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French With Michel Thomas Complete Course CD (Audio CD)

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Author: Michel Thomas / Genre: Languages / Narrator: Michel Thomas

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      06.03.2011 02:56
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      Definately a winner

      I'm fortunate enough to have spoken French since I was a child. But in recent years i've not really used it very much and needed a bit of a refresher. I also "learnt" Spanish with the Michel Thomas method a few years ago to compliment my a-level studies. I was impressed to say the least.

      Allow me to set the scene; you're in a classroom with Michel, there's two other students. He starts by teaching you a phrase, I think the phrase in the French one is "C'est posible" meaning it is possible, or this is possible. Then one of the students repeats, then you repeat, and finally Michem says the phrase correctly for reference. In this way one builds up sentences really quickly, such that within an hour of the CD's you're saying things like "would you like to come for dinner with me tonight" and "do you have a reservation for me tonight".

      This is all very useful. And the method is INCREDIBLE. I've never learnt so fast, and have since gone on to learn Italian and German using this method. There's no FORMAL grammar, or FORMAL vocabulary. But it just kind of builds up without you realising. Its surprising at how many sentences you can form from a combination of a few words.

      The introduction is VERY forceful that you should not try to learn... and just play along. He even goes as far as to say "no trying to remember outside of this tape" which is a bit odd I always found, but works none the less.

      I do however, have a few issues with the Michel Thomas method;

      Firstly, his accent is a bit.... off. I've noticed this with the Spanish tape also. He sounds authentic, but he doesn't really have the same register that a native has. With the French tapes especially, there were times when he spoke worse than a year 9 trying to say "bonjour". Being honest this isnt a HUGE issue since you'll be understood regardless.

      Secondly, and more importantly to me, the grammar is a bit off. In this 8-hour course. He uses the pronouns, I, he/she, we, they.... because in French he/she/they also doubles as you/you plural in formal settings. The problem with this is that he never alludes to this in the intro CD's. Only if you purchase the advanced course does he persue this. As a french speaker I found it difficult to listen to him teaching after I realised how he was doing it , since, in 90% of situations, nobody speaks in this formal way, it just sounds archaic and old. If you just want some basic French for holidays, then yeah, thats fine. But I do worry about the people trying to use Michel Thomas to study from, since this will leave severe gaps in their knowledge and imbed incorrect information which takes effort to unlearn

      Thirdly, and on a veeeeery minor note. The two other class members on the french tape are just... terrible. They have really distracting english accents. I don;t know why Michel didn't go out of his way to find students with nice, neutral accents.

      Overall, I do applaud Michel. I think its a great shame that he's no longer on this earth. His tapes im sure have led soooooo many people to give languge learning a try.

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      27.02.2011 20:53
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      An amazing teacher who will have you conversing in French within days.

      Michel Thomas is renowned for being one of the worlds greatest language teachers. His original and enjoyable way of teaching languages means that you never have to pick up a pen or do any tedious exercises that make you feel like your back at school. His teaching methods ensure that the language is absorbed rather than learnt, therefore acquiring your new language in much the same way as you picked up your mother tongue.

      Michel's past is as interesting and remarkable as his teaching skills and it is his life experiences which fuelled and developed his passion for teaching. During the Second World War, he was kept in a French concentration and slave labour camp for two horrific years and tortured, only narrowly avoiding being sent to Auschwitz by escaping. It was during this terrifying period that he managed to develop the ability to block out pain and discovered the potential of the human mind. His exceptional ability with languages meant that he was able to adopt many identities and mastered more than ten languages. He has taught celebrities new languages in only three days including Barbara Streisand and Bob Dylan. He sadly died in 2005 but remains an inspiration and mentor to learners everywhere.

      The French Complete Course is a set of CDs that is designed for complete beginners or those who need to refresh their memories. Even if you already have a grasp on the language, I'd advise that you go from the beginning with this course so that you get used to his methods as all of his teaching is linked together. Over eight hours, he gives you a comprehensive grasp of the structure of the language, enabling you to communicate with confidence. He makes learning even easier by comparing words that are similar in English and French, embedding them in your memory. He is successful because he gives you the sentence structure and vocabulary necessary for holding a conversation in French.

