on 4 January 2013
It is quite a good book, and it could be valuable tool for French learners. As with almost any language learner's books, its value essentially depends on the personality of the learner and on the learning method adopted altogether. The book is intended for an intelligent graduate learner who knows how to teach himself. Also, the book assumes that the learner has already acquired a sense of the language, and at this point when the vocabulary is expanding the book may be useful. Anyway, one should have several similar books to benefit from them substantially. I think it is very important to experience positive feelings when you just browsing a book for the first time, and the quality of paper, the print etc affect this much. I found that the book is reasonably structured, the pages being laid down well, and I experience pleasure of working with it. All those flaws indicated by another referee are absolutely irrelevant for me. Anyway, when one embarks on the study of a foreign language, he or she will need a collection of books, and this book is a proper candidate for such a collection. Also, the book could be beneficially employed together with 'Superlearning' by Ostrander etc. where the method of compiling the tapes for suggestive learning is conveyed.
on 24 February 2011
The introduction claims that the book 'is more than just a list of words', and that it is organised by theme, so that words can be learnt in context rather than long, unconnected lexis. However, I wouldn't say that there is anything unique about this concept, and in fact, what follows are simply lists of words, phrases and their translations. Nothing new here.
There is a brief grammar summary and language 'toolbox' at the beginning of the book, followed by 16 units, each covering a certain topic (Personal matters, Family, Work, Home etc). Each topic is divided into smaller sub-topics. Sometimes there is overlapping vocabulary between sub-topics and units, but this is understandable and natural. There is occasional 'extra' information, either cultural (customs, festivals etc), or lexical (pronunciation, etymology, slang, idioms etc), but for the most part it is lists of either single words or short phrases. There is a brief 'check what you know' section at the end of each unit with mostly multiple-choice exercises, which covers nowhere near as much vocabulary as you have studied in the unit. I would have appreciated more tests, and more innovative ways of testing. I even saw that some of the questions required vocabulary which had not actually been covered in the unit!
I noticed more than a few mistakes with regards to the English vocabulary (the author is French, and while she is fluent, her English is not flawless). I was also very surprised to find the term 'handicapped' in English, with a similar French term, in such a recently-published work. I don't doubt the accuracy of the French, but there were a few oddities in the English part.
I am studying French on my own, and I used this book to supplement my studies. As a word-list I think it is comprehensive and useful as reference material (I'd say the level is suitable for GCSE/AS level), but if you want to get to grips with learning the French language as it is used in daily life, it is limited. It isn't a learning method but a learning tool.