How well do you learn french in this course?

beckysarahi May 13, 2015, 3:44 am
Salut everyone! 
im starting my course here in Rocket french but i have a question for those who are advance or have already finished the course...
Were you able to read and speak french ones you finished this course? If yes, what suggestions can you give me to learn it fast...? and if not. What should we do?!! :S 
How well do you learn french in this course?
torusan May 14, 2015, 1:55 pm
Hopefully, others will chime in with their own experiences. I've mentioned my experience earlier on going to francophone cities after finishing RF Premium/Plus/Platinum, but here's my feedback anyway.

Was I able to read and speak French once I finished the course? - Yes. In both cities, I was able to order, make small talk (usually about learning French ), ask the métro attendant how to get to a station that required transferring, buy tickets, checkout of superettes (self-checkout and with a cashier), ask for directions, and check-in and out of the hotel.

Where I ran into a stumbling block was when my airport shuttle didn't arrive and their dispatch office was closed because it was early in the morning. I had to go back to the hotel service desk and explain the situation in English to ask for help...Read More
Hopefully, others will chime in with their own experiences. I've mentioned my experience earlier on going to francophone cities after finishing RF Premium/Plus/Platinum, but here's my feedback anyway.

Was I able to read and speak French once I finished the course? - Yes. In both cities, I was able to order, make small talk (usually about learning French ), ask the métro attendant how to get to a station that required transferring, buy tickets, checkout of superettes (self-checkout and with a cashier), ask for directions, and check-in and out of the hotel.

Where I ran into a stumbling block was when my airport shuttle didn't arrive and their dispatch office was closed because it was early in the morning. I had to go back to the hotel service desk and explain the situation in English to ask for help.

So, from my experience, I think RF is pretty good about throwing different scenarios that you may run into as a tourist or as a visitor in a francophone area, but to be truly adept at the language, you will need a lot more exposure and practice.

Anyway, so in my opinion, that "fast", efficient way to get you to start speaking/using French is RF, since I finished all the levels in just under a year and was able to manage. I wasn't at B2 level though after finishing the courses; I was at B1 towards B2 (I decided to start working with a tutor as a result of that trip, and that's how I tested then, before I started getting tutored).

I've mentioned these things before too, but I strongly suggest picking up a grammar work book or two and working through the exercises to supplement these lessons. I didn't pick one up until after I finished RF, and it would have made things a lot clearer. It's now been about two years since I finished the RF series, and I'm on my fifth grammar book (progressing through the Grammaire Progressive du Français series and also Practice Makes Perfect series) and I continue to learn and pick up useful things on usage and vocabulary. I also still continue to work with native French tutors (several times a week) to work on my oral comprehension and verbal communication.
How well do you learn french in this course?
Michael-W May 21, 2015, 11:07 pm
Bonjour Beckysarahi,
I have been toying with French on and off (mostly off) for years. I took a couple of years of it in high school and a year at university but that was so long ago it's barely a memory. Presently, I read it quite often (books and magazines) and also use grammar books for the exercises on various things. I find I can read and comprehend fairly well with the help of an ever present dictionary. However the one thing that has always been lacking is the speaking aspect of it. This is where Rocket French fills the void.

You can hear how the words are actually pronounced rather than try to guess based on the way they're spelled. You will notice as you progress that there are many words that are written the same in French as in English...Read More
Bonjour Beckysarahi,
I have been toying with French on and off (mostly off) for years. I took a couple of years of it in high school and a year at university but that was so long ago it's barely a memory. Presently, I read it quite often (books and magazines) and also use grammar books for the exercises on various things. I find I can read and comprehend fairly well with the help of an ever present dictionary. However the one thing that has always been lacking is the speaking aspect of it. This is where Rocket French fills the void.

You can hear how the words are actually pronounced rather than try to guess based on the way they're spelled. You will notice as you progress that there are many words that are written the same in French as in English. Some have the same meaning and some do not (faux amis). But in both cases they are rarely pronounced the same. For some reason the French have this strange French accent!!

So this is what I think is the biggest benefit of RF. I can't speak for anyone else, but in learning French I found my mouth just does not work in French. The combination of different sounds, the use of the mouth and tongue (and what's the deal with that rr !!) are all different that the American use of the mouth. RF helps to train the mouth by constant repetition in the exercises. Repeat again and again especially as the sentences get longer.

Now to really learn it, I also suggest what Torusan says above, you need to utilize other sources in addition to RF. Find grammar books that are at your level. Expand your vocab. RF presents a lot of various scenarios ( at the airport, hotel, taxi...) but what happens if you're strolling along the Seine ask someone, "Ou est le musee d'Orsay?" and they don't answer you exactly the way the lesson does? This is why you need to use additional resources. Also, I have found a lot of errors in the RF lessons in spelling and translations. So you need to start to see how the French structure their sentences as well as the words they use to convey the message. ex. "La maison dans laquelle j'habite."  This is translated as "The house I'm living in". However the literal translation is "The house in which I live" which is also a correct English translation and one everybody would understand, albeit a little outdated.

