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4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2006
Firstly, what is it? Well, think of some fairly pleasant chill out electronic music - cafe del mar etc. On top of this the two "presenters" repeat basic French phrases rhythically. The phrases are broken down into component parts like in the Pimsleur courses. All in all, very easy to listen to.

Secondly, does it work? Well, I think it's a qualified yes. It doesn't stick in the mind in the way I was hoping - it's not like a tv jingle that you can't get out of your head. However, there's no doubt that you will pick up bits and pieces, and the big advantage is that because it's so easy to listen to, you'll probably listen to it more than you would otherwise.

I've yet to come across anything that's as effective as the Michel Thomas 8 disc course, which is brilliant. However, this is cheaper and demands less effort. I plan to listen in the gym, walking the dog etc - ie at times when I can't concentrate or can't repeat things out line.

On balance, worth the money, easy listening, but unlikely to give you enough of the language for you to get by on a typical summer holiday.
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on 13 July 2008
As someone who has studied languages to degree level and also taught foreign languages in secondary school, it would be fair to say that I am generally sceptical of DIY langauage teaching CDs - and often with good cause. However, Earworms CDs are an absolutely invaluable learning resource. They will equip you, with minimal effort on your part, with a basic understanding of the language building blocks - which coupled with vocab covering the usual holiday scenarios, such as ordering drinks, food, buying things, counting, etc, will enable you to begin to start to extrapolate from what you have heard on the CD and, with the help of a dictionary, build your own sentences to meet your specific needs. Some grammar is explained - just enough to help with exactly what I've just said above - but not too much to be overwhelming.

I would thoroughly recommend these CDs to anyone who wants just 'holiday' language, or to anyone who is wishing to study the language in greater depth but would like a gentle introduction first.

The learning process is stress-free and fun. These CDs are so easy to listen to, as the background tracks are non-intrusive, rhythmical, and really do help to nudge the words and phrases into your memory. Everything is repeated several times, with one presenter speaking English and the other saying the same things in the target language. Everything is delivered in time to the music, which aids recollection later, there is good use of humour now and then, and all phrases are broken down so that you can see exactly how they have been made up. The emphasis is on repetition, so there is no feeling that things are moving too quickly. The idea is that you just relax, rather than straining to follow a fast-moving coaching CD. It really does work - once you have listed to the CD a few times, you will find you are remembering whole phrases.
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on 6 October 2009
A great way to learn some basic French. The language is spoken by a native speaker and an English guy, the words are repeated over and over with different voice tones, so you really get the feel for the words.
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on 27 May 2008
I have listened to Volume 2 (on my iPod whilst cycling into work) 3 times now and am already finding myself coming out with the phrases either in my head or when talking to the rest of my family.

The couple are very flirtatious, which also works as it helps to take your mind off trying too hard and the lady's accent and voice is beautiful, add into that the soft rymthical tunes behind the voices and you have an excellent product I would highly recommend.

Moving to France to live is a challenge to say the least. As a family we have bought almost every type of course available however this one is by far our favourite.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2011
I must first of all disclose that I was offered a copy of the Rapid French Volumes 1 and 2 for review.
This review refers to both volumes.

I have recently discovered the Earworms system and really enjoyed listening to both volumes of RAPID GERMAN: 200+ essential words and phrases anchored into your long-term memory with great music. Vol. 1. EARWORMS mbt ( Musical Brain Trainer). Despite the fact that these courses are aimed at absolute beginners, after trying out the German one I saw how they can be quite useful for slightly more advanced speakers of a language in 'implanting' some useful vocabulary and phrases, as well as helping with pronounciation (which, particularly with French, I find a bit of a struggle).

Rapid French did not disappoint. Written in the same style as Rapid German, it contains pretty much the same vocabulary, with a few minor changes here and there. The format revolves around a conversation between a British male 'student' and a French female 'teacher'. If this triggers any alarm bells in your mind at the thought of the hopeless and irritating 'students' of the Michel Thomas course, please stop worrying now: the Earworms student's responses are carefully calibrated so that he still makes the odd mistake, but not too frequently, so that the teacher's corrections are actually useful as a form of reinforcement and not an display of repressed frustration (you can read my review of Start German with the Michel Thomas Method (Michel Thomas Series) here).

In addition Earworms employs speakers with voices that you actually enjoy listening to - both the British man and the young French teacher have really really nice voices. It sounds really obvious, but choosing the right voices is vital. However, a lot of language learning audio material still relies on boring, stuffy recordings that not only fail to engage the listener, but also often sound like parodies of language courses themselves. The dialogue in Rapid French is delivered in a light-hearted manner, with a few jokes in between and at the end of Volume 2 the two speakers agree to go on a date together. It'a more humorous approach than Michel Thomas or Pimsleur, and one that you are more likely to see through to the end.

