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Review of Behind the Wheel - French 1 [Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]
If visions of the Paris Metro or the architecture of Nice dance before your eyes when you're stuck in traffic, you're not alone. Plenty of people daydream in order to fight off those evening commute doldrums. But if you've decided to learn French in the car, you're going a step beyond everyone else and making the daydream into a reality! Learning French while you're driving is a great way to make the most of the time you spend on the road. Imagine-mastering a new sentence structure hours before your first coffee break. If you're the kind of traveler who wants to get beyond "please" and "thank you" when you jet off to France, Behind the Wheel - French 1 is your point of departure.
If you're looking for a full service language course, keep on driving. The Behind the Wheel materials are geared toward getting you into conversations fast. While you won't be reading Camus in the original French when you get through the Behind the Wheel - French 1 CDs, you will be ready for some friendly, basic chats with French speakers from all over the world! Behind the Wheel does come with a supplementary text, but it's a little thinner than some we've run across-but this is a minor concern for people focused on listening and speaking.
And it's the audio where this disc set really gets into gear. The folks at Behind the Wheel have steered clear of the most common customer complaints about audio-driven language materials-from clean audio and clear pronunciation to carefully established speaking contexts and dialogs taken from real French life, Behind the Wheel has gone the extra mile to bring you a great French learning experience for your car. The voice acting and narration have been crafted to stand up to lots of listens-which helps you practice until you get it right.
After giving some of the Behind the Wheel - French 1 lessons a listen, we all agreed that this material is just the thing to put you in the driver's seat in French conversations. Thinking back to our first- and second-year courses-with rote grammar and spelling quizzes-we had to admit that the Behind the Wheel approach is in some ways better. These French learning CDs for the car have done an excellent job of zeroing in on the language you need to know as a visitor. Behind the Wheel - French 1 works much faster than a full language course in terms of giving you the tools to really strike up a conversation.
The Behind the Wheel - French 1 CD set is designed to both help you learn fast and to lay a durable foundation for further learning. Compared to strictly travel French primers, some listeners might find the vocabulary and sentence structures presented to be a little bit overkill. But if you're the driven personality type that wants to learn French while driving, you'll appreciate that these CDs leave you ready to advance in your French. Some listeners are sure to toss the written materials aside and simply listen to the CDs, but it's evident a lot of effort has gone into creating a coherent program. Additionally, the audio signposting leaves a little bit to be desired, which can give the discs a rather scattershot organization if you're not following along with the manual.
Overall, we give Behind the Wheel - French 1 top marks for its excellent audio presentation, thorough curriculum planning, and affordability. A good multi-purpose guide, suitable as a French introduction, travel primer or refresher, Behind the Wheel takes a backseat to no other product out there.