      Learning takes place in real time so there's no need to rewind or take notes. His voice is soothing and gentle and at times, you are not even consciously listening. You can listen to him speak while you are driving to work, so that you are making good use of your time. It really is that simple. He talks, you listen and before you know it, you can hold a conversation in French. It is better than learning from a book because he teaches you how to pronounce the words properly so that you will be understood when talking.

      It's interactive and you are involved throughout the process. When he asks you how to say something, you can pause the CD until you have thought of the answer. This method works with your brain and helps you to build up the language in enjoyable steps by thinking for yourself. There's no stress, no anxiety, no homework or grammar exercises. It is a fun and enjoyable way to learn a new language. You learn by listening and speaking and you pick up the language naturally and unforgettably. I have used these CDs to help me become fluent in both Italian and French and even after a few years, I can still remember it.

      The CDs are available from books stores such as WHSmiths and also online. They're expensive costing around £65 so you may want to try finding a second hand copy or learning from them in their individual sets one at a time, which cost around £20. The only thing that may annoy you about these CD's are the two learners involved. You listen as Michel teaches them the language from scratch and their mistakes can be irritating to listen to. But I think of it as a compliment to your learning if you know the answer while you wait for them to say it! On the negative side, you can sometimes find yourself copying the mistakes!

      I can't praise Michele Thomas and his techniques strongly enough. An enjoyable and fun way to learn a new language.

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        05.11.2010 18:28
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        An incredible life, and an incredible introduction to French

        "You are about to experience a new way of learning"

        Michel Thomas delivers the first words of his French Language course in a distinctly authoritative and sagacious manner. The techniques he has developed, he goes on to say, will involve merely listening and responding. No learning by rote. No writing. No memorising. The responsibility for learning rests solely with the teacher, he reassuringly states. As this introduction forms part of a teaser introductory course, originally sold separately from the full content, you'd be forgiven for dismissing this as Americanised sales hyperbole. Perhaps it is, yet it renders the course no less effective. Thomas fully deserves his status as an internationally esteemed linguist and teacher, as this eight-hour Foundation box set and its Advanced supplement left me with a better grasp of French grammar than did five years of schooling.

        By any standards, Thomas' life was a remarkable one. Polish born of wealthy descent, he studied in Bordeaux and Vienna, before the Second World War witnessed his metamorphosis into a resistance fighter. Even changing his name from Moniek Krosfkof to a more Gallic moniker couldn't spare him from capture, enslavement, and torture by the Nazis, although he would eventually exact his revenge: playing a pivotal role in the capture of thousands of war criminals after the German capitulation. It was only subsequent to this and his emigration to the U.S. that Thomas devised and perfected his teaching methods. At first only working with diplomats, royalty, and celebrities, he opened a series of language institutes in America, before an appearance on a TV documentary in the mid 90's led to the commissioning of his pre-recorded courses. Their reception was incredible.

        By the point of these recordings, Thomas was into his eighties, yet his abundant enthusiasm for teaching and charismatic persona will quickly invigorate anyone with memories of daydreaming through tedious French lessons as a child. His blueprint is quite simple; indoctrinate the spoken work first, and the written word will follow as a matter of course. When you consider how small children adopt language, it's amazing our school curriculum took so long to realise this. Thomas is emphatic in his insistence that students follow the phonetics of everyday French, passing on all the abbreviations and dropped vowels that render the spoken word so drastically different to its written counterpart. That isn't to say Thomas isn't a stickler for accuracy; grammar, pronunciation and intonation are enforced almost regimentally - hardly surprising for a man who once trained as a Commando.

