Tomorrow, I intend to entrench myself in French. It repeatedly comes up as a language that might be useful, and is the only language I have ever studied in an academic setting (2 years in high school). When I hear things or see things in French, I can sometimes pick them up, but my ability to generate conversation is near non-existent. So…
I already own a fair number of books on French, most of which I have done little but browse disinterestedly. But over the next little while I am going to focus on two: Essential French (hereafter EF), put together by Berlitz Publishing and Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (hereafter, ATYF). I borrowed EF from the local library, and I own ATYF. Both bill themselves as beginner courses that will get you into conversational “fluency”, though ATYF also suggests some level of reading fluency.
EF is made up of twenty lessons, 4 of which are section reviews. ATYF is 24 lessons divided into 6 main sections, each lesson supposedly readable in an hour (though I’m sure it will take longer to grapple with them productively). EF has a single audio CD with each lesson’s main conversation, and directions to get to Berlitz’s own online content. ATYF comes with no audio, but regularly presents links to online resources from various sources. Part of what I hope to get out of this is a feel for the differences, both strengths and weaknesses, of each course. And hopefully, where one falls down, the other will rise to the occasion. If I have time I may jump to look at a book listing verb conjugations, or an old French reader. But I don’t expect such free time, honestly.
The idea is to take a chapter a day. If that is unreasonable, then I will adjust accordingly. At a minimum that comes to 44 days of beginner French (I rounded up to 45 for the snazzy title). Come and read along. Hopefully a productive time can be had by all. À bientôt.