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Smart French: Beginner Level is a beginners audio course that promises to build a solid foundation for going on to master the French language. By listening to conversations from native French speakers you will develop your listening and speaking skills at the same time as building a basic vocabulary of French words. As an introduction to French Smart French: Beginner Level is fine, but we think you will soon be looking to further your French skills after working through it.
Smart French: Beginner Level isn't the cheapest course we have seen, and this is only the first level, but it doesn't gloss over some of the trickier aspects of the language as some of the cheaper courses do. It's still good value, but bear in mind there are other volumes to purchase if you are going to go all the way and try to master the French language. This level comes on a couple of audio CDs which an application like iTunes will happily rip into mp3 format to play on your mp3 player. With the focus on developing listening skills it's very useful to listen to some of the lessons as you get on with other chores.
The Smart French:Beginner Level course is organised around a number of lessons that involve listening to a couple of native French speakers have a conversation. The vocabulary and grammar concepts introduced in the conversation are then explained by an English speaking narrator. The audio is all very clear and high quality and the explanations are easy to follow. There is a definite focus on trying to perfect your accent and you are encouraged to speak out loud along with the lessons. We found it would be helpful to have a transcript of the conversations to follow as we were listening though, and perhaps some notes to help memorize vocabulary.
There are further levels of Smart French to explore once you work your way through this beginners level. Each builds on the last to improve your vocabulary, speaking and listening skills. Additionally there is a CD ROM for your computer which has some extra course material in video and audio format. These are all separate purchases though and it would be nice to see it all together in one handy pack. Our feeling is that if you bought everything separately it would be quite expensive and make this course not quite as good value as it might initially seem.
Smart French: Beginner Level is a fine course for building an initial grounding in the French language. It won't take too long to work through and won't break the bank. However, there are even cheaper audio courses around that cover pretty much the same topics so it might be worth shopping around. Check out our top ten list for some of the best teach yourself French products we have found.
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