Getting Started with French {a TOS reveiw}

Years ago I took a semester of French in high school. I did pass the class, but the language was so difficult for me that I moved on to Spanish the following year, taking 2 full semesters. Fast forward to life with kids where I buy little French word books for the kids thinking I can teach them the very basics.  Spoiler alert:  I can't if I can't even pronounce the words!  See, in Spanish class we were taught the alphabet and the authentic sounds.  In French class we never had that training, so if I look at the word in a picture book I might know what it means, but I can not figure out how to pronounce it.  I thought it would help to enroll my daughter into a semester with an online French class, which was lovely except we were both still confused on reproducing the sound(s) of a lot of words we heard. 

After all our struggles I seen this book from Armfield Academic Press, called Getting Started with French, and to be honest thought there was no way I could self-teach or learn from just a book.  That is, until I previewed the book on their website and got the sample of Lesson 7.  You mean to tell me that garçon is pronounced like "gahr-soh" not "gar-sahn"!?  Goodbye American accent and hello French accent!

With this preview, showing that the author uses phonetic spelling to help us understand, I was practically begging to be allowed to review Getting Started with French.

Getting Started with French


There are 172 short lessons in this non-consumable book, with each lesson taking only a few minutes.  Throughout the lessons there are exercises provided so the student(s) can practice and translate new vocabulary learned.  This is done either written or narratively, with the answers provided for us in the back of the book.

French expressions are also sprinkled throughout the lessons, providing us with little tidbits of information about some well known phrases or words such as déjà vu or Mardi Gras.

At the website you will find free MP3 recordings of the pronunciation, spoken by a native French speaker, and lesson commentaries from the authors. 

The Lessons

The lessons are structured in one of two ways.  If a new word is being introduced, the new vocabulary word and it's meaning will be shown at top, then a brief explanation is provided on how to pronounce the word or why to use that particular word.  Another way a lesson is presented is in a brief lesson about a particular sound (like the French r sound) or another important grammar lesson.

How this book was used in our homeschool
 
The book is intended to be used as a resource for self-teaching.  However, I used it for myself and my two oldest children, ages 9 and 6.  We'd sit together and they would follow along as I read aloud the lesson.  They would complete any exercises with me, verbally.
 
It wasn't until Lesson Six, The R Sound, that all previous struggles I have had finally came to light.  All along, in previous attempts to learn French, I would hear a word and try to say it never quite grasping why some words I'd say would never sound like the word I was hearing.  In lesson 6 the authors explain how to form your lips and tongue to make an authentic French r sound - very much different than our English r!
 
One particular example (in past), of a word I struggled with, is the word sœur.  My daughter and I must have listened to that word spoken a hundred times and could still never quite figure out how to make ourselves sound like the example.  The answer?  The r sound. 
 
French pronunciation finally makes sense to me after all these years!  All it took was a very well written book and in only a few short lessons I finally can grasp how to make French words sound French.  And I'm sure my husband is nothing short of in love with how often I have gone around the house chanting Paris (pah-ree). 
 
To read additional reviews of Getting Started with French click the banner below: 
Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press} 
 
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