The 'learning to music' method is something I'd never consciously considered before - I say 'consciously', because, like many other non-native speakers of English, I learnt a lot of vocabulary through pop and rock music. So it makes sense to try this in a more targeted and structured way. The tracks used as a background to the dialogue cover all sorts of music genres, from jazz, to dance to folk and so on. They are inobtrusive enough to let you hear the dialogue but still a good few notches above muzak. Within a few minutes of listening along, I found myself drawn into the rhythm, repeating the various phrases to myself. Even after using the course, whilst doing something else, random 'songs' from the course would pop into my head, proving that the 'Earworms' are really beginning to 'stick'. I also noticed that by using two Earworms courses at the same time - French and German - when prompted to say something in one language, my mind seems to bring up the answer in both, as the English dialogue is the same. This reinforces my belief that it is actually easier to learn more than one language at a time, because your mind becomes more flexible. I would advise anyone to try it in the name of science..!

My only criticism to the Earworms method is that it really is only designed for complete beginners. Although still useful to intermediate learners for all the reasons listed above, it really can't take you very far. I would like to see a Volume 3 level available, with more general conversation-oriented dialogue that goes beyond the usual travel and tourism material. I really hope that Earworms will consider it.

My next challenge will be to 'test' the Earworms system with a language that I know absolutely nothing about: maybe Arabic, or Mandarin. I am confident that I would learn enough to get by and maybe make some new friends. Watch this space...
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on 14 March 2006
We have lived in France for ten years and have done numerous courses to improve our French. Given the complexity of French grammar and the difficulties with pronunciation it has been a daunting task. Recently we were joined by one of our daughters who plans to settle and work here, so I was browsing on the net for a French course that would be simple and effective for her.
The earworms Rapid French appealed to me as a TEFL trainer, with the idea of the "jingle" that you can't get out of your head.
It has turned out to be an excellent system with rhythm, music and phrases that are repeated clearly and more importantly with the accent and stress of a native French speaker.
It makes much more sense to learn complete phrases for any given situation, rather than lists of verbs and vocab. The added bonus is that it is a pleasure to listen to and it really does stick in one's memory. And if that isn't enough, it is also very reasonably priced!
We are well pleased and just hope we can find Volume 2.
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on 27 July 2008
I couldn't do languages at school, wasn't bad at other things, but with languages I always had a kind of block in the brain. But having a partner and his family who spoke French made me try to learn as an adult, and this has truly helped me. I'm not going to tell you that I'm suddenly fluent, but listening to this CD made me realise that I could do it. I learnt the whole CD after several listenings and felt a real achivement, and it spurred me on to learn more (I went onto Michel Thomas who is great). I'm actually enjoying language learning now which I didn't before, and it was because this CD made French accessible to me, if not providing a huge range of vocab. You could go straight to Michel Thomas from nothing, but this did a great job of giving me a little and boosting my confidence first. I listen in my car on the way to work and that requires no effort at all re reading or computer work. Get the second CD too, it's very good, though again quite scary at first!
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on 13 February 2007
Bought Rapid French Vol.1 a year ago and had listenend to the product sitting at home in front of the CD player. Gave up with it after two weeks as the effort of taking an hour off from my schedule wasn't worth it for me.

Gave the product another try after buying an iPod and since then I have found it worked much better- the background music and the rhythmic repititions of English phrases and the French translation immediately whilst set to 'techno' music seemed to burn into my head well- perhaps too well as I developed sinusitis for the first ten days. Was worth it in the end!

Rapid French Vol.1 (and an iPod!) has been the easiest and most effective way of listening and learning basic French- its effortless and I can now listen to French radio podcasts and pick out some words and get the general gist of what they're saying.

Only complaint is that 200 words are a bit basic, but will remedy that when I get Vol. 2!
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on 26 August 2006
Congratulations on such a great product. I have been very impressed with the results.

I am German native speaker and I actually learned a lot of my English through listening to songs, so I can really identify with the idea.

Keep up the excellent work. Looking forward to vol. 2...
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on 28 March 2009
As a language teacher, this is not the sort of approach to learning that I would necessarily advocate, but for aural (rather than visual) learners who want to learn essential holiday/travel phrases by rote, familiarise themselves with the sounds of the language, and be able to "study" whilst in the car or doing something else, this might be useful. The level is appropriate for beginners and false beginners (i.e. people who may have studied French for a year or two at school in their salad days). The music is not that great, more like ambient lift musak. That said, my partner has had some limited success at acquiring phrases, numbers, days of the week etc. Value for money? Not really, given that the CD only covers 200 lexical items/phrases - if you already have an ear for the language and an idea of how to pronounce simple phrases, you might be better off buying a cheaper phrase book or coursebook and spending 10 minutes a day going through those.
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