As you will read, Dr. Brians Languages has a very strong practical component. You will learn the concrete skill of conversing in a foreign language.
Comments on the Dr. Brians Languages German Courses
"Effective at teaching automatic responses": Uses techniques pioneered by the Foreign Services Institute to model spoken German. Teaches you to automatically form sentences in an authentic German way.
"A really valuable resource for a German learner!": This audiobook has helped me tremendously with learning German grammar. The listen-repeat method is very effective as it teaches you to speak naturally and without hesitation. The clarity of the recording is also very good, allowing you to recognize the subtle differences between certain sounds. Overall, I am very pleased with this audiobook and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning German.
Comments on the Dr. Brians Languages French Courses
"Mastering French Conversation unit 3": Would you listen to Mastering French Conversation, Unit 3 again? Why? I have listened to Unit 3 many times. I found the course very helpful in improving my conversational French through the substitution drills which really drilled home the various pronouns and other sounds and nuances of French. I have found my conversation more natural and spontaneous after using Unit 3. This is not a course you will breeze through and, in fact, one you should listen to it numerous times. The unique FSI method is for any serious student of French and the quality of this particular product makes it a must have for anyone working towards speaking French like the French including those who have previously completed unit 2. Persons who already have a background in French may find this course great for a review, but I believe they should download the free demo provided on the website to evaluate the course level vs their needs. The FSI method worked terrifically for me and I look forward to unit 4. I have used numerous other French language programs, but I like this one best for developing automatic and responsive French conversation. I find down loading the free transcript and reviewing it helps me sort out subtleties in the language I may not hear correctly.
"Steps up the pace a bit": Unit 3 remains mostly in the present tense, adding modal verbs and some double-verb constructions. I was a surprised how much practical material there is to cover and on which become reflexively and immediately capable. Quality, audio, and pacing are consistently excellent, like in previous units. This is for people who want to learn French, rather than learn a bunch of stuff "about" French.
"Mastering French Conversation unit 2": If you could sum up Mastering French Conversation, Unit 2 in three words, what would they be? Well done throughout. Unit 2 was a natural follow on to Unit 1. Using the FSI method of substitution drills really keeps you on your toes and shows how French conversation is constructed allowing for more automatic responses. I find dealing with similar structures, but using different substituted words, makes the memorization easier. As in unit 1, I recommend downloading the free transcript to ensure you know the words you are hearing. Seriously learning a foreign language is time consuming with lots of repetition, but the rewards great. I was able to finish unit 2 before arriving in Tahiti. It was a joy to communicate fairly responsively, especially when I needed help to find my misplaced cell phone. If you put out the effort to speak to them, they will respond in spades which makes all the hard work worth it.
"Installs the basics as habit.": What I like about this approach is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. In starting French, there's a critical milestone to reach, but it’s a big step: you have to be able to calculate how to understand and construct sentences and questions together in real time, in terms of pronouns, liaison, mandatory contractions, gender, basic conjugation, negation, and inversion (for questions). That is, to respond to a basic question or form a basic sentence, you have to make multiple choices instantly. Mastering French II provides the practice (for developing) that habituation, without emphasis on intellectualizing grammar or translating to and from English. At every step you have to come up with the right syntax, progressing in steps, hearing yourself as well as the audio. There's no English, so you don't waste time thinking in in it. This is a completely different skill than writing answers in a workbook. Musicians who want to get good on their instrument call this kind of practice, “shed time,” and there’s no shortcut. Level II continues in the present tense, though there is some near-future (“going to leave”) and some auxiliary verbs (should go). It concludes with a good vocabulary of travel stuff; tickets, boarding pass, customs, etc. The material for MF-II is about three hours, but I’ve been though most sections multiple times, both with and without the pdf. Audio quality and French accent are both great (as I had verified by a native speaker).
"Mastering French Conversation unit 1": I have been a student of French for a while and had some previous exposure to the FSI method which I liked very much. I was taking a 4 month round-the-world trip and bought this course as a basic refresher before I arrived in French Polynesia. I have always had a problem understanding French that I hear in conversation. I found the audio quality of this product great and the substitution drills good for differentiating sounds I have confused in the past while challenging me to respond rather than think about responses. I highly recommend downloading the free manuscript in order to see and picture the spelling of similar sounding words in your head. I have listened to this unit several times and believe repetition is the best way to learn French conversation. At my level, I probably should have started with unit 2, but I found it a good review for reestablishing my very basic French conversation.