        To facilitate a more organic learning experience, Thomas employs a live classroom environment. Two authentic students - one American, one British - form two thirds of a three-student classroom, with the intention that you constitute the final third. The prologue is encouraging; Thomas observes that thousands of words commonly used in modern English are a mere tonal adjustment away from becoming their usable French ancestors. When employing these in conversation, I'd advise checking you're not using one of the numerous false friends found in the Anglo-French translation, but it serves as an initial boost to confidence.

        The two students, especially the American woman, who I'm sure the publishers found staggering out of a nearby pub, are at the very basic end of French comprehension. Having retained some GCSE French from school, I found the pace quite slow at first, with Thomas battling to introduce simple concepts of differing verb conjugations depending on the subject. The American clearly had no French whatsoever and/or was apparently out of her mind on Gin at the time, and slows the whole process down to the point Thomas almost completely abandons her by the fifth disc. I was literally screaming the answers at her when stopped at some traffic lights one day on the way to work, which was quite embarrassing when I turned to see an adjacent motorist staring back at me with concern.

        Minor frustrations aside, I found Thomas' informal methods enjoyable. It's ostensibly a grammatical tuition, and vocabulary is never expressly taught in isolation, more as a by-product of the learning process. Thomas builds on the same or similar phrases in English for French translation throughout, with an accompanying correction once the students offer a response. His fussiness with regard to pronunciation can be irritating sometimes; he often repeatedly corrects the students when to my ear there is no difference, but by the conclusion of disc eight, and especially once you progress to his Advanced course, you'll begin to appreciate why. French is a grammatically finicky language in comparison to English, with the scope for beginners to alter the entire tense or meaning of a phrase with a simple error in conjugation or gender. Thomas goes to great lengths to explain the myriad ways to humiliate yourself, and dispenses some useful techniques to circumvent the problems, usually by clipping and merging words as native speakers do.

        His style won't suit everyone - he'll often meander into discourse on language evolution and the French influence on English - but if you subscribe to his mantra of 'guess vocabulary but never grammar', you'll appreciate that even these monologues are merely reinforcing your comprehension. The art in Thomas' technique lays in the almost complete absence of jargon; instead you'll be trained to process quite complex grammatical structures through abstractions such as diving boards and door handles, without the need to comprehend the meaning of the imperfect tense and suchlike.

        All this theory is wonderful, but the decisive test for any language course is in practice. Having just bought a house in France, I was looking forward to practicing on our new neighbour, Albert. Usually on a visit, even catching sight of a French person plunges me into a cold sweat, just in case they tried to converse and my complete Brit-abroad ignorance made itself apparent. Anyone with a basic command of a foreign language will know that, when talking to a native, you are one or two carefully rehearsed phrases away from making a prize dick of yourself, usually when they assume you're fluent and respond at their normal incomprehensible tempo. This is the point the conversation breaks down, and you realise that smugly asking them what they thought of the macro-economic policy of the present government was a terrible idea.

        I saw Albert lingering by the fence, and bravely offered him a 'Ca va?' This was usually the start and end of our conversations, followed by some pointing at the sun and puffing of cheeks, then dementedly smiling at each other in an awkward Mexican stand off of shared unilingual silence. I can't say it was an unerring success, but I at least managed to inform Albert that we were indeed learning French, that we were going home the following Friday, and that we would be demolishing an outbuilding once we had finished decorating the house. Admittedly, most of his replies sailed higher over my head than a passing Ryanair flight to Bordeaux, but I walked back to the house with at least some sense of satisfaction. I felt like I was actually learning conversational French, rather then the usual phrasebook rubbish that's only of practical use when you're looking for the train station or library.

        I wouldn't say Michel Thomas is going to 'teach you French' in the strictest interpretation of the phrase. I'd also caution that whilst he claims to have extinguished the need for rote learning, I'd argue that learning by definition is a process facilitated by repetition; it's an unavoidable demand of the human brain. I needed to revisit the entire set many times over before the more complicated concepts sunk in, and I'd also advise you to supplement this course with reading French papers or news websites, and scanning Long Wave on your radio for some distant French station. In fairness, Thomas advises you do this as well. Trust me, you'll be surprised at what you've learned, but also intimidated by how much remains. Learning a language properly is a commitment of many years, and this course is merely a baby step on a long and frustrating journey. That said, I couldn't imagine a more engaging and inspiring character to wave you "Au revoir".

