French In Action is a video-based course created by Pierre Capretz of Yale University. I know of no better way to rapidly obtain a knowledge of day-to-day French. This course is so excellent it almost justifies the invention of television.
The French in Action course is focused around 52 half-hour video lessons which assume you have no prior knowledge of the language. The course starts in French from the first instant. You may feel like an idiot at first, but the fact is you can mess up genders, adjectival forms, and much of verb conjugation in French and still be understood perfectly well on the street.
Get this course and play one video per day, each and every day, week in and week out. Just pick a 30 minute time period in your day, and work your way through the videos from number 1 through number 52, one per day. When you get to the end, go back to the beginning and start over again. Repeat until you understand perfectly and have ceased to improve. Even if you don’t have time to read the accompanying text, or practice with the workbooks, or use the audio cassettes, make the 30 minute slot for the video a permanent part of your life. The first time through you’ll probably miss about 90% at first hearing. The second time, you’ll get about half, and by the third time you’ll understand almost everything. Your very progress provides strong reinforcement as you follow the course. Simply by watching this series of 52 videos through two times, you could parachute into Abidjan and get along in day to day life from the moment you hit the ground. It’s that good. Really.
– John Walker
For library borrowing see note in Destinos.