Teach Yourself French:
The teach yourself series has been around for years and is one of the most respected and well known language learning series available. Teach Yourself French takes you through the language from the basics of pronunciation to common situations and frequently used vocabulary. Their familiarly organized approach makes it easy to progress through the introductory stages of the language. Accompanying audio tracks are a great supplement as you are able to hear the dialogue and vocabulary spoken and follow along. This makes reading some of the tricky spelling in French a little bit easier! The book is roughly 25 chapters that increase in complexity as you make your way through. Although it is black and white and heavy on the text, there are some fun cartoons and examples of real signs and text that you may encounter to break up the flow. There are also plenty of exercises and review to test your comprehension before moving ahead to the next chapter or concept. Because the Teach Yourself series is so well known, check your local library for copies to loan.
501 French Verbs:
Although all of this information is available online on various websites, there is something about having all this information in one place right at your finger tips. Nearly every language you choose to study will have some sort of verb conjugation to deal with; it is unescapable and a necessary evil in your path to speaking at your target level. Not only is this book a great reference for looking up verbs and all of their conjugations but it also provides examples of common phrases and how they are used in sentences which is helpful in trying to differentiate between the tenses. It can be a bit daunting and is not a book you will ever read cover to cover, but if you like having a complete and consolidated reference handy when you need it then this is an excellent book to add to your collection.
In addition to the the verb tables, there are also useful charts that organize verbs into regular / irregular, lists and explanations for verbs used with prepositions and idiomatic expressions which is great as you progress your level in French. If you are looking to test yourself, there are also verb drills at the end of the book to complete. Although not as thorough as an exercise book it is nice to have a little of everything all in one place.
Language Hacking – French:
Benny Lewis is a well known name in the online language learning community and teaming up with the Teach Yourself Series he has created a pretty well rounded book to launch your French into instant conversation. Benny focuses on speaking early on and embracing mistakes. This book presents different “missions” in each of it’s chapters in place of grammar rules. This engages you from the start and encourages conversation and speaking to help you learn. One of the more unique aspects of this book and something that sets it apart from other self teaching books is it’s focus on practicality and relevance. Benny provides conversation and situational examples to guide your encounters speaking with natives. This book is best used in conjunction with apps and websites that allow you to converse with a native (see our French apps & websites page for more information). As a seasoned late-in-life language learner himself, Benny has plenty of “language hacks” that ensure you get the maximum results from your time. Although no audio CD comes with the book, there are files available online so you can follow along with some of the dialogue found in the book.