If you’re new to a language, there are some basics you will have to learn, whether you’re eight years old or 80, on business abroad or a tourist on holiday. Talk Now! French offers a simple-to-use method for you to start learning the language, whoever you are.
* Talk Now French
* Start wherever you like! There are nine topics to choose from
* The fun way to learn parts of the body: by building a monster!
* Hear essential phrases and see how they are written before playing a game.
* It's over to you. Hear the word, then record your own voice and compare the two.
* What did they say? Pick the corresponding picture in the hard 'first words' game.
Will it work for me?
Lots of people have difficulty learning languages. Why? Most have been put off at school, don’t have time to learn, or think they are too lazy to do it.
Talk Now! French answers these problems:
* It lifts the language off the page. There are no dull exercises; just encouraging games that award you points for progress.
* It fits easily into short ten-minute sessions. But if you want to push yourself you can learn the basics in a weekend.
* if you think you’re lazy, think again! You’ll be amazed how motivated you can be when you enjoy the experience of learning!
What will I learn?
To speak and understand enough to “get by”. You’re just starting, so we won’t drop you in at the deep end. There are some things you’ll want to say in any language: you’ll want to say ‘hello’, order a drink, ask for directions and so on.
This beginners program gets straight to the point. It covers food, colours, shopping, parts of the body, numbers, telling the time, countries, greetings and essential phrases.
How does it work?
Talk Now! French gives you easy-to-achieve goals. Learning a new language is far too big a task to tackle all at once, so we have broken it down into a series of rewarding challenges.Play interactive language games. Talk Now! feeds you new words, along with pictures to reinforce your memory. It then tests your knowledge with fun quizzes. As soon as you start playing you start learning.Earn points for every game you play. High scorers can go on to win bronze, silver and gold awards, which you can print out as a record of achievement.You will hear French all of the time and, using the recording games, you can start speaking straight away, then compare your voice to a native speaker.You can learn on the move. Carry on learning in the airport lounge or the ferry without a computer. Just print out the phrasebook sheets included in the program and take them with you, or upload the program’s sound files onto an iPod.
Windows 2000 or later
Mac OS X 10.3.9 or above
CD ROM Drive (+ computer microphone)
You can also upload words onto your iPod
About the French Language
French is the most northerly of the Romance Languagesthat descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. Historically it is the language of northern France: it became France's national language, and spread to many other parts of the world with French conquest and trade.
The Celtic-speaking inhabitants of Gaul were among the first non-Italians to take a full part in the culture of the Roman Empire. Not surprisingly, there are Celtic loanwords in Latin and in all the Romance languages. There are a few documents and religious texts in French of the 10th and 11th centuries, but the first real flowering of French literature is in epics, the first and greatest being the Chanson de Roland `Song of Roland' of around 1200. They were recorded in manuscript form for oral recitation. From this beginning, French poetry soon be¬came more varied and more consciously literary. Although the language of Paris and of the neighbouring royal monastery of Saint-Denis was already influential, medieval French texts have varied dialect links. This is natural since Paris was not the only major centre of French cultural life. After the Norman conquest in 1066, London was another: for nearly two centuries after that date not English but the Anglo-Norman variety of French was the usual lan¬guage of literature in England (alongside Latin). The oldest and best manuscript of the Chanson de Roland is Anglo-Norman.
As the connections between England and France grew more distant, Anglo-Norman –instead of developing into a new modern Ro¬mance language – regressed to a jargon of law¬yers and courtiers. Its descendant, 'Law French', can still be found in fossilised phrases in modern English legal terminology. But English, now revived as a language of culture and literature, had taken in a mass of loanwords from French, involving most aspects of everyday life, often providing near-synonyms to Germanic words: thus while English still uses Germanic terms such as ox, sheep, pig for the domesticated ani¬mals, it uses the French loanwords beef, mutton, pork (modern French boeuf 'ox', mouton 'sheep', pore 'pig') for their meat.
Meanwhile Paris was asserting its position at the centre of French culture. The central role of French, the French of Paris, followed from this. Two landmarks are the foundation of the Uni¬versity of Paris, chartered in 1231; the spread of printing, at the end of the 15th century; and the Ordonnance de Villers-Gotteret, 1539, which ruled that legal proceedings in France must be en langaige maternel francois, 'in the French mother tongue'. In practice, this asserted the uniquely privileged status of French not only against Latin but also against OCCITAN, BRETON, BASQUE and the local dialects or patois of French.
Yet French does borrow from its regional languages: bijou 'jewel' is a Breton loanword, while bouillabaisse 'fish soup' is one of many food words borrowed from Occitan dialects.
By the 16th century, French was the language of an astonishingly rich literature – and writings in French were read, admired, translated and imitated across all of western Europe. Among the greatest of older classics had been the poetic Romance of the Rose (adapted in English by Chau¬cer), the Arthurian romance sequence Lancelot (the main source for Malory's English Morte Darthure) and the vivid chronicles of the Hun¬dred Years War written – in French that was influenced by his native Picard dialect – by Jean Froissart. The 16th century was a period of exciting and varied experiment, and also of much linguistic borrowing from Latin and from Italian.
A reaction followed, often identified with the influence of Francois de Malherbe (1555-1628). Written French became a rule-bound language, with an artificially restricted vocabulary. In spite of the Enlightenment and in spite of the French Revolution and all that has followed, in many ways written French is still rule-bound. Spelling and usage are overseen by the Academie Francaise, a self-elected college of eminent authors and intellectuals, under govern¬ment patronage. Standard French differs rather widely from most people's everyday speech. Traditional French verse, which some still write, demands a special pronunciation . For all this, French remains the language of a very rich and flourishing literary culture, in some ways the most vital in Europe.
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