Well, we are finally here, at Day 45 of the series. We’ve gone through Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF) and Essential French (EF) in their entirety. In the interim, I also spent some time browsing a short book I have on Greece, written in French (among other things – more about that later), and a couple other French grammars and textbooks on my shelf. And we learned some French along the way!
So maybe the best thing to do is just recap what we have seen – keeping it bref. Let’s see, that includes les verbes, les noms, les pronoms, les adjectifs, les adverbes, les articles, les conjonctions and les prépositions. Oh, and some interjections and idiom as well!
We saw that each book chose different tactics for learning the material. EF took the route of sharing tons of examples, and highlighting patterns on a case by case basis. Once the reader was well in the book, they systematized a bit. But there was always a tendency to offer new verbs piecemeal with lots of examples – mind you, not a bad thing! This approach allowed some vocabulary to be shown early on, then used in examples, which made it unnecessary to be memorized in long lists. And you learned vocabulary in context. A side-effect of this approach was that it took a long time to get to the end of any one topic. At times, bouncing between ATYF and EF seemed anticlimactic. The review chapters were a nice touch, and I thought well spaced.
ATYF was a completely different animal. It systematized from the start, providing very little in the way of contextual examples. It covered more verb forms, and did each form more justice in the long run. But I felt a little beat over the head with the vocabulary once finally in the last third of the book. It was flying fast! As the book reached the end and more concepts were available to be combined, the examples increased, which was good. ATYF also addressed formal business writing and some invitations, while EF stuck to conversation. Overall, I’m glad I used both books. I think either one alone would have been frustrating – each for their own reasons.
Today, as I was wrapping up my thoughts and considering what next, I asked myself a question that has popped into my head from time to time: “Would I do something like this again?” To be honest, it was difficult. It was a lot of time – mostly late at night. However, the pressure had the result of making me stick to the regime. And that was good. I may think about doing something like this again, but not sure. I do think the strict “one lesson a day” is way too fast. I know there was a lot I didn’t give due diligence to. I’m considering going back and looking over vocabulary, specifically.
I also think that I will keep at a book I mentioned a little bit ago. The book is entitled Grèce. It is mostly French, though the pictures are captured in English, French and German. There are also a lot of headings in English. I think what I will try to do is read it in pieces, quickly for the gist. Then I will go back over it checking out vocabulary and expressions that I was unsure of. I started a little bit of it today and was mildly successful. I didn’t expect to be a flawless reader, though. Maybe I’ll share some of the photos as well. An oddity about the book is that it has no – absolutely zilch – author and publishing information. I think I picked it up at a yard sale somewhere in town a couple years ago. Odd.