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Ultimate French Beginner-Intermediate (Coursebook) [Large Print] [Paperback]

Living Language
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 28 2009 Ultimate Beginner-Intermediate
Developed by the experts at Living Language, this course has everything you need to learn French from scratch or to revive the French that you learned years ago. Ultimate French combines conversation and culture in an easy-to-follow, enjoyable, and effective format. It’s the perfect way to learn French for school, travel, work, or personal enrichment. In this book you’ll find:

• 40 lessons with lively dialogues including the most common and useful idiomatic expressions.
• English translations and explanations of French grammar and usage, pronunciation, vocabulary, and cultural notes.
• Quizzes and review sections to check your progress.
• A complete summary of French grammar, and verb charts covering all major tenses.
• An extensive two-way glossary.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Top Jan. 8 2013
I bought this book because I needed to review the french language skills I learned in school before going on an internship in Paris. Such a good book I was able to refresh what I had learned in school plus I learned quite a bit more on top of it. I would definitely recommend buying it if you are trying to learn french.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars camille recommended it May 29 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am trying to move my language learning from an absolute beginner to an intermediate. At least I am not too shy to use what I know when we went to Paris last Christmas. But I desperately need more... vocabulary, grammar, understanding of conversations. French Today learning is helping and that is where I came across this course.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the "ultimate" March 9 2013
By Ryan
Material was good. Wish I could've known that I needed to buy more items to make it the true ultimate french set.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super!!! March 6 2011
The price and the quality of the text are super. I waited only one day, and the book was on my desk...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a great learning text, but you will probably want to get a few others~ April 16 2012
By Christopher Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We are using this for our fast paced French refresher course through PCC's continuing education foreign language program. Though I recommend this as a good French text, it is laid out oddly. First, the dialogue is at the beginning of each chapter. These dialogues contain words which are probably unfamiliar to most students until they actually read the section. It is quite confusing to try and pronounce or read these unfamiliar words. I know that the authors felt it better to have students 'try' and read it, then learn the words, then go back to it, but it just doesn't work all that well. Even the instructor has us skip the dialogue until after we work through the chapter it pertains to. Also, the quizzes at the end of each chapter are rudimentary at best.

Positives: there are charts at the end that contain many verb conjugations and lists of other important words. Each chapter is concise and gives the student ample material to work with while not overwhelming the student with endless lists. The paces is nice and the flow from chapter to chapter seems to follow a nice curve for actually learning the language, not learning a few phrases for travel. I would have liked more sentence building exercises, but for a $13 beginner to intermediate book, it covers a lot of material without getting too in depth.

I highly highly highly recommend the following purchases, even if the instructor does not require them.

French Grammar (Barron's Foreign Language Guides) - this is indispensable. This is the book which takes one from merely learning a few words and phrases to actually putting this all to use and building a good foundation for French speaking. It is inexpensive and worth 5x as much in my opinion. Only problem is that it is compact. But it packs in a TON of content and helps with sentence building.

Merriam-Webster's French-English Dictionary - amazing bang for the buck French - English dictionary. Has some charts in the beginning, including a useful conjugation chart. But has over 80,000 entries and 100,000 translations. Pretty amazing for $6 or $7. I have the paperback because I don't really want to lug a kindle to class.

These three books are perfect for getting started. Then you might try located a good CD resource. I don't recommend Rosetta Stone because of the exorbitant price (you gotta pay for all that marketing they do). Michel Thomas has a good course on CD that builds sentences, but at last look they were all 3rd party and cost $100+... not really worth it at that point. But if you come across it for a good price then buy it.

Also it sounds goofy, but check out some of the kids picture books (even for an adult). The ones that have the pictures with the French word and no English translation. You can buy four or five of these for $5-$10 each and they are basically what Rosetta Stone is. See a picture of something and learn the French word for it, not look at an English word and translate it. Get it? Oh, and grab a couple of workbooks that are highly rated for practice.

And also of note: the same holds true for other languages with the same publishers' items. I took Japanese and used Living Language, Barron's Grammar, and Webster's Dictionary along with some picture books and the Michel Thomas CDs and it was a breeze to learn with all of those useful tools. So even if it's Italian, Spanish, or another language, I expect these to be good items to purchase (in those respective languages).
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I agree with 2-star reviews: Not fun for beginners Jan. 4 2011
By Javier Reynaldo - Published on Amazon.com
I checked out the "ultimate french" set from the library because I enjoyed the "Beyond the basics" course for Italian by the same company. I've found that Living Language is very inconsistent in the style and presentation among its various levels of courses and languages covered.
This is one style I didn't like. It just plain turned me off from continuing on.
There is one set of CDs that are supposed to go along with the book, and another set supposed to be used alone, independent of the book. I find this presents too much double coverage in a negative way: It becomes confusing, perhaps overwhelming to a beginner. This would be alright if the spoken and written lessons weren't also too quick from the outset. A pronunciation lesson would have been nice as a first lesson (I only recall a written one that seemed to be a preface in the book). The native speakers then proceed to speak at a normal pace and style for a native. At this level, at the beginning of a course, speakers should slow down and enunciate even if words are ultimately meant to have a slur from one to the next. I am sure that this course could be useful for those who have had previous contact with the french language; it seems that the "beginner" section of the course is really a review for intermediate learners.
I'll try the Complete French (Teach Yourself series) book/CD; as a language tutor and student, the book follows a philosophy that I've found to be very helpful in learning. I'll review that if I ever use it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanting to learn French for an extended trip to Europe Nov. 26 2012
By Patrick Garman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When we got married last May, my wife and I were only able to take enough time off for a brief honeymoon to the coast. Since I am planning to go to graduate school in the Fall, we are taking this summer off and are planning a month long trip to France and Spain for a delayed honeymoon. We both have a workable understanding of Spanish, but since the bulk of our time will be spent in France we plan to take an intermediate class in the new year to prepare. This is the text recommended for our class.

Things I like: Short lessons are helpful since we both work full time and don't have a lot of extra time to devote right now. It's nice to have a feeling of completion with each lesson. Also, the book is pretty inexpensive.

Thing I don't like: Each chapter begins with a short conversation in French, but without access to the recorded conversation I have a hard time knowing if I am pronouncing words correctly. I feel like I'm either Americanizing the text, or that I sound like a really bad actor playing a Frenchman in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. The CDs associated with the text are sold separately and raise the price SUBSTANTIALLY. It would be nice to be able to stream at least the conversations online to correct for pronunciation.

I think this will work well as the text for a class, but I don't think it's really geared towards self-study.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No CD Oct. 18 2011
By Jesse T. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have no complaints with the book. I did think that it came with a CD, but it does not. Guess I was mislead by reading the reviews. But, its rough learning a language when you can`t hear the words pronounced properly! I do not believe that a person could learn the French language properly by using this book alone. All you would learn is how to ms-pronounce words. But with that said, add this book to Rosetta Stone or another source of language learning and this book will be great.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmingly Difficult! Dec 30 2012
By DL LA - Published on Amazon.com
When I put in the first disc for Beginning French, I thought I had put in the wrong one. The first CD starts by speaking in full sentences with no English. They speak so quickly and unless one is familiar with the language, you will be lost. Absolutely of NO use if you are trying to listen in your car. I did sit down with the book but the CD does not tell you where on the page it is and they skip around. By the time you find your place, they are somewhere else. I found it to be very frustrating. I have learned Italian pretty well before a trip to Italy, using a different program. But I could not learn French from this program and can not recommend it at all.
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