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          19.09.2009 13:40

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          aazing course for anyone wanting to learn french

          This course is fantastic, it is presented by world famous language teacher Michel Thomas. The difference between this and other language courses is that you simply do not learn by repeating what is said. Incredibily, as simple grammar and vocabularly are introduced you teach your self. The set up is this: Michel Thomas teaches to two students, in this foundation french course the woman is quite annoying as she is pretty dumb. However, after explaing a principle of giving a few words, you are asked to pause the cd and produce the sentence in french asked for in English by Michel. Then you press play and the students have a go themselves with Michel finally giving the correct version of the sentence. Some people complain that Michel is not a naitive speaker or that he mumbles or that the students are annoying. To varying degrees all of these things are correct but it does not take away from the fact that overall the course is incredible. If you were someone who did French at school and never got further than please and thank you, you will learn more French in these 8 hours and have a complete understanding of what your saying than years worth of class room study. Brilliant.

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          31.07.2009 19:26
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          If you have failed before it is because Michel Thomas wasn't your teacher

          Are you one of the thousands of people in the UK who put- learn a language- on their new year resolutions list? If so, the odds are that you have been planning to learn one for years.

          Let us say you have decided to learn French. You love the idea of speaking some of the language when you next visit - as opposed to doing the normal English trick of speaking slower and louder with laboured annunciation in the hope that works as some sort of magical translation tool.

          But you are busy, the thought of attending night classes, doesn't fit your lifestyle, you know you won't keep it up. You also are not over enamoured with the prospect of homework and constant repetition practising. You may have even tried before and you can manage in a restaurant now, unless anyone asks you something you haven't rehearsed, but that's your limit. The little you do know, with the exception of the odd word has to be translated in your head before it comes out of your mouth. So with all that in mind you had better forget it - don't you think? Pre Michel Thomas's 8 hour CD French course- the answer would be yes- but he has come along with very very strict instructions- NO PENS NO PAPER NO HOMEWORK NO MEMORISING.

          You just listen-simple as that - do it and prepare to be amazed at how much you will know by the end of the first CD never mind the rest of the course. You will soon learn how many words are changed from English to French by a simple alteration to the word ending, leading you to feel very chuffed that you already have a very large French vocabulary by the end of the first CD. Now a large vocabulary isn't conversation, but with the help of some very simple instructions you will know by the end of the first CD how to form sentences. When I refer to sentences I do not mean - "my aunt is in the garden"- I mean - "Yes, we had an interesting conversation about the political and economic situation at the present time in France".

          Michel Thomas has taught individuals such as Princess Grace. Eddie Izzard and Mel Gibson to speak French as well as being used by companies such as American Express.

          If you have never been able to learn a language before, I would strongly recommend you invest in this course- it isn't cheap- I paid £60 for mine, but is often available at a discount. But compare that to other courses, that to my mind are not as good and it is a very favourable price.

          You will feel as if you are getting somewhere after just a few minutes and after the first lesson your confidence will be better than on any other language learning experience.

          You will be pleased to hear the course is designed for absolute beginners.

          Michel Thomas is renowned for not only teaching the rich and famous, but also a group of 16 year olds from North London. They had been told they would never be able to learn a language, but after a week their language skills amazed everyone, everyone that is except Michel Thomas.

          The advantage of a CD course means there is no time limit, you can go as fast or as slow as you wish.

          From my experience you will be so amazed at your success that you will be keen to continue as soon as you can and itching to book a Eurostar ticket and show off your newly learned skills in France.

          Now of course like any skill, you get rusty if you aren't using it all the time-it isn't that you have forgotten what you knew, you just need a refresher. So prior to your next trip just listen thru the course again and it will come back to you very quickly.

