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The most disappointing aspect of this book for me, however, is the use of English mnemonic devices to teach the target language. The information in this book is relevant and up-to-date; however, the images of many of the politicians pictured here will soon have to be updated. It seems to me as though the book is more appropriate to a student with a more advanced knowledge of the language especially regarding the detailed grammar and phonetics sections than is typical of a first-year student in the United States.

The grammar sections contain very detailed information on French phonetics. Much of the information presented in the grammar and phonetics sections could probably be used in more advanced courses just so long as the professor does not mind presenting this material in English and is open to the mnemonic suggestions for learning proper French grammar and pronunciation. There are many links that allow the reader to progress to subsequent parts of the book. I also had trouble finding common words in my search bar.

Also, the reference for footnote 7 in Chapter 6 was labeled as 6, which created some confusion. The textbook is culturally relevant in all the ways that one would expect a 21st-century textbook to be. Reviewed by Robert Sanders, Assoc. The scope and sequence are very good; the material covered is everything one would expect from a first-year text. It is organized around communication, culture and grammar, as described in the introduction.

Its twelve chapters can be easily divided into two semesters, three trimesters or four quarters. The TOC is clear and fairly detailed, although there is no chart or table of scope and sequence at the beginning nor is there an index, glossary or verb charts such as one often finds at the end of basic language texts. Also, the text takes advantage of freely available video on the web, which is generally of good quality. Most of the content of the text concerns language, longstanding patterns of usage and culture, both in terms of famous artists and behavioral culture.

Therefore the text has pretty good longevity. An example of something that might easily be eliminated without harming the content is the rate of exchange for the Euro on page This is particularly true of the grammar explanations, which students are expected to study at home. The author explicitly seeks to create a culture of grammatical awareness in both English and Spanish. The chapters are very consistent, as is required for texts of this type.

The chapters do gradually shorten, from about 75 pages in each of the first chapters to about 45 pages in each of the last chapters.


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This is not surprising for a first year language text as students are gradually required to produce more language themselves writing and speaking prompts, and the exercises and activities that contain them, become shorter while students produce more language in response to them.

The fact that the lab manual or workbook is integrated into each chapter and the answer keys if you chose one of the editions with answers keys appear at the end of each chapter make this text much more modular than most texts on the market. The fact that it is generally free and the text videos are available online make modular use of this book quite possible. The audio for the integrated lab manual is currently only available from the author this is expected to change in ; the author provides the audio files free of charge for partial and complete adoptions.

I think this text is about as modular as I would be willing to accept. First year language programs require texts whose material is highly integrated, that is to say that material previously presented, practiced and explained becomes subsumed or repeated in later chapters. In other words, it is not advisable in a language program to combine many individual chapters from different texts into a pastiche. Nonetheless, any of the chapters in this book could easily be used for review or to bolster a non-traditional language program for which one did not want to adopt a complete text, such as a short term study abroad program to a French speaking country eg.

The organization flows very naturally and in accordance with ACTFL proficiency tasks, starting with the most immediate context self, others, people, objects, classroom, family, work and ending with the more abstract past, future, commands. This is the area where lack of development spending by a publisher is most notable. The line art illustration is pretty good and the text makes great use of freely available video and photography. I would have no hesitation in adopting this book, but a few things that could be addressed include: Color and style scheme: This textbook is very plain and although well organized, it would benefit from more color and style design.

Basic language texts are highly structured, with many thematic sections dialogues, grammar presentations, cultural observations, listening practice, etc. Using a color and style scheme makes these sections more readily identifiable and speeds familiarity with the text for teachers and students. Video links: I reviewed the. There are numerous video clips in the textbook. The videos are on YouTubeTM and generally have p resolution, which is low for a desktop and is not the best quality, but works well on mobile devices because of the low demand for data. They worked well on my iPad, iPhone and PC desktop.

The content of the videos is very good, culturally relevant, and is of native speakers of French.


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  • Some of the videos have ads. Following the links on my desktop did not open a new window or a new tab, and as a result navigating back to the textbook always take one back to page one. Audio links: The audio to accompany the integrated lab manual is pretty good and the actors are native speakers.

    I would feel comfortable assigning it. To get access to the audio for the integrated lab manual, you will need to contact the author. She plans to have all of the audio online at lightandmatter. She also plans to rerecord some of the audio clips for better quality and to update any dated material. Each audio file covers an entire chapter, and is 15 to 60 MB, generally too large for mobile devices. Access to the files is currently provided through Drop BoxTM, requiring users to create a free account. It would be nice for these audio files to segmented and linked in the text at each exercise, and without the Drop Box intermediary.

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    Typesetting: The typesetting is pretty good. I would suggest using a smaller font in the margin note textboxes; this will alleviate some of the issues arising from full justification in such a narrow space and will further distinguish the notes from the body text. I did not see any grammatical or orthographic errors.

    I think the text has been pretty well proofed, despite a few typos mentioned above. The book is inclusive of francophone peoples in the Americas, Europe and Africa. I did not see any insensitive material in the book. I am amazed that a book of this quality is available for free.

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    If I taught first year French I directed a large first-year Spanish program for ten years I would very seriously consider adopting this book, and I congratulate the author for single handedly bringing it together. I think the author will continue to improve this book and its adoptions will grow. The only area of concern I have are the audio files; they work pretty well but will need to be segmented and compressed for future mobile users. This textbook is a first-year book that can be easily used over 2 semesters in a program.

    It covers functions necessary to reach intermediate-low to intermediate-mid proficiency although this proficiency would probably be not be reached until the It covers functions necessary to reach intermediate-low to intermediate-mid proficiency although this proficiency would probably be not be reached until the 2nd year. It is organized in an order that is expected for this content and is easy to follow. It covers all the typical topics covered in 1st-year programs and provides a large range of cultural information. I did not notice any inaccuracy overall.

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    The 5 Cs could be more obviously stated throughout, which could facilitate planning for teachers. This allows the book to be very practical for instructors. There are several cultural instances where questions are asked to make learners compare their own cultures with the ones mentioned in the chapter. Many good questions triggering critical-thinking skill. The particular comparisons mentioned in the text are such that they do not change overtime. The content starts with a focus on words and expands throughout the chapters, adding complexity to the content, the texts and the expectations.

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    Not too much grammar, which is a good in order not to overwhelm students. It also follows the content that the ACTFL guidelines prescribe for intermediate-low to -mid students would know. Maybe beginning books do not emphasize pronunciation as much. The activities are a little bit squished together, making reading them a little difficult to read through the directions and the activities themselves. As mentioned later, the instructions for the activities could be clarified or at least illustrated more often with an example.

    I understand it is an open textbook, so the quality of the images is decent for this situation.