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Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures

Explore the intersection between French language and culture to gain an advanced understanding of both.
Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 285.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from pour une étude séreuse I bought this course antecedent to going to intense French language school in France for a month. I had no experience in French. The lectures took quite a bit of work. Listening, doing the workbook and language lab took over two hours per lecture. I had never had any French and was with young students (I am retired) mostly of college age who had previous study. I felt that the course prepared me well and I intend to listen to it again in review. This is not a listen for thirty minutes in the car course, but it is worth the money and the time.
Date published: 2023-09-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disappointed Although I bought this course a while ago, I've just recently started using it on Wondrium before the upcoming travel to Europe. This is the worst course I have ever bought or streamed. I feel that the course is rushed, poorly organized and in terms of quality doesn't come close to other language courses that I purchased from Great Courses (German and Spanish). In addition, there is a disconnect between the material recorded in the studio and the workbook, such that the latter doesn't covers everything and misses some of the vocabulary. Also, I find professor's mannerisms quite annoying and, in general, her presentation style appears unnatural, with too much forced humor. In short, to learn French I would look elsewhere.
Date published: 2023-09-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not adequate for serious learners I bought this course for a refresher, as I took French in college, and some on my own after that, but have not resumed over several years. I find this course to be disappointing. It seems that the goal here is to give you a taste of French, to expand your horizons, without adequately developing and challenging your listening and comprehension skills. If you are planning to travel to a French speaking country, this course will only prepare you for remedial communication: your listening skills won’t be developed to understand native speakers at normal cadence. The weakest point of this course is that one person is the primary presenter/speaker, which means that for 30 plus minutes per lecture (there are 30 in total) her voice is the only voice you will hear. I grew tired of that rather quickly. As good as she is at French, she is not a native, and at times that becomes obvious, since her diction may falter, particularly towards the end of lectures. This becomes increasingly problematic as one progresses through the lessons, which are more in French as you go along. The language labs, which are usually 15 minutes, are spoken mostly by a native speaker, but then again, there is no variety of voice, and the cadence is slow. That too becomes tiresome. There are better options available on the Web for a self-starter. If you are just beginning, find a local class with a native speaker.
Date published: 2023-07-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good but need some reestruturation The teacher is a enthusiastic and have a large knowledge in french. But the course really needs more estructure, as other reviewers said before me. I think the Coursebook need more organization as in the german coursebook. The video doesn't have subtitles and the professor speaks a lot of french in every lesson beginning and there's not a single clue of what she's speaking. And i think she covers the topics very fast and not deep as it should be.
Date published: 2023-07-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It's Eh The instructor gave every impression of having a firm handle on her subject, but she is not a native French speaker. I would love a Great Courses French class with a professor of French who is actually French. (Or Belgian, perhaps.) Her accent seems really good, but there is just something about native speakers speaking their own language. A course in Ancient Greek doesn't require a native speaker. A living language does. Also, I agree with the other reviewers that this needs more structure and more in-depth explanation. She throws some words at you and says, "I bet you could understand..." A word like "pays" without explanation? Yes, I could, because I had French in high school. Someone completely new to the language? I'd absolutely LOVE to see Great Courses or Wondrium retire this course and start again from scratch with a native speaker and a ton more organization. Please, please, please!
Date published: 2023-07-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from She is a energetic Teacher Lacks Structure I really like her - but enthusiasm is not enough for language learners. For example when teaching number she goes from 1 through to 22 and jumps to 32, 42, 52, finally jumps to 69 and declares that now you can count till 69. Declares victory saying that beyond 69 is too tough. So basically covers numbers in 1 minute and moves on.... This is the worst teacher so far. I believe 5 star reviews are from customers who had French in High School.
Date published: 2023-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expansive and challenging High school French and some other exercises were a foundation, but this course shows such a wide range of the francophone world. Excellent.
Date published: 2023-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic it was fantastic ! I hope the team considers 2 part....
Date published: 2023-04-13
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Overview

In Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures, you will gain a practical, in-depth introduction to a beautiful language. In these 30 step-by-step lectures, Professor Ann Williams has crafted an effective and engaging course that gives you the core building blocks while also giving you crucial insight into the relationship between language and culture-perfect for anyone serious about learning French.

About

Ann Williams

I suspect that as you discover more about French-speaking cultures in this course, you will find all kinds of reasons to learn this beautiful language.

INSTITUTION

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Ann Williams is a Professor of French at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches courses in language, literature, and culture. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and earned a Diplôme d’études approfondies from the Université Lyon 2. In May 2016, the French Ministère de l’Éducation nationale named her Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes académiques, an order of distinguished academics. She received the 2013 U.S. Professor of the Year Award for baccalaureate colleges from the Council for Advancement of Support and Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Professor Williams has coauthored four college-level French textbooks. She regularly presents conference papers and writes on contemporary France and the teaching of French. Professor Williams has been involved professionally with the Educational Testing Service, including work as a test developer. Throughout her career, she has received several awards from her university and from foreign-language professional organizations. Since 1990, Professor Williams has been an actor with L’Alliance & Co., a French-language theater company in Denver. Professor Williams is an energetic supporter of foreign-language learning and international studies, often using her own trajectory to show students how they can benefit from the experience provided through contact with languages and cultures that are different from their own. In her teaching and research, she focuses on life skills gained through language study: intercultural communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and flexibility.

