Angury
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Hello.

I am interested in learning French to at least a GCSE standard. I'm not planning to take any exams, just for fun and interest really. I have only learnt Spanish up to GCSE standard as well, but was surprised when I went to Spain last week and was able to get by on my Spanish - it has motivated me to learn as much as possible.

I have no experience of French - I recently started learning words on DuoLingo, and have looked up conjugations in the present tense for the most common verbs. I've also been listening to the alphabet through youtube videos to try and learn the pronunciation (which I am finding a bit difficult atm!).

I'm wondering which books I can buy to help me learn? I was looking at this book:

http://www.pearsonschoolsandfecolleg...ndEdition.aspx

Would it be worth buying? It covers a large range of topics, although I will not be buying the CD with it.

I would like to listen to some French music in the future, but at the moment I just need to become familiar with the language, understand the basic rules and learn some vocabulary.
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enimpri
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The Expo book isn't awful and would get you through the course, although I found it to be too full of pointless paragraphs that aren't really of any use - although if you want to break the grammar learning up then I guess that's an advantage.

To get to GCSE standard you basically just need vocabulary and grammar. There's a vocab list on the AQA website that's pretty adequate to get a safe knowledge of everyday words, and for grammar you could even just use about.com, or find any old grammar book on Amazon. GCSE is basically all the tenses (indicative, touch on the subjunctive), and agreement of adjectives etc. Any basic grammar book I'm sure would do the job. Good luck with it
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Angury
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(Original post by enimpri)
The Expo book isn't awful and would get you through the course, although I found it to be too full of pointless paragraphs that aren't really of any use - although if you want to break the grammar learning up then I guess that's an advantage.

To get to GCSE standard you basically just need vocabulary and grammar. There's a vocab list on the AQA website that's pretty adequate to get a safe knowledge of everyday words, and for grammar you could even just use about.com, or find any old grammar book on Amazon. GCSE is basically all the tenses (indicative, touch on the subjunctive), and agreement of adjectives etc. Any basic grammar book I'm sure would do the job. Good luck with it
Thanks for replying.

I ended up buying another book which also contained a CD and was aimed towards people learning French in general rather than towards the GCSE exam.

Yeah, I've been working through DuoLingo atm, so I've built some basic vocabulary. I've also had a look at how to conjugate verbs like etre and avoir in the present tense. I just need to practice using them - once I've learnt some more vocab, I'm going to try and write some basic sentences.

Ah, I didn't know about the vocab list on the AQA website - thanks, I'll check it out.

I've been listening to some french music atm. Not that I understand much, but I want to get my head around the pronunciation. And I do understand a word every other sentence!
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Alludeen1
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I would only recommend a GCSE textbook to grasp some basic vocab and some basic grammar points since they contain quite a bit of listening exercises which, unless you buy them (and they really are expensive), are a bit of a waste. We used Encore Tricolore for pre-GCSE and these might be of use to you. I have a grammar book called Action Grammaire and it's excellent. It contains some basic stuff but has an emphasis on the more advanced but I would definitely recommend in nonetheless. For vocab, you can find GCSE vocab lists online but GCSE textbooks should repeat the vocab you need to get to a good GCSE level of understanding. For verbs, I have Barron's 501 verbs and it is really useful, although a bit wordy, but I'd recommend it. The version with the CD is great because you can listen to tracks on your iPod which contain relevant verb stuff. GCSE level, however, is pretty low, so I'd recommend you try to get beyond it at some point! About.com is useful for any queries you might have and wordreference (online) is THE best dictionary resource ever. Feel free to contact me if you have any problems with you French. Bonne chance!
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Angury
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(Original post by Alludeen1)
I would only recommend a GCSE textbook to grasp some basic vocab and some basic grammar points since they contain quite a bit of listening exercises which, unless you buy them (and they really are expensive), are a bit of a waste. We used Encore Tricolore for pre-GCSE and these might be of use to you. I have a grammar book called Action Grammaire and it's excellent. It contains some basic stuff but has an emphasis on the more advanced but I would definitely recommend in nonetheless. For vocab, you can find GCSE vocab lists online but GCSE textbooks should repeat the vocab you need to get to a good GCSE level of understanding. For verbs, I have Barron's 501 verbs and it is really useful, although a bit wordy, but I'd recommend it. The version with the CD is great because you can listen to tracks on your iPod which contain relevant verb stuff. GCSE level, however, is pretty low, so I'd recommend you try to get beyond it at some point! About.com is useful for any queries you might have and wordreference (online) is THE best dictionary resource ever. Feel free to contact me if you have any problems with you French. Bonne chance!
Hello, thanks for taking the time to reply.
Ah yes, I've been using about.com quite a lot.

I've decided to stall buying any GCSE textbooks atm, simply because I'm finding DuoLingo so useful. It's been mainly passive learning atm though, so I want to start writing sentences once I feel confident with the vocabulary and grammar.

I agree with you, I never felt that GCSE was a high standard either. But I was so surprised at how easily I was able to get by in Spain with just GCSE Spanish. I'm hoping for the same with a GCSE standard in French - maybe I'm being too optimistic.

I'm having fun learning though - I can't stop listening to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrwz5hj-qc4

I've also been listening to Celine Dion's "My Heart will go on" in French, as I know the lyrics in English off by heart.. :awesome:
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Alludeen1
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(Original post by Angury)
Hello, thanks for taking the time to reply.
Ah yes, I've been using about.com quite a lot.

I've decided to stall buying any GCSE textbooks atm, simply because I'm finding DuoLingo so useful. It's been mainly passive learning atm though, so I want to start writing sentences once I feel confident with the vocabulary and grammar.

I agree with you, I never felt that GCSE was a high standard either. But I was so surprised at how easily I was able to get by in Spain with just GCSE Spanish. I'm hoping for the same with a GCSE standard in French - maybe I'm being too optimistic.

I'm having fun learning though - I can't stop listening to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrwz5hj-qc4

I've also been listening to Celine Dion's "My Heart will go on" in French, as I know the lyrics in English off by heart.. :awesome:
Listening to songs is a great way to improve your French I personally recommend Sous le ciel de Paris, Les Champs Elysées and La Mer by Charles Trenet as some of the French 'classics' (but there is Edith Piaf as well of course) Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of French music (mainly because the majority of the new stuff badly copies English music ) but there are some good contemporary songs as well. Much of the new popular French music is quite urban and are often rap songs. Good examples are Stromae (Alors on dans is amazeballs), Maitre Gims (who incidentally came from a popular French band) and Zaz (sings Je veux), but IMHO good French music is hard to come by!
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