaking Frenchquickly and easily! Whether youre a student, a traveler, or just want to pick up basic French, youll find its packed with practical lessons, cultural facts, fun, and handy referencesincluding a French-English mini-dictionary, common verb lists, and more!

Discover how to:

*Have everyday conversations in French

*Make sense of French grammar

*Improve your pronunciation

*Get a handle on verb conjugations

*Use idioms and popular expressions

*Get around in a French-speaking country

From the Back Cover

Speak French -- the fun and easy way!

Dialogues from the book on audio CD

Your survival guide to everyday words and expressions

Thr renowned Berlitz approach with a fun and friendly twist!
This unintimidating guide from the experts at Berlitz helps you start speaking French -- quickly and easily! Whether you're a student, a traveler, or you just want to pick up basic French, you'll find it's packed with practical lessons, cultural facts, fun, and handy references -- including a French-English mini-dictionary, common verb lists, and more!

Discover how to:
* Have everyday conversations in French
* Make sense of French grammar
* Improve your pronunciation
* Get a handle on verb conjugations
* Use idioms and popular expressions
* Get around in a French-speaking country
all this on the audio CD
* Pick up French the Berlitz way -- through actual conversations
* Features dialogues by native French speakers
* Allow you to hear French as it's really spoken
* Reinforces lessons from the book
Get Smart! www.dummies.com
* Register to win cool prizes
* Browse exclusive articles and excerpts
* Get a free Dummies Daily e-mail newsletter
* Chat with authors and preview other books
* Talk to us, ask questions, get answers

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as a supplementary learning tool Nov. 17 2001
Format:Paperback
I have come to the conclusion that one can NOT learn french without attending the old-fashion French class-room based seminars! I tried books, audio-cassettes, and interactive PC softwares yet I made no progress! But once I started attending the classes, all the books and cassettes I had helped me to advance at a rate faster than all my class-peers!
Having that in mind, this book is a good book to read once you start a French course. It's comprehensive on the basic concepts and it's fun to read as well. It will give you some tips that your French instructor might miss or overlook. It will also enhance your vocabulary.
The CD however is quite disappointing! It pronounces the alphabet, which is good. But only few of the conversations are available on the CD. I think that if they had the pronounciations of various words available as well then it would've been much more helpful.
If you're expecting to learn French by reading a funny book or by listening to cassettes while driving, then get real! Learning a new language is a difficult task. Don't expect that a book or a cassette will make it any easier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fluff March 30 2000
By Evan
Format:Paperback
There's about 50 pages worth of material in this 350 page book. You're better off buying a pocket guide. In fact, I have a tiny French phrase book from Oxford that contains more info and fits nicely in my pocket. They must have rushed this book to market pretty quickly. The CD doesn't contain the audio from the last chapter (sloppy), I've discovered misspellings (sloppy), and there are strange blue ink blobs throughout the book (sloppy). The dictionary in the back is the pits. Despite my criticism, it's not a terrible book. The audio CD is clear and helpful. But there are better values out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars French-Lite but too light and not right June 25 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book in a Hongkong bookshop because it was the only choice and I am sorry that I did. The authors say that they want to teach essential communication skills, but their text is basically a phrase book that teaches a large number of one-liners. It is deficient in the progressive, building block approach that is so essential to language learning. Moreover, the book often digresses into too much cultural and travel information. For example, we are told how to read temperatures in Celsius, where to find a nightclub, and the advantages of buying a museum pass. Fine, but I bought the book because I wanted to study French. There are also more than a few pesky typographical mistakes and instances where the dialogue on the CD doesn't exactly agree with what is written in the text. A neophyte learning French has enough to deal with without having to figure out what the authors are trying to say. Finally, the book tries to be too cute in de-mystifying language learning and is constantly talking down to its readers. (They waste a total of six pages on cartoons written in English that make fun of studying French.) A book with a name like 'French for Dummies' should try to exceed expectations. Unfortunately, this book tends to live up to its title.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ce livre, c'est nul (This book is the pits) Feb. 22 2000
By Dave
Format:Paperback
Like an pre-adolescent, FRENCH FOR DUMMIES can't make up its mind what it wants to be when it grows up. It wants to be more than phrase book, but it (by its own admission) it does not want to be a text book. In the end, it falls short on both counts.
It opts for quick answers and shortcuts, so much so that students wanting to do more than repeat stock phrases will be sorely dissapointed. Yes, you could spend the asking price for the book, then set about memorizing the dialogues, but what for? You could tell a doctor, "I have an upset stomach" (J'ai mal au cœur), but not "I am having chest pain."
In the end, the wise reader would do well either to go about seriously learning the language (and for that I would recommend the text that accompanies the PBS series French in Action) or buy an inexpensive phrase book or two. (Or three... Anyone traveling to Paris ought to order WICKED FRENCH a tongue-in-cheek phrase book so that when you are being ignored by the haughty staff at a cafe can ask a waiter "C'est vrai que vous avez honte de votre menu?" (Is it true that you are ashamed of your menu.) Not exactly the type of phrases found in Berlitz's phrase book.
But please, pass on this one.
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