By This Professor

Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures
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Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures

Trailer

Welcome to the French-Speaking World

01: Welcome to the French-Speaking World

Bonjour! Begin your voyage with a global look at the French language and French-speaking countries around the world. Learning a new language is an active process, and language is deeply connected to the cultures where it is spoken. In this first lecture, you will survey a few patterns and rules to jump-start your understanding of French.

46 min
Ici, on parle français: French Is Spoken Here

02: Ici, on parle français: French Is Spoken Here

One important facet of the French-speaking world is that manners and politeness still matter. Discover a few essential phrases that will ensure you don't commit any faux pas before you've even had a chance to open your mouth. Then survey the basics of numbers, definite and indefinite articles, the alphabet, and geography.

50 min
French around the World

03: French around the World

Continue your exploration of French manners and culture and build on the phrases from the first lecture. Then reflect on several "word families" that will help you build your vocabulary and make connections across the language. Along the way, you'll also pick up a few common verb forms, adjectives, and adverbs.

49 min
Francophone Towns and Villages

04: Francophone Towns and Villages

When traveling in French-speaking countries, the verb aller - "to go" - is one of the most useful. Get to know this verb along with important question words such as "How much?" "Why?" and "When?" This lecture also gives you a chance to listen to a great deal of spoken French to help you practice your de-coding skills.CHECK THIS RECORD

44 min
Weather, Seasons, and Some Geography

05: Weather, Seasons, and Some Geography

Find out how to discuss the weather, as well as what the weather is like in different parts of France. Then shift your attention to times of year-seasons, months, and dates. While you learn about the weather and time, Professor Williams also introduces you to a few new verb forms to help you talk about preferences and things to do.CHECK THIS RECORD

46 min
La Vie en France: Life in France

06: La Vie en France: Life in France

Continue your study of time by examining the days of the week, times of day, and typical French routines throughout the day. More verb forms will help you express what you want to do, what you can do, and what you have to do. And of course, you'll also gain plenty of practice speaking and listening.

46 min
Vacations and Leisure Activities

07: Vacations and Leisure Activities

In addition to teaching you the language, this course also serves as a cultural toolkit. You may know that the French enjoy their leisure time, so here you will discover the language of vacation and leisure, including the major French holidays. You'll also get your first glimpse of the "imperative mood."...

47 min
À table: Daily Meals

08: À table: Daily Meals

You won't get far in a French-speaking country without being able to talk about food and drink, particularly given that mealtime is often sacred in the French culture. This lecture takes you through breakfast and lunch, showing you how to express hunger and thirst, how to order, and the necessary vocabulary to enjoy your meal.

43 min
Buying Groceries

09: Buying Groceries

Shift your attention from ordering food in restaurants to buying food (and other items) from the store. Find out how to count and calculate totals, and review the language and cultural considerations of making a purchase. Then tackle a few more regular and irregular verb forms to help you build your communications skills.

45 min
Where to Eat

10: Where to Eat

Going to a market or restaurant is a culinary adventure. Here, you will put together several things you've learned from previous lectures and take a virtual trip to a restaurant. Professor Williams walks you through a typical dialogue with a waiter. You'll also begin to examine different verb "moods"-the conditional, the indicative, and the imperative.CHECK THIS RECORD

43 min
The Life of the Traveler

11: The Life of the Traveler

This first of several lectures on traveling through a French country arms you with the language around the daily routines of a tourist. Step into a Parisian hotel and have a conversation with a clerk to make sure you have somewhere to stay for the night. Continue your study of grammar with a look at pronominal and reciprocal verbs.

45 min
Public Transportation

12: Public Transportation

This second lecture takes you on a journey around France to immerse you in the language of transportation to help you get from point A to point B. Professor Williams gives you a few common verbs and expressions to help you talk about where you came from, where you're going, and how to get there.

46 min
Travel and Technology

13: Travel and Technology

While values evolve very slowly, cultures often change quickly due to new devices. Round out the unit on life as a tourist with an examination of modern technology. Reflect on the French value of privacy and investigate the way smart phones and the internet have changed the nature of privacy-and the way we travel.CHECK THIS RECORD

44 min
Souvenirs de voyage

14: Souvenirs de voyage

In this lecture, you'll gain a few helpful tools for learning about other cultures and the objects you'll encounter. Discover the vocabulary to talk about clothing and houses, and then review the grammar you've learned thus far. In French, the verbs will always be with us, so take a few moments to survey some new verb forms as well as the subjunctive mood.

45 min
Les Vêtements: How and Why to Dress

15: Les Vêtements: How and Why to Dress

Revisit some of the verbs you've already encountered to help you dress with style, particularly faire (to do or make), savoir (to know), and voir (to see). Build on what you've learned about the subjunctive mood to help you make your sartorial decisions. What you learn here will help you to dress your best for your travels.

