If you buy into the Pepé Le Pew stereotype of the French – arrogant, stuffy, overly amorous, and rather odiferous (Pepé Le Pew was a skunk. Talk about stereotypical!) – then think again. Not only are the French people some of the most relaxed, pleasant people you'll ever meet, but their society is one of the oldest, most culturally rich societies in the world. So it's no surprise that French is known as perhaps the most beautiful of all languages. Listen to someone speak French – sure, you don't have a clue what she's saying, but aren't you enraptured by the sound of it?
Unfortunately, just because a language is beautiful doesn't mean that it's easy to learn. Although French has many things in common with English, French has had many, many centuries to evolve into the language it is today, which means it's had all that time to become more complex. That's where French For Dummies can help. Written in partnership with the language experts at Berlitz, this book can give you what you need for basic communication in French.
French For Dummies covers the following topics and more:
- Basic pronunciation and gestures
- The nuts and bolts of French grammar
- Meeting and greeting in French
- Situations in which you can use French: Making small talk, dining out, shopping, and talking on the phone
- Traveling to France: Dealing with French currency, staying at a hotel, and getting around town
- Top Ten lists on ways to pick up French quickly, things you should never say in French, favorite French expressions, and important French holidays to remember.
- Appendixes with verb conjugation tables, as well as a French mini-dictionary
French For Dummies also comes with a CD that has audio transcriptions of all the exercises in the book, so that you can actually hear the French pronunciations.
So whether you're taking a business trip and need to pick up a little French quickly; you're cramming for your high school French final; or you've always wanted to learn a new language but don't have the time to drag yourself to a class once a week, French For Dummies can get you well on your way to becoming fluent in no time.
About the Author
Berlitz has taught languages to millions of people for over 120 years.
Dodi-Katrin Schmidt has been a writer, a translator, and an editor for almost ten years. Aside from translating German, French, and English texts of various kinds, including linguistic handbooks, film reviews, travel guides, and children's books, she has also been involved in developing language textbooks, language courses, teachers' handbooks, and grammar companions for video language courses. Dodi has been teaching for more than two decades at high school, adult education, and college levels in Europe as well as the United States. She also writes test items for various national language tests and recorded textbook and test material. Together with her husband, she travels a great deal, and they continually house and entertain foreign students and former students in their home in Princeton, NJ.
Michelle M. Williams is an editor at a major educational publisher. A former French teacher, she has taught students ranging form 2 years old to adults, in both the public and private sectors. She is currently a private French tutor to a young Olympic-hopeful figure skater. She is a firm believer in making the language fun and accessible to all who want to learn. Her most rewarding experience, however, is in watching and listening to her 3-year-old son, Nathaniel, learn to speak and sing in French.
Dominique Wenzel has been a freelance teacher of French and translator for 15 years. Born and raised in France, she received a Master's degree from the University of Paris-Sorbonne and studied at the University of Chicago on a postgraduate Fulbright scholarship. Her students include business professionals, children, and adults of all levels and interests. She travels regularly to France. Dominique raised two bicultural, bilingual children who are both active in the international field.
Table of Contents
Part I: Getting Started.
Chapter 1: You Already Know a Little French.
Chapter 2 : The Nitty Gritty: Basic French Grammar.
Chapter 3: Bonjour! Hello! Greetings and Introductions.
Part II: French in Action.
Chapter 4: Getting to Know You: Making Small Talk.
Chapter 5 : Bon Appétit! Dining Out and Going to the Market.
Chapter 6: Shopping Made Easy.
Chapter 7: Going Out on the Town.
Chapter 8: Enjoying Yourself: Recreation.
Chapter 9: Talking on the Phone.
Chapter 10: At the Office and around the House.
Part III: French on the Go.
Chapter 11: Money, Money, Money.
Chapter 12: Where Is the Louvre? Asking Directions.
Chapter 13: Staying at a Hotel.
Chapter 14: Transportation.
Chapter 15: Travel Abroad.
Chapter 16: Handling Emergencies.
Part IV: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Pick Up French Quickly.
Chapter 18: Ten Things Never to Say.
Chapter 19: Ten Favorite French Expressions.
Chapter 20: Ten Holidays to Remember.
Chapter 21: Ten Phrases That Make You Sound French.
Part V: Appendixes.
Appendix A: Verb Tables.
Appendix B: Mini-Dictionary.
Appendix C: About the CD.
Book Registration Information.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I purchased this book hoping that the audio files were attached. FAIL! It's a decent book for beginners but fellow nookers beware there are no audio files.
Apparently one must already know how to speak French before reading this book. I thought the emphasis should have been more on everyday language and grammar rather than if I'm going to the 'theatre'.
This book jumps right into French vocabulary and conversations without covering any basics that you need. You'll definitely need a French-English dictionary to explain the details that the authors leave out. I found a few mistakes in this book (See page 140), which left me wondering if they were teaching the grammar correctly. The audio CD repeats the French 'Hi, how are you', over and over. More time should have been spent on other words. The narrator sounds like a fourth grade teacher as she would speak to her students.
This book is very nice, I'm about half way through it. It is layed out in a helpful way especially if you are a traveller, and goes over those important topics (restraunt ordering, hotels, how to use French phones, etc.) Not being a traveller, I wish it would focus more on everyday topics and conjugations, which is why I gave it four stars. If you're just looking for a sturdy introduction to French, or a little more than a travellers book, this is for you! The attatched CD is good too, slow enough to understand but still at a pace French speakers would use.