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Michel Thomas V Paul Noble?
on 13 January 2014
Michel Thomas and Paul Noble use similar methods to teach French and they are both very effective. They both have benefits and disadvantages.
I found Paul's CD easier to follow. Paul speaks and explains the French language very clearly and he uses a native French speaker to make sure the pronounciation is correct. It is very systematic and straight-forward and by the end of the course I felt I had a decent understanding of basic French.
On the negative side, it did at times feel a little slow-paced and Paul sometimes repeats explanations which are unnecessary and become a little annoying near the end of the course. I also found that while I could remember the language the way that he taught it, I struggled when hearing the language elsewhere.
Michel Thomas is less systematic but feels more organic. His phraseology is more gritty and down-to-earth. For example, where Paul teaches 'it is not' as 'Ce n-est pas', Michel tells you to pronounce it as 'snay pas' because that is the way it is spoken in France most of the time. Probably the biggest advantage of Michel's course is that once you've finished the basic course, you can continue with more advanced French and then even more advanced French (on more of his CDs). Having said that, there is a free internet course called 'Duolingo' which is better than any of the CDs as it builds up a broader vocabulary and keeps going until you're fluent.
I found that the CDs taught me the basics well but Duolingo has been much more effective. Using both have the advantage of hearing the language spoken by different people and taught in slightly different ways.
I've found learning the French hugely beneficial, opening up an understanding of a part of the world that is limited without knowing the language. Really enjoying it.