          Forgot those lessons from school, the slate is wiped clean- not that you will need it - No writing remember??

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          03.10.2005 01:24
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          Makes learning French an easy and fun process with no remembering, textbooks or homework

          Why do you want to learn French? Is it for a pleasure trip or holiday across the water to visit the fabulous cities of our European cousins? Perhaps you are off on a business trip, have French clients or would like some French clients? Maybe you have French friends? Maybe you just like the sound of the language? Or perhaps you have other reasons...

          Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn French one thing is for certain - you want it to be as easy and as fun as possible and with the least amount of hard work. Right!

          How do you like the sound of NO TEXTBOOKS, NO TRYING TO MEMORISE ANYTHING and NO HOMEWORK TO DO? Yes? Well that's what appealed to me too!

          So how does it differ from the other French courses available? You have just 8 one hour CDS to listen to. On the CD you have Michel (the teacher) and a couple of complete beginer students. Michel gives you an enormous vocabularly of French words in one fell swoop by telling you that over 60% of the words in English come from the French. Which means that you already know thousands of them already. How's that for filling you with instant confidence?

          Without giving too much away, take for example all the words in English ending in "able" eg comfortable or table. According to Michel they all come from the French - the only thing that is different is the pronunciation. When you know the correct pronunciation you have an instant vocabulary that you don't need to try and remember because it's the same as English. Michel teaches you all these other similarities and their correct French pronunciation.

          Michel then gives you (and the two students on the CD) a few new words with an easy way to remember them by creating an association in English. This was the key for me! For example the verb "allez" which means "to go" Michel points out that it is similar to the English word "alley" so you can remember it by thinking "allez - as in TO GO through the alley".

          With the new words he asks you all to string those words together to make a sentence. The idea is that you then pause the CD, work it out for yourself and say it aloud. Then you unpause the CD and listen to the students have a go.

          Personally I found it easier and more of a challenge to not bother pausing the CD but instead to try and shout out my answer before the students.

          I noticed that the students sometimes get it wrong and it is clear they are absolute beginners - this just makes you feel even more confident when you get it right.It's quite amusing when Michel gets all irritated when the one student doesn't do as she's told and he has to tell her off for "trying to remember"

          From there each lesson adds a few more words (with appropriate English associations)and Michel asks you more and more complicated questions using a combination of all the words you have already learned. The incredible thing is that it doen't feel like you're having a French lesson. In fact it doesn't feel like any kind of learning I've ever done before. It just feels like 4 people having a chat.

          I have a couple of French friends and I was honoured when they commented on how good my pronunciation was. This is because Michel tells you exactly how French people speak in conversation and just as not everybody in England speaks the "Queen's English" neither do the French. One example in use is "je ne comprend pas" (i do not understand) if you were in a normal French lesson you would probably be told to pronouce each word exactly, whereas the French would make it more like "je-n comprend pas" it is only a tiny distinction but one that makes a big difference.

          In a nutshell:
          I enjoyed learning French with this CD set and I believe you will too. I gained permanent results very rapidly and as with most things in life there is a reason why a Ferrari costs more than a Fiat. I believe the price clearly reflects the quality. I've even gone out and bought the Italian CD set too.

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            28.03.2004 17:11
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            I can't actually can't recomment this enough its too unbelievable. I need to improve my French as I was going away to France. I learnt French at school but I really couldn't even tring a sentence together so when I got Michel Thomas out I was gobsmacked. He uses to beginners - an English man and an Amercian woman, but you feel as if though you are in the class as well. It's amazing. Michel Thomas takes things slowly and makes it so easy to understand another language you wonder why you were so confused before. About 20 minutes into the first CD (there are 8 CDs) you feel that you can speak a lot of basic French already, and have the knowledge to form sentences and talk a bit about everyday things. The sound is clear and Michel is a great teacher, although unfortunately I didn't manage to finishthe course as I had to rteturn it to the library. I got half way through the course and I go into French chatrooms and no one guesses that I'm not French. You must must must buy this French course (or get it from your library!).

