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spacer all reviews > > > French software

Learn to Speak French

The Learning Company

Ages 10 to adult

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Learn to Speak French Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Learn to Speak French offers a computer-based approach to the sometimes challenging task of learning a foreign language. The CD begins with basic greetings, vocabulary, and questions, and extends all the way to cultural films about Paris, history, cultural topics, France, etc. to help the user achieve language proficiency on a beginner/intermediate level. Each section presents a real- life situation and dialogue where grammar and vocabulary are developed and reinforced.  

Learn to Speak French includes a text/workbook and user guide.   It is equipped with an audio capability, which tells a microphone quipped user how accurately their accent is on a scale of tourist > native speaker.   There are grammar exercises, comprehension, and listening.   Dialogue is geared to imparting useful information and conversation for both travelers and business people. Users may elect to hide the written translation of what is being said in French or they may read along in French or see the English translation.   Different native speakers are used so one is exposed to the normal variation of dialogue.

Several games are included for a change of pace: Go Fish, Crossword Puzzle, Question Derby Matter of Fact, and more.  

The chapters move in a sensible, building-block fashion and are clearly presented while the exercises support and reinforce material introduced. Short film clips review cultural and historical points of interest.

Educational Value
Learn to Speak French is a thoughtful, comprehensive package, which provides the student with the necessary tools and groundwork for learning a foreign language at the beginning/intermediate level.   It presents the information in concise, useful chapters and reinforces learning through a variety of tests, questions, and games that repeat the information.   Written, listening and spoken skills are continually tested and reinforced. 

It is all here for the taking in a pretty, easy to use package - but make no mistake - learning a language doesn't just happen by osmosis.   It still requires a lot of discipline and effort by the user.  For those willing to make that investment, Learn to Speak French will do much to facilitate enjoyment of the process at your own pace.  

Kid Appeal
The audio- visual offerings of Learn to Speak French make it less tedious than sitting in a classroom listening to someone drone on and on, or filling in blanks on worksheets.    If you have questions, don't understand what it said, or want to listen again to intonation, a click of the mouse at your own pace without embarrassment easily repeats material.   The chapters are broken up in logical segments and the exercises aren't too long.   Games and film clips break up the tedium when users tire of the more traditional motif. Teenagers anxious to learn a foreign language and willing to work at it will find this more fun than sitting in a classroom or perhaps provide a valuable adjunct to what they have attempted to learn in class but haven't mastered. But be warned, for the unmotivated it will be a waste of time.

Ease of Use / Install
On our test machine, the installation went without a hitch. Navigation through the program was straightforward.   Written instructions and workbooks were clearly presented.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Great for those who really want to learn or achieve fluency with their foreign language skills.  But be realistic. It doesn't happen in your sleep or overnight with a quick breeze-thru approach.   Learn to Speak French does require individual input but this is an enjoyable and thorough way to get it; especially for those without intuitive foreign language skills who need lots of reinforcement (like this reviewer!) without the performance pressure sometimes felt in a classroom situation.   Teenagers and adults will find this a valuable tool.

See the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this Windows -only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows® 95/98, Pentium® 90 MHz or faster cpu, 16 MB RAM, SVGA 256 color display, 4X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compatible sound card .

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium III - 700 running Windows ME, with 128MB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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