How to keep French improving?

Hi Torsten and all!

Sorry i’ve been a way for a while… i have been concentrating on my studies and sports… but am still working hard on my french!!! I’ve probably let my other subjects take a break, so i can concentrate more on French, though am still keen to do others.

I am nearing the end of the 3rd level of Pimsleur now… and i’ve really enjoyed it. I feel like my vocab is a lot better (though there is still SO much more to learn), and i’m understanding more and more. I’m still really not understanding conversation as much as i would like. I dont have much to listen to, being over in Australia, but when i watch a movie or something, i pick up words, and more and more words now, but its still too much for me to understand what they are saying. I’m not sure if it is because they are speaking too fast for me, or if there is still a fair amount of vocab that i dont know… and that is causing me to not understand a lot of it. I guess it’s a mixture of both. :frowning:

So now that i am near completion of Pimsleur, i think i will move to Michel Thomas, as it gives me a different look at the language being taught, and hopefully, teach me new things… if not cement old things.

I’m thinking it may be time to get myself a private tutor as well, maybe after Michel Thomas… just so i that person can find new and innovative ways to teach my new things… as well as to give me some more general conversation. A chance for me to think on my feet.

Back to not being able to understand what is being said, or not understanding enough… i’m not sure what to do… i’m looking for French Audio Books, that i can just put on and slowly become use to… but they arent easy to find. I really want to go back to france, but i dont want to go until i am comfortable in being able to speak french. Last time i was over there, there were too many occassions, i would say something in french, and id try to be clever with it, and not understand their response… meaning communication was useless.

Anyway, back to study… Business Law is NOT fun!

After people have finished all three levels of Pimsleur, in my opinion, they are still almost complete beginners. (I know this, because I have completed two full Pimsleur programs.) The people have a great deal of spoken fluency, but they don’t know enough vocabulary or grammar to say anything.

In my opinion, the logical next step after a Pimsleur program is the US Foreign Service Institute program for the same language. These are more intensive than Pimsleur, and you get a much bigger vocabulary and grammar load. The language in them is a bit old fashioned – the programs were made for diplomats in the 1950s and 1960s – but you can’t beat them as beginning and intermediate self-study programs. Level 1 will still be a challenge after Pimsleur.

Now that it’s the digital age, the audio on a lot of these FSI programs has been remastered (although the quality does not match that of a digital recording), and the textbooks have been converted to PDF form. Many of the languages are now offered for download, so they’re easy to get anywhere in the world. You can check out the French one at this website:

Another good program – although no program trains your mouth like the FSI programs – is the Living Language “Ultimate French” series, which comes at two levels. It’s almost completely up-to-date, and has a very large vocabulary load.

What I usually do is load into my MP3 player about half an hour of an FSI lesson, along with one lesson from that “Ultimate” series, and I learn a lot.

Thanks… I will get my hands on FSI i give it a go…

I have just about completed Pimsleur 3… am nearly finished with Michel Thomas (about to go onto vocab builder and advances) - have been impressed with Michel Thomas… i have learnt a lot as he explains it quite well. Together they have got me to a very comfortable stage.

But i will go to FSI, its always exciting to find a new french program.

Thanks for your help

ps - what two languages are you doing???

It’s more a matter of what languages I’ve done. I speak Czech, German, French, a little Spanish (but I can read a lot of Spanish), a little Russian and a little Swedish. I’ve learned them all in different ways. I learned Czech first through a battery of self-teaching materials from Ohio State University, and then in three years of immersion in the Czech Republic. I learned German somehow in high school, but then I used FSI courses and at the same time correspondence courses in German from the University of Wisconsin (which can be taken by people anywhere in the world). I also learned some French in school, and then from an audio program put out by the US Defense Languages Institute, and through a lot of reading (which I suggest to you). I read French news magazines a lot. The other languages I’ve more or less taught myself.

The Foreign Service Courses are available for free here

Also, French in Action is great for improving aural comprehension

Hello Smitty, and welcome to!

Thank you very much for the links you’ve provided – some of my students, who are always eager for any new aural material, will appreciate that.

Hope you’ll pop by again soon.

I am keen to learn French…Thanks a lot for the links…they are going to help us a lot…