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French phrase book recommendations?

New York City, New...
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French phrase book recommendations?

Our neighborhood bookstores have almost no phrase books/pamphlets in stock to look over, so will be making the purchase -- sight unseen -- from Amazon.

Your recommendations will be deeply appreciated; my son wants to make the effort to speak in the native tongue, but figures 4 years of high school French classes didn't give him all the vocabulary for a vacation visit :-)

Northern California
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1. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

I prefer the pocket-size Berlitz, which has useful phrases, a compact dictionary, and a menu translator.

Kamloops, BC...
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2. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

Hey Cockle -

You could also try Rick Steves phrase book, (www.ricksteves.com) about which he jokes that no other book includes a translation for "If you don't slow down, I'm going to throw up". It has a good selection of translations, both individual words and phrases.

When my husband and I travel together we carry both Berlitz and Steves. They're a good combination.

BYW - my guess is that your son knows more than he realizes. Once he dives in to speaking the language he'll be pleasantly surprised at how well he does, and how much the French are willing to help him out.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

Thank you for the feedback! Now a college junior who's been taking Japanese classes, his comprehension of the written/spoken language is better than his speaking facility. I think I'll gift him with the Rick Steve book; judging from the example you cite, 1BCTraveler, it sounds like it's geared to a more youthful audience :-)

Kentucky
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4. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

Rick Steves's accent is terrible but his book does deal with some phrases..

For some fun, try the one on Wicked French and hope you don't have to use those!

USA
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5. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

Thereare no really good French phrasebooks. What there are are the best of an severely abridgeded and inadequate lot. In order of personal preference, I'd probably choose--

BERLITZ FRENCH PHRASE BOOK & DICTIONARY--

berlitzbooks.com/catalog/product_info.php…

BARRON'S FRENCH AT A GLANCE--

http://www.barronseduc.com/0764125125.html

RICK STEVE'S FRENCH PHRASEBOOK & DICTIONARY--

travelstore.ricksteves.com/catalog/index.cfm…

But if your son has had four(4) years of high school French he's probably miles ahead of the average visitor. Though you've prowled through local bookstore, if you're in NYC then you have any of the B & N and BORDERS megabookstores and the little LIBRAIRE de FRANCE-- http://www.frencheuropean.com --on Rockefeller Plaza in mid-town to browsw through.

In addition to this--and far too often overlooked in haste to find a 'silver bullet'--you have at your disposal two of the finest public library systems in the world in both the New York and/or Brooklyn Public Library systems (in addition to all of the fine college and university libraries in NYC...perhaps even your son's own school library). These facilities have any number of beginner's, intermediate and advanced French language courses on tape and/or CD that you may borrow. Use them at home to refresh memory, hear the language spoken (not just spelled out phonetically) and improve his skills---on home computer, in the car, transfered to MP3 format....or decide among two ot three courses which suit BOTH of you best. Then go out and purchase your own personal copy.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

THANKS, KDKSAIL... I want him to be the captain of his destiny vis a vix whatever other last-minute preparation he chooses to do (e.g., go to his campus library or language lab there in New Jersey) -- and what college student wants his mom to be tellling him what to do? :-)

But since he'd mentioned feeling that his classroom discussions in French of existentialism a couple of years ago were unlikely to be something he could draw on next week, I thought a phrase book - with Euros stuck inside -- would be a good Bon Voyage present.

So, thank you for your informative response! I was going to order from Amazon to save myself further legwork, but I have a work-related appointment in the area of Rockefeller Center on Monday, so will stop by Le Libraire de France, a "find" which I don't remember hearing about/seeing before.

USA
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7. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

There's a big Barnes & Nobles store between 46th & 47th on Fifth Ave...just down the block from the the Promenade.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

Yep, that I know (location of Barnes & Noble closest to Rockefeller Center), but thanks :-)

Wanganui NZ
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9. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

For anyone else reading this thread; Drive Time French is TERRIBLE! On my version many of the sentences have been clipped off in the recording/editing process and if I hadn't taken French, I'd have no idea what they are trying to say.

Everyone knows more French than they realize. The English language shares over 5,000 words with the French language.

Denver
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10. Re: French phrase book recommendations?

If you don't read or speak a romance language, it's a really good idea to check out some language CDs from your local library. I don't know how helpful they might or might not be in learning a language, but they're instrumental in learning pronunciation, especially French. The phonetic pronunciation guides in phrase books make a little more sense when you can hear what French words look like. To understand this best, just look at an English phrase book for French or Spanish tourists. It's a hoot.