"Great variety of lessons": I am leaving for France soon and found the lessons in this unit covered a variety of topics about which I will probably have to engage people there. Also, I enjoyed the variety of lessons so the learning does not become monotonous. Listening to the phrases helps tune my ear.
"French only to make you start thinking in French": This US Gov and military have to teach lots of people to get functional in foreign languages and had developed a no-nonsense approach in the 50's and 60's: recorded audio presents sentences and questions, students transform the sentences in some specified way and answer the questions, ad infinitim. The approach starts simply and continues ever more advanced, and stays in the native language, so you have to start thinking in it right away, albeit within your limited vocabulary. The approach was great. This course, Mastering French, re-recorded that material with modern recording technology, so the sound quality is up excellent. The emphasis is not on studying grammar, but rather getting used to what you hear and say; in fact, you might want a grammar book to use on the side to clarify some things, whereas this course is for people who want to become conversational. There are PDFs of the material which you can choose to use or not, although it's a must for the initial chapter's vocabulary that gets you started. The material progresses quickly enough such that I re-listen to most sections a few times. I recommend using an mp3 player rather than a computer; this gives better control to "rewind," and when you don't need to look at the PDF, walk around the garden. This is the course that I wish I had when I started, nonetheless, I found it extremely useful to start at Mastering French's beginning.
"Essential practice": Mastering French Conversation 5 gives structure and a framework to practice more parts of the basics of French grammar to make it habitual. Before, I could eventually work out how to form or interpret these parts of sentences; after, it's much closer to automatic. Great approach, necessary kind of practice.
"Effective, multiple ways to use": Moving beyond grammar mechanics, finally, to bigger stuff. Can be used with a computer, or with mp3 player alone, and with or without printouts that you download from their site. No cartoons, crosswords, or games. Increased my ability to think only in French, that is go for longer times without mentally translating to English. Excellent sound quality, diction, accent, and printouts are a complete transcription.
"Excellent teaching method!": For a beginner, learning French, this course helps me greatly. It is very clearly structured. And with lots of repeated practices I can listen all the time while driving. I am 60 years old And learning French for my mission field. These lessons gave me hope.
"Excellent for learning French numbers to 200": What did you love best about Mastering French Conversation: Unit 4? This unit stands out in how well the authors approach learning numbers up to 200. While this unit is an extension of units 1-3 with its inclusion of new verbs, vocabulary, and concepts, the authors excel at teaching French numbers up to 200. Using a variety of contexts, their sections are designed to not only teach you the numbers, but ensure that your pronunciation is concise. There are a few sections that have the learner repeat a sequence of numbers that have similar sounds, forcing the learner to be able to tell the difference between, for example, "douze (12), deux (2), and dix (10)" without thinking twice.
"Useful for negative constructions & large numbers": If you could sum up Mastering French Conversation in three words, what would they be? Their sections on noun-markers in negative constructions and larger numbers (less than 1,000,000,000) stands out as the best parts of this unit. For large numbers, they rightfully dedicate an entire 8 pages to this concept, and it is entirely necessary. By the end of the section, I was able to not only put into words large numbers such as "1,271,881", but every numerical construction below that with far less effort.
"Repetition is key": What made the experience of listening to Mastering French Conversation, Unit 2 the most enjoyable? There are no abrupt increases in difficulty - the repetition present in this program ensures that you master more basic concepts before moving onto more advanced ones. Although repetition is a hallmark of this program, the authors do a good job at rotating the sections in a way that keeps the listener engaged with small increases in difficulty giving a constant feeling of progression. I was pleased to see that the authors incorporated much more of the vocabulary from the start of the unit into the practice and dialogue sections, and bring them up throughout the rest of the unit and into units 3-6. Additionally, the pronunciation is more enunciated and consistent relative to other programs I've used in the past, which was very helpful for me. Also, make sure you have the transcript - this audiobook is useless without it.