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              26.11.2003 05:33
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              Michel Thomas is undoubtedly a remarkable and talented man with many achievments under his belt. Not only has he been a language teacher for 50 years (surely enough to push anyone over the edge?) but he also escaped from a French concentration camp and the Gestapo. It was his wartime experiences which opened his eyes to the importance of education in a free society. Having studied in France, Germany and Austria - enabling him to learn a variety of dialects - he was ideally placed to start a language school. He adopted a unique approach to learning, and since 1947 has taught thousands personally, and thousands more impersonally through the use of his language courses. ***The Michel Thomas Approach*** Michel's method focuses not on memorisation, homework or copying down. Instead he breaks a language down to it's basic components adding extra parts on little by little. I will tell you more about this below. ***The CD Course*** The Course consists of 8 CD's. Each CD is an hour long and features Michel "teaching" two students - a male and a female. The first 2 CD's are classed as the beginners introduction (the course can be bought in different sets of 2 CD's but this works out quite expensive). It starts off by Michel offering a little background into his teaching methods. He explains how he will teach you and what he wants you to do - "Do NOT try and memorise" - is one of his stricter commands! He then introduces a few words and tells you their meaning and asks the students to repeat the words. Michel tries to pick out similarities between the words and English words. For instance he picks on the word possible - spelt the same in French just pronounced slightly differently - and encourages you to think about how many other words are the same in French and English. He then adds in other words to the string. He may teach you the word "where". He will then teach you the word "goi
              ng". He will string these together to make the phrase "Where are you going?". He may then add on other words e.g. "Where are you going tonight?" It is with this repetetive method that you soon pick up basic words. Michel moves on and then loops back to words taught earlier in the course. Each time there is a suitable gap in the tape for you to think about what he is asking you to say and piece together the phrase. At the start of the first CD there is even a beep to prompt you when you're input is needed. The students will also say the phrase and they often make mistakes. I found I was sometimes making similar mistakes so this was useful as Michel could then point out where I went wrong. It was also a bit of an ego boost to know I was not completely stupid and the mistakes I was making were common. As you move onto the more advanced CD's you pick up more difficult phrases - "What's your impression of the political and economical situation in France at the present time" being one of them. Although this may not seem like something you are likely to use too often it pieces together many useful components. For instance you learn the several different mini-phrases in this: "What's your impression" - could easily be slipped into converstaion when finding out about different attractions whilst on holiday, "political" - could come up in a sentence you're trying to decipher, the same with "economical", and "at the present time" could easily come into play. This is what Michel Thomas is all about - giving you the knowledge you need to create your own sentences as you range of vocabulary increases. ***Who Is It For?*** The course is aimed at complete beginner's or those with a basic knowledge e.g. learned it in school. I think it is easier to learn from Michel if you are a complete beginner as you can immediately stamp out any bad habits you develop! ***My Experience*** I was first introduced to Michel's technique back in December 2002. My dad was keen on learning French (again), having looked at properties in Guadeloupe, and had no time for evening classes. I decided to have a swift look at Amazon's selection of language learning tools. I came across Michel's course almost instantly and it had rave reviews. Without much thought I snapped a copy up. My dad took to playing the CD's in the car on the way to work. I decided I would like to improve my French as well. I jumped in at CD 4 - having a fair grasp of the language already - and found Michel's approach very fresh. It was easy to pick up and he helped me erase the bad sentence formation I had picked up from somewhere! The other students were handy but also a little annoying - the woman is just so thick! Luckily she seems to have disappeared for the later recordings! The CD's do require a little patience and concentration. One thing I noticed with the French set is that you cannot skip forward - a bonus in that you can't miss parts but slightly annoying that you have to start from the beginning each time! I now have the German version as well and this has divided each CD into 10 tracks which I prefer because I do not always have the time - or energy to listen to the CD the whole way through. I can listen to a few sections, then go back if I don't think I've fully absorbed them. That is one of the courses blessings - you can learn at your own pace. If you think you're struggling or some of the words and phrases haven't fully sunk in you can stop and listen to them again and again and again until you're ready to move on! I prefer to listen to the CD's in 20 minute sessions. If I listen to too much at once I switch off slightly! Since using Michel I have developed a confident approach to languages which has stood me in good stead on foreign visits thus far. It has also given me a stable
              base from which to further improve my vocabulary. Don't expect Michel to give you a complete grasp of perfect French straightaway - he won't. But what you will be provided with is a sound vocabulary and the ability to correctly piece together your own sentences. As with any language the best way learn is to use the language! ***Packaging*** The course comes in quite a large plastic box with 4 CD's strapped to either side. It is quite big and bulky and although it looks nice on a bookshelp I personally would prefer something a little smaller and more like a traditional CD case. I find the CD's do not stay in their positions very well so have just left the box on the shelf and have the discs in a seperate holder. ***Cost*** Amazon is surely the best place to buy the course - selling the package for £49.99 - compared with over £60 at WHSmith! This may seem quite steep but once you have experience the quality of the teaching you will fully appreciate it. If you correlate the course with evening classes for instance you could pay the same amount for a term of lessons and learn basically the same amount. Here you can take your time and learn when it suits you - without any homework! You can also go over previous "lessons" time and time again! ***Other Products From The Michel Thomas Range*** The language courses are available not only in French but in German, Spanish and Italian too. The same languages also feature in Michel's "Language Builders" - these offer a wider range of vocabulary. Christopher Robbins has also written a biography of Michel's extraordinary life called "The Test of Courage"

