So, it took me a long ass time to get through the first level of Fluenz French. This is my fault. Between work, online classes, my internet ventures, and general laziness…I really dropped the ball. I managed to get through the entire six seasons of Game of Thrones during the same time span but didn’t commit hard enough to the Fluenz. However, I’ve since righted the ship and am already well into Level 2 of the program. The funny thing about it, is that, even with all of the time off, I still retained pretty much all of what I’d learned. Plus, what I hadn’t remembered quickly came back to me with a few lessons. This was because, while I wasn’t doing the lessons consistently, I still did listen to the review podcasts from time to time while at the gym…which helped immensely. With that in mind, I’d like to present to you, my full review of the first level of Fluenz French.
What You Learn in Level 1
In my first update review, I essentially covered how Fluenz was structured, what’s included with the program, and roughly my experiences with it after about a week. For this final review of Level 1, I want to go over what sort of things are learned with the first level and what techniques I found helpful for study.
To start, this first Fluenz level is highly geared toward travel situations. As such, much of what you will learn will be framed within that context. Yes, you do learn other words and useful phrases but it’ll be covered along with ordering at restaurants, shopping, airport and train travel, and making arrangements. I know that, as you get to the higher levels of the program, much more conversational topics are covered BUT at the start you are going to learn basic French structures and how to navigate through common scenarios when visiting France.
As far as the structure of the language goes, you will be getting your foundation by learning and using verbs in the present and the future tense. This keeps the initial conversations pretty basic but the base you build off of this is absolutely necessary for success. Add to that, learning the initial aspects of masculine and feminine noun genders, numbers, forming questions, and more.
I have to say, that some of the example conversations seem kind of vague or prematurely ended solely because they are kept so basic at this initial level. They’re actually kind of funny at times, since a conversation between two of the characters will be utterly pointless. Obviously, Fluenz has to work within the confines of a beginner’s knowledge of French but it just makes me laugh, when the conversation just lacks substance.
Other stuff like, shopping, ordering drinks, and giving directions are covered well and kept basic. Level 2 starts to expand into deeper uses of the language and how to interact with people in these sorts of situations but Level 1 is still very comprehensive of the basics.
What I Like About Fluenz French
- Ease of use
- Engaging content
- Created for English speakers
- Multitude of learning methods used: writing, visual, speaking, listening, etc.
- Real world usefulness
- Progressive building of sentence structure and vocabulary
- Learning much more effectively than I did taking Spanish classes in high school and college
- Supplementary podcasts
- Not designed for children. Teens and adults get to learn at their level and not have things explained as if you were 5 years old.
Cons with Fluenz
- The glitch in my version (?) that randomly cranks up the volume of playback. Easily fixed by just turning down my computer’s volume control but still was really annoying.
- French numbers. Not Fluenz’s fault, but, gahhhh large numbers in French get pretty ridiculous to say and remember. English totally got the numbers thing correct.
Helpful Ways to Increase Your Retention of French
Simple. Download the podcasts that come with Fluenz. Listen to them regularly. It helps so much to refresh and cement the things you have learned in the lessons. Also, the flashcards that are included in the program are great. I always forget words, a sort of, constant tip of the tongue syndrome. The flashcards pummel the French vocab into my brain (which is no easy task), and have me saying, “Oh yeah, I know that word” much more often than when I don’t use them.
Overall, Would I Recommend Fluenz French?
Yes. I have found it to be extremely useful and probably the best experience I’ve had learning a language. I’ve also dabbled with Duolingo’s free French program and that takes a much more basic approach to French and includes more speaking and vocabulary. However, Fluenz focuses more on being able to have conversations in French and to that point, it’s much better place to start.
Now, obviously I cannot say where I’ll be at once I’ve completed Level 5 of the program (yes, I will finish this!) but I should be at a very good conversational level. Naturally, I will supplement my learning by learning more vocabulary, reading books in French, engaging in conversation, and watching shows. You aren’t going to be as advanced in French after Fluenz as you are in English, so if high level fluency is your ultimate goal, your journey will continue into the future. Though, if you’re just someone who wants to learn a new language and be able to effectively use it while traveling then Fluenz is a great program to use.
I’ve already done my two lessons for this morning in Level 2 and will probably do 2-3 tonight. I am going to accelerate my schedule as much as possible in order to catch up to where I should be (cough cough Level 5). Guess I’ll have to cut off my random YouTube and Amazon Prime videos watching…it’ll be worth it to learn a new language, though. Au revoir…