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Hugo In Three Months: French: Your Essential Guide to Understanding and Speaking French Paperback – 3 Jul 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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  • Hugo In Three Months: French: Your Essential Guide to Understanding and Speaking French
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DK; Rev Ed edition (3 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405301007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405301008
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on 10 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Having just started a Spanish degree, I thought I'd try my hand at French, which I did badly at in my GCSEs 5 years ago. By using this book I was able to use constructions way ahead of the level expected. This is because the book gives you the information you need to learn how to speak French, whereas most textbooks give you a few phrases in an illogical manner.
Do not be surprised if this book challenges you- some chapters seem very difficult and will make you sweat, but stick with it and you'll soon be rewarded by speaking kick-ass French. I'm on week 8 now and my reward for finishing week 12 will be the advanced CD edition so I can pronounce the stuff better.
This book is the best way to learn French solidly, and, at five pounds, an absolute bargain. Oh yes.
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Format: Paperback
If you want French for a short holiday or business trip, then this is NOT the best book to buy. In that case I would recommend something like "Teach Yourself Instant French". However, if you have a more advanced interest in the French language and improving your competency in it, then this book is a sound investment at a very good "price-paid-to-skills-gained" ratio. This will be good for fine tuning and polishing your French studies.

I bought this job before taking a job in the European parliament, and found that it greatly improved my knowledge of French. This will be good for A level students and others with an advanced interest in the language who need it significantly "polished" to give it a professional edge.

The book has a number of clear strengths. One is the excellent run down of grammar, from verb tenses to negation to noun genders. Another is the excellent end of unit tests where the previous four chapters knowledge is tested. There are also plenty of exercise questions in each chapter to really drill home the skills learned.

The book does have one major weakness. The exercise questions sometimes are a little unclear: for example you may be asked to translate "you want it" and it is unclear to the reader if it means you (vous) or you as directed at the reader, which would be I (je). This can be a little irritating. Another weakness is the transliteration, where the book attempts to spell out phonetically what certain French words sound like, and this is not always very accurately done. Therefore, be sure you buy the CDs as well.

All in all the book is a good, and having worked in French speaking countries, I can testify that it is a sound investment for those with an advanced interest in the language who need their French fine tuned. For those with a more casual interest in the language or who need a holiday phrases course, then look elsewhere.
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By A Customer on 15 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this having studied French to Olevel years ago (and I wasn't very good even in those days!). However I've been really surprised how much I've been able to (re)learn having studied this book for two weeks only on my comute for an hour or so a day You may need to have some knowledge of the language and not be a complete beginner, it's difficult for me to say as I have also studied other Latin languages to a degree level. However if you are familiar with learning languages and/or have learnt some French in the past, I'm sure this book will be of real use to you. The vocab is modern and relevant including such words as CD, computer etc and the grammar is to the point and organised in a very logical manner (for example all the different ways of saying "what" put together and explained). It was a very worthwhile purchase for me at such a good price. You will have a very good basic knowledge of French if you work your way through this book. There are CDs to go with the book but I've not bought them and so can't comment on them.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've only just started this course and I think it will give a good basic grounding in French. I wanted more than just holiday French and this seems well organised and easy to follow. My four stars rather than five is because the CD's are not as good as I'd hoped, though they are adequate enough and are good to check pronunciation, they whizz through the sections very quickly. I won't be learning it in three months because I am not doing an hour a day, but it probably could be done.
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'French in Three Months' boasts the title; 'Play in a Day', guitarist Bert Weedon used to claim; somewhere there must be 'Run a Marathon in a Week'. Well, yes, you can do all these things if you have some natural ability as a linguist, a musician or an athlete; otherwise three months is just that, an idle boast'
The vast majority of people do learn their native language as infants - some more than one language - but this takes several years, twenty four hours a day. Many adults seem to lose this ability and I am certainly one of them. Learning a new language for us is a hard slog which requires learning by rote a vast amount of facts and mostly illogical ones at that.
This course does not remedy this (how can it?): you have trudge through the book learning vocabulary lists (including nouns with those confounded genders), conjugating verbs, trying to make sense of prepositions (there isn't any) and then making the alarming discovery that everything in a sentence has to agree with the gender of the noun it relates to; so blurring 'le' and 'la' just won't do. The course is not helped by book having been written some time earlier, having been produced, I understand, as a 'complete' course; the result of this is that it is difficult to correlate the book and discs so nothing progresses smoothly.
If you, like me, find language learning a trial, start with the Michel Thomas courses: he attempts to teach in a way he believes a child learns so that you can construct simple sentences right away which acts as a confidence as well as a language builder. His courses do have their shortcomings, of course, and is probably an idea to take the Hugo course after the Michel Thomas course to consolidate what was learned there and fill in the several gaps.
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