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                17.07.2003 06:40
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                PLEASE NOTE: the lack of capital letters are due to a glitch with the site, and not because of bad punctuation on my part! Allow me to get straight to the point. If you are serious about learning French, Spanish, German or Italian, and you have the money to spare, I would advise buying the full 8 hour course straight away. If you buy the 2 hour introductory course first, it will just be a waste of money, because I can guarantee you you will want to buy the full course after listening to it. I'm a Spanish graduate and so Michel's teaching style really intrigues me. It is truly unique and extremely effective. You will find that you will remember almost all of the vocabulary without much effort - compared to a very low retention rate from traditional courses. Michel focuses entirely on the spoken language and some people may find themselves fighting this method at first. That's only natural, because we are trained in school to rely on visual aids to remember things.... vocabulary lists, flash cards, videos, OHPs.... but when you consider how you learnt your mother tongue, you'll realize that our brain is wired up to learn a language in a auditory way. He spells out some of the trickier words, but for the most part you need to think of yourself as a child and absorb all of the information eagerly, not worrying about spellings. You can learn the spellings later, after you have finished the course.... just as a child learns to read and write his native language after he has learnt how to speak it. The format of the course is great; it's very informal. It is a recording of Michel teaching two students who, like you, have little or no prior knowledge of the language. You will feel like you are the third student in the class. It is vital to pause the tape/CD when Michel asks how to say something. Take as much time as you need to think of your answer... he will never ask anything that has not already been fully explained
                . As a language graduate, I have tried MANY textbooks, tapes, courses, videos, classes.... and I can guarantee you that thi s is the most effective, natural and stress-free approach to language learning that you will ever come across. At the end of the eight hours, you will find that you have a good, solid working knowledge of the structure of the language on which to build. As for further study, I would advise trying to get hold of a second hand copy of Margarita Madrigal's Magic Key to French (it's out of print now). It uses the same sort of methods as Michel, but you can see the words written down and can practise your own writing skills. One last thing - shop around on the internet for the best price for Michel's course, the prices really vary. I bought the full French course for just under £50 at amazon.co.uk but have seen it in the shops here in the UK for £70. I think it is cheaper from American sites. Enjoy!

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              • Product Details

                Michel Thomas's approach to language learning aims to provide in a few hours a functional working knowledge of a language without books, note-taking or conscious memorizing. This CD provides an eight-hour course in French.