45 min
The Home and Private Spaces

16: The Home and Private Spaces

Your final cultural stop around France is the home. Tour the house to uncover the vocabulary of different rooms and their functions, as well as some regional differences in architecture. Then delve into a few "tricky translations" where you must choose the right word for the right situation.

45 min
Je fais des progrès en français!

17: Je fais des progrès en français!

Visit the town of Lyon with Professor Williams to review what you've learned from the past few lectures and see how well prepared you are to navigate an unfamiliar city. Continue studying how get around and ask for directions. Learn a few additional nuances to the vocabulary you've acquired.

39 min
La Musique, le théâtre et la danse

18: La Musique, le théâtre et la danse

You can't understand a culture without understanding its arts. Here, Professor Williams transitions to a multi-lecture unit on the arts, beginning with the world of performing arts. The great news is that much of the vocabulary of music, theater, and dance involves English cognates. This lecture also introduces the past tense.

43 min
La Littérature et le cinéma

19: La Littérature et le cinéma

Shift your attention from the stage to the realm of literature and cinema. Learn key words to help you navigate the bookstore and talk about novels, biographies, histories, poems, and more. Continue your study of verb tenses, which are the building blocks for telling a story.

43 min
L’Art et les artistes

20: L’Art et les artistes

Delve into the visual arts: sculpture, painting, and photography. As you build your vocabulary, you will also add new tools to your storytelling repertoire. With a particular focus on the verb "to be"-être-Professor Williams introduces the imperfect tense, which will better help you describe what is going on in a given situation.CHECK THIS RECORD

45 min
Le Patrimoine: Museums

21: Le Patrimoine: Museums

In addition to the arts, cultural heritage is important in French-speaking cultures. Your first stop is the museum, and your survey helps you put together much of what you learned in the previous unit. Review the major verb tenses-present, past, composé, and imperfect-and learn how to distinguish the different types of past tense.CHECK THIS RECORD

47 min
Le Patrimoine: Customs

22: Le Patrimoine: Customs

Consider the relationship between customs and heritage, and uncover the language for French myths and traditions. Then hone the necessary skills to help you follow a story in French. Find out how to make your descriptions livelier with adjectives and adverbs, including words of "degree"-très, trop, peu, and the like.CHECK THIS RECORD

44 min
Le Patrimoine: Places to Visit

23: Le Patrimoine: Places to Visit

Travel through history and around French-speaking countries to explore several cultural heritage sites. You'll unpack how heritage refers both to the legacy of the past that we benefit from today, as well as what we will pass onto the future. On your tour, you will learn a series of new comparative adjectives.

44 min
Le Tourisme et les régions

24: Le Tourisme et les régions

Because of the connection between language and culture, there are many commonalities among French-speaking countries. But regional differences also abound. From food to everyday activities, explore what makes different countries and regions in France unique. From the Alps to Bordeaux, witness the diverse and exciting variety of the French-speaking world.

42 min
Les Fêtes et les festivals

25: Les Fêtes et les festivals

One of the joys of travel is seeing the cultural connections and distinctions from one place to the next. In this lecture, use the language of celebrations to gain insight into the culture. Festivities include parties, commemorations, and...rodeos! You'll also revisit the conditional "would" tense as well as a few verbs with irregular stems.CHECK THIS RECORD

45 min
Underlying Cultural Values

26: Underlying Cultural Values

While culture often changes, values tend to remain constant, with roots in major historical events such as the French Revolution. Reflect on important values in French-speaking countries, particularly hospitality. Your foray takes you through the language of government, politics, fraternity, and liberty.

43 min
Aventures: Conversation

27: Aventures: Conversation

The difference between mere tourist travel and adventure is that adventure is about immersion, which requires you to engage on a deeper level. This unit gives you that deep engagement, beginning here with the art of conversation. Discover the rhythms of French conversation and some of the cultural rules to set you up for success.

38 min
Aventures: Telling a Story

28: Aventures: Telling a Story

Continue your adventure by rounding out your skills to tell and follow a story. A new verb tense-the pluperfect-will help you tell personal stories, show the link between past and present events, and forge a connection with another person. Practice listening, reading and telling stories.CHECK THIS RECORD

43 min
Aventures: Reading Cultures

29: Aventures: Reading Cultures

You've already encountered the subjunctive tense Now take it to the next level to help you "read" a culture. Refine your ability to observe and analyze the world around you thanks to cultural artifacts. How do people dress? What do they eat? How do they greet each other? This crucial skillset will help you navigate almost any new place.

38 min
Your Future with French

30: Your Future with French

You've come a long way in these 30 in-depth lectures. Learning a new language is a lifelong adventure, but before she leaves you, Professor Williams has one more lesson in verbs to impart. Walk through the ins and outs of the future tense and look to tomorrow. Then wrap up what you've learned so you can continue your adventures in learning French.

42 min