RF has many good qualities although it isn't the complete package. I don't think there is any one program that is. As I said above, find other resources to supplement RF but the main thing is to keep on keepin on.

Bon courage,
Michael

P.S. Torusan, what grammar books would you recommend for the intermediate level I currently am using "Ultimate French Review and Practice."
How well do you learn french in this course?
torusan May 22, 2015, 2:36 am
Salut Michael ! Ultimate French Review and Practice is a really good, comprehensive book. After that, I started on the "Practice Makes Perfect" series, and found some of them too easy. The Intermediate French Grammar (Kurbegov) is pretty good one to supplement, although you'll find that some of the early exercises pretty easy.

One striking difference between the Ultimate French book and the PMP Intermediate French is their explanation of how to form the present subjunctive, which I thought made them a nice complement to each other. Ultimate French said to use the "nous" to form the stem, which ended up causing some confusion. PMP said to use the third person plural to form the stem (except vous and nous) and instinctively, that made more sense...Read More
Salut Michael ! Ultimate French Review and Practice is a really good, comprehensive book. After that, I started on the "Practice Makes Perfect" series, and found some of them too easy. The Intermediate French Grammar (Kurbegov) is pretty good one to supplement, although you'll find that some of the early exercises pretty easy.

One striking difference between the Ultimate French book and the PMP Intermediate French is their explanation of how to form the present subjunctive, which I thought made them a nice complement to each other. Ultimate French said to use the "nous" to form the stem, which ended up causing some confusion. PMP said to use the third person plural to form the stem (except vous and nous) and instinctively, that made more sense.

For example, the present subjunctive for devoir would be formed like this:
Ultimate: nous devons -> stem: dev -> works for "nous devions" and vous deviez, but that's it.
Intermediate: ils doivent -> stem: doiv -> je doive/tu doives/il doive/ils doivent

You can probably also skip the Intermediate French book altogether and go to the Grammaire Progressive de Français instead (the blue book is intermediate), since you already took French in school and probably already have a good handle on conjugating tenses. Their approach is more thematic, done in one page digestible chunks of information, and it's all in French. I think for usage, this one is really helpful for subtleties in language.
How well do you learn french in this course?
Michael-W May 27, 2015, 11:31 pm
Hi Torusan,

Thanks for the tip on the grammar books. I'm in the U. S. and if you are, can you tell me if these are available at bookstores or are they online purchases only? The only bookstore chain remaining that I'm aware of is Barnes & Noble and the ones around me are very scanty on language books, especially French. Any thoughts on bookstores or websites would be appreciated.

Thanks again
How well do you learn french in this course?
torusan June 7, 2015, 8:22 pm
Hi Michael - W. Sorry for the late reply, I just got back from Scandinavia. As an aside, I noticed that only my hotel in Stockholm carried a French channel (not true of Oslo, Copenhagen or Helsinki), so if you ever want to keep up your French learning while on vacation... 

Ah, okay. Yes, I bought the books online. The Gramamire Progressive du Français was actually a recommendation by my tutor. I actually live too not far from the big Barnes and Noble store in downtown Manhattan, but even they didn't have much of a selection of French workbooks so I ended up ordering from Amazon.

