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French Key Words and Expressions, The Combined Book (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Saul H. Rosenthal

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This book, and the two books which it combines, “Speaking Better French, The Key Words and Expressions You’ll Need Every Day” and "Speaking Better French, More Key Words and Expressions", have been hailed by reviewers as a unique and innovative idea.

They give you the absolutely essential words that you need to navigate everyday French conversation. Not the textbook formal words but the expressions that real people in France use when they talk to each other, the glue that holds conversations together.

You'll learn when to use, and when not to use words and expressions like truc, foutu, Oh-la-la, Coucou, payer en liquide, and merde. You'll learn how to faire un bise à quelqu'un, how to say you are sorry, how to say “Don’t worry about it!”, what les grandes surfaces are, and how to tell someone to shut up. You'll learn what a goûter is, and an apéritif dînatoire. You'll find out that Ce sale chat ! doesn't mean the cat is dirty, that passer an exam doesn't mean to pass the exam, and lots, lots more.

And it's all written in a conversational style with each word or expression explained and illustrated by examples of its use in French with translations into English.

You'll see why a reviewer of Key Words and Expressions on said:

"If you really want to learn spoken French, you need this book. You'll need other books as well, you'll need audio materials, and you'll need live language experience, preferably in France. But this book is a necessity."

And why another wrote:

"Perhaps the most amazing thing about this book is that it took until 2007 for anyone to think of writing it! The author's insight is right on target. This book does indeed fill a huge and inexplicable gap in the otherwise very crowded market for books on learning French. (Come to think of it, I haven't found such books in any of the three foreign languages I've studied besides French.)"

What’s best about this book is that it's FUN to read! Here are some comments from others:

“I think your books are wonderful. You have made a fantastic contribution to the French language profession.” --- Professor Judy Baughin, Raymond Walters College

“As with your previous book, I am amazed at how fun to read, as well as incredibly informative the book is. It's a wonderful tool” --- Professor Brigitte Humbert, Middlebury College

“I just wanted to let you know that the copy of " Key Words and Expressions" arrived yesterday. I looked through it last night, and I have to say it is just the kind of book I would have liked to have had when I was teaching myself French oh-so-many years ago..” --- Professor John Moran, Director of Language Programs, NYU

“Your little books are great!” ---- Professor AG Fralin, Washington and Lee University

I love your books! They are easy to navigate, and they are extremely useful to non-native French speakers. Maybe I'm odd, but I actually enjoy reading them at night in bed before falling to sleep, they're that entertaining. ---- Professor John Turvaville, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

I've been perusing Key Words for the past couple of days and it's great fun. A feature I'm really liking is the focus on the day-to-day spoken language, which doesn't always follow grammar rules. I'm going to think how I could implement some of your expressions into my fall class. What a great idea for a book! --- Professor Herta Rodina, Ohio University

“I very much like what you have done with the latest book. The expressions you introduce are so much a part of everyday conversational life in France. Too bad that more French texts don't teach them.” --- Professor John Romeiser, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5  28 commentaires
105 internautes sur 106 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 28 septembre 2010
Par John Williams - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Okay. I'm going to give you the good news and the bad news about this book very briefly. Then, I will go into some details for those of you who are interested.

The good news is that this book is indeed useful for those attempting to master French beyond the second-year level. The words and expressions discussed occur frequently for the most part, and I believe that most of the comments about the words are correct. The majority of the examples are authentic and practical. All in all, this is a good book for anyone wishing to polish his or her already functional French.

The bad news is that this book is amateurish and sloppy. It is replete with careless errors both in English and in French. I will give a list below, but they are legion. When I first saw this book advertised in the French Review, I thought it might have been written by a retired French professor eager to provide future generations of students with some helpful hints. Nothing could be further from the truth. No French professor would have written such a poorly edited book.

Saul H. Rosenthal never explains his credentials in French. He mentions a daughter who is presumably a native speaker of French, but he doesn't talk about either a wife or his own educational background. I get the impression he is an American who has lived quite a bit of time in France, long enough to have picked up the lingo but not long enough to have mastered it. The book appears to be self-published and certainly self-edited. It is sad he did not seek out some serious help in preparing this book for publication.

Now, let me offer some details. I will put the page numbers in parentheses. Mr. Rosenthal is "apostrophe-challenged." Consider some of these mistakes. "It's literal translation" (23), "ones fingers" (48), "Dont I know" (50), "it's very nature" (70), "the speakers words" (96), "on ones guard" (115), "here are some examples of it's use" (213), "to attract someones attention" (256). The errors in punctuation are simply too numerous to mention.

What about the French, you say? Well, for those of you who know French well, take these examples. "Le nuit" (9), "huit heure" (17), "la réponse est arrivé" (17), "Il faut lui demandé" (36), "tu te soûle" (53), "je fait" (63), "t'en fait pas" (84), "les premiers trois axiomes" (113), "j'ai travaillais" (146), "de ce qu'elle à dit" (153), en vacance (157), "quel beau gateau" (168), "quelle mauvaise caractère" (169), "j'ai souvent eu besoin attendre plusieurs heures" (213), "je me fait beaucoup de soucis" (219). There are certain other infelicities. For example, the sentence "Fais attention à toi quand tu vas skier" (88) is translated as "Be careful of yourself when you go skiing." There are others as well.