 
How well do you learn french in this course?
mrc352 August 1, 2016, 12:25 am
torusan, can you recommend a good tutor in nyc? Thanks.
How well do you learn french in this course?
torusan August 1, 2016, 2:22 am
Oh, my tutors are actually online since Alliance Français (http://www.fiaf.org/frenchclasses/) charges an arm and a leg for tutoring.  Over the years, I've worked with several professional teachers and community tutors from italki and it's worked out well for me (teachers will plan lessons for you, tutors are more for conversation practice or if you're studying on your own and have grammar and usage questions). I like that you can target specific countries/regions whose accent you want to study.
How well do you learn french in this course?
jrdking October 7, 2016, 11:24 pm
To all who stumble upon this blog. My 2 cents based on my experience after studying French for about 700 hours and fluency in a couple of other languages. All programs and methods work if you are consistent.  I used many for French (Rosetta, Assimil, Pimsleur 5 levels, DLI, FSI, websites, etc...) but Rocket was the most enjoyable which helped with my motivation. Eventually you have to move to real material and speak with real people at which point all that passive vocabulary gets activated.  If you're in hurry, learn some phrases (rocket has a lot of useful phrases) and put them into SRS, get a tutor from italki (the cheapest possible) and speak a lot (and I mean a lot) and good luck understanding most of what is fired back at you . Otherwise, take your time and enjoy the process...Read MoreTo all who stumble upon this blog. My 2 cents based on my experience after studying French for about 700 hours and fluency in a couple of other languages. All programs and methods work if you are consistent.  I used many for French (Rosetta, Assimil, Pimsleur 5 levels, DLI, FSI, websites, etc...) but Rocket was the most enjoyable which helped with my motivation. Eventually you have to move to real material and speak with real people at which point all that passive vocabulary gets activated.  If you're in hurry, learn some phrases (rocket has a lot of useful phrases) and put them into SRS, get a tutor from italki (the cheapest possible) and speak a lot (and I mean a lot) and good luck understanding most of what is fired back at you . Otherwise, take your time and enjoy the process. Although you can communicate decently after a year, from my experience it took me 2 years (1400 hours) to flow in the language. Sucks but that's the reality. Unless you log in 700 hours in 3 months which is possible but highly unlikely.  Bonne chance!
How well do you learn french in this course?
Bob-D November 13, 2017, 3:52 pm
Does anyone have an opinion on the Francaise Authentique course/podcasts/blog?  I am at a spot where I want to continue to learn more French (having done all the Rocket Series and Travelogue as well), but not quite sure where to go now.  Francaise Authentique was created by a man named Johan, and he offers the course (looks like it is now a four part (pack) course, more for advanced speakers) online.  I did pack 1 and just am not sure if it is helpful or not.  It is entirely in French (no English whatsoever), and while I did learn some new words, Johan actually makes a number of grammatical mistakes.  So, if anyone wants to weigh in with thoughts about this course, or where would be the best place to go from here,  let me know.  Thanks.
How well do you learn french in this course?
torusan November 14, 2017, 12:42 am
My two cents... I checked out a few of the videos on youtube for Français Authentique and he seems to talk slowly (and not just the introductory video which was reaaaaalllly slow), so if one of your goals is to improve oral comprehension,  you're better off listening to French at a "normal speed". If you have Netflix or Hulu, try following a French serial like Les Revenants, Braquo or Engrenages (Spiral). This will acclimate you to more conversational French that's not entirely grammatical (dropped «ne», «tu as» and «tu es» are pronounced «t'as» and «t'es», slang).

I also recommend doing regular conversation practice with a tutor or language exchange partners, if you're not already doing so. It's the only way to really break through B2 level and be able to think on the fly without trying to compose sentences in your head all the time...Read More
My two cents... I checked out a few of the videos on youtube for Français Authentique and he seems to talk slowly (and not just the introductory video which was reaaaaalllly slow), so if one of your goals is to improve oral comprehension,  you're better off listening to French at a "normal speed". If you have Netflix or Hulu, try following a French serial like Les Revenants, Braquo or Engrenages (Spiral). This will acclimate you to more conversational French that's not entirely grammatical (dropped «ne», «tu as» and «tu es» are pronounced «t'as» and «t'es», slang).

I also recommend doing regular conversation practice with a tutor or language exchange partners, if you're not already doing so. It's the only way to really break through B2 level and be able to think on the fly without trying to compose sentences in your head all the time.

I also recommend reading contemporary fiction. Being able to read Proust is admirable, but no one talks like that in everyday life. Reading will improve your vocabulary exponentially. The next time you're in France, check out the book section of FNAC. They separate the Francophone authors from "translated into French" books, and you can leaf through the first few pages to see if the reading level is not too difficult for you.

As a tip, the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens is a high school level literature prize, and I've found some excellent authors that way like Laurent Gaudé, Philippe Claudel and David Foenkinos.

And there's Amélie Nothomb who's quite a character in real life. Here's a video of her explaining how her father (then a Belgian diplomat to Japan) became a Noh benshi narrator. Her writing style is a bit like this too: stories about seemingly little anecdotes, banal conversations, and observations that somehow come together into something quite memorable and even poignant. I've read roughly a dozen of her books so far, and I have yet to be disappointed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv5l2NUQ124
How well do you learn french in this course?
Bob-D November 14, 2017, 11:40 am
Thanks Torusan.  This is precisely the sort of information I am looking for.  In fairness to Johan, I understand that his later packs are spoken in what would be considered more "normal" speed.  But even in English I tend to speak much slower than most people I know, so I am sure there is some variation in French as well.

As you note, I am right at the B2 level, and many times still do have to think about what I am trying to say (in French) before actually saying it.  Not natural, so to speak.  Probably the next step is a tutor and I will check out the online opportunities there.  I do listen to French radio and music every day, and that has helped with trying to get a feeling for the speed of the language.

Thanks once more.
How well do you learn french in this course?
Meages November 16, 2017, 2:55 am
Bob-D,
If you happen to live in or near a large city, try finding a French meet up group.  I happened to run into one by chance in a French bakery.  It has made a huge difference with me.  Many of the attenders are from French speaking countries and we all sit around once a week talking French together.  The native French speakers are all eager to listen to us newbees without being too harsh, so my confidence level has greatly increased.  Ask around any French bakeries, cafes or restaurants.  They like to host these get-togethers.         
   Bonne Chance!
How well do you learn french in this course?
maysame-m April 18, 2018, 7:21 pm
hi 
. your answer is yes! but  you really need to step on continuously. i made a mistake and tap out from it and now i do am  really sorry about what i did.
just keep  going and you will get what you want
How well do you learn french in this course?

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