Finally, I would question some of his comments about register. On page 224, for example, "zut!" should not be translated by "damn" or "hell" because it is not profanity in French. "Shoot," "darn," or "rats" are more accurate examples of the register. Likewise, on pages 64 and 241, "je m'en fiche" and "je m'en fous" are not in the same register. "Je m'en fiche" is more like "I don't give a hoot."

Occasionally, I might quibble with some of his renderings into English. For example, on page 252, "Je suis malade depuis huit jours" would be better translated "I have been sick for a week" than his "I have been sick for eight days."

Well, there you have it, the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. I leave it to you to judge whether or not this is a worthy book to add to your library or to give to friends.
64 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 unlocking spoken French 4 juin 2009
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
I'm emphatically not a French speaker (raised in British Columbia in the most monolingual of environments), so I need all the help I can get. Improving my French has been important to me as my wife is a French professor, and as we sometimes travel in French-speaking countries, but I still have a ways to go.

My wife suggested this book to help me with vernacular, spoken French. I am finding it to be a clear, entertaining, and pragmatic introduction to the idioms and natural repetitions of spoken French.

A significant amount of what is said in regular conversation repeats expressions that are used over and over again. These "key" expressions sometimes mean more than even the most careful grammatical breakdown will reveal. Attempting to decipher them while they are being delivered wears out a novice French speaker. I can vouch for that!

Learning those key words as a species unto themselves, expressions that routinely grease the wheels of speech, has given me a head start on comprehension. Whatever becomes immediately recognized saves my energy and attention for the more important content that may be unpredictable and complex. No more will I get stuck on "dont" or "dès que" while the cart of conversation keeps rolling -- memory willing, of course (but that's another subject and another book).

The sequence of the selected expressions is non-alphabetical. The result is unexpected and personal, sometimes with clear continuity comparing similar expressions, sometimes with fresh changes of subject, which keep you surprised and interested. The illustrating sentence-examples often imply whole, sometimes humorous, dramas behind the expressions being "illustrated" and put them in context, so you can understand how they are actually used.

These examples even have an indirect benefit. Without tedium, I am exposed to the verb forms that I can't bring myself to study -- the conditional and the subjunctive, for example. If I learn the verb form as part of a constantly used idiom, that idiom becomes my reference for the verb, instead of a bloodless, grueling, grammar declension. So too with word order and other parts of speech. This is the way a child learns, by picking up whole pieces and discovering that they can be inserted, repeated, and combined.

In addition, I am finding myself sensitized to the English idioms which are given as commentary and illustration. Seeing what we are prepared to accept as immediately meaningful in English encourages me to accept as fair and natural the inexplicable or odd constructions in French that I would otherwise resist (and even resent).

The content here would do well as a page-a-day calendar with a three-part page, French on top, English in the middle, and commentary at the bottom. With this design, each page could be used permanently as a flashcard, or the reader could make or print his own flashcards on business-card stock with the French on one side and the English on the other.

To me now, the idea of key words and expressions seems like an elemental concept. And for me, this elemental concept has found its vehicle in Rosenthal's book. In the English idiom, if something is a lock, it's a sure win. But the opposite, literal meaning is still there -- a lock on a door you want to open. For many of us, French has that other, unfortunate meaning. If for you French is a lock, Rosenthal has given you a key. Thanks to the author for a wonderful, independent contribution to passing through the language barrier!
30 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must-have 17 mai 2009
Par J. Martin - Publié sur
This is easily one of the best and most important French resources I own (and I've got dozens of them). This book cuts right to the chase and delivers the expressions you absolutely have to master if you want to speak French with any proficiency. The expressions in this book are the ones that native French speakers use ALL THE TIME. I watch a lot of French films and usually have a lot of dificulty understanding the more idiomatic locutions (which they use all the time), but it's amazing, absolutely amazing how this book has improved my understanding of spoken French in a very short time. If you spend the time and master the expressions contained in this gem of a book and supplement it with Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach (Mastering Vocabulary Series), a subscription to La Guinguette, and The Ultimate French Review and Practice (Book+ CD-ROM) (Uitimate Review and Reference Series), you will be well on your way to fluency in the language. It's that simple.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Make Your French Flow 30 juin 2009
Par John F. Moran - Publié sur
Mr. Rosenthal's previous three key word volumes have now been gathered together into one enormously useful volume. The beauty of these books for me is that they are both useful for my students as a reference and enjoyable for me as a book to read through. The breadth of expressions covered is impressive, the explanations are concise, the examples are clear, and register differences are always taken into consideration. This book is a must-have for the serious French student.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Le mot juste 26 mai 2009
Par Ruth G. Koizim - Publié sur
This book should be in the personal library of everyone who has ever studied French. Whether you use it to refine your active vocabulary or to help you decipher what you read and hear, you'll appreciate Rosenthal's clear explanations and humorous examples.

This is definitely NOT a book that reeks of academic jargon - au contraire! c'est pour tout le monde!
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