French

I first learned French as a second foreign language (after German) in college. Later I brushed up and used my French to make life-long friends when my squadron deployed to southern France in 1996. Most recently I spent the summers of 2016, 2017, and 2018 living in Metz, France as a visiting professor at Georgia Tech Lorraine. I resolved to become fluent in French, which I officially achieved in the summer of 2018 when I passed the DELF B2 exam. B2 is the minimum level of proficiency that is widely considered “fluent”, but it does not mean expert or native-level fluency.

Easy French Step-by-Step

This is a good book written in English, which is good for absolute beginners. I used it to supplement the Echo series

Echo series

I chose the Echo series because it’s used by Alliance Française Atlanta in their classes. The Echo series, like many such language courses, are designed for general audiences and contain only French (since students may come from many language backgrounds). I like the Echo series, but it is very fast paced and I had to repeat lessons many times. It exercises all four modalities – hearing, speaking, reading and writing – and you can find English-French vocabulary lists online. Note that the DVD is not integrated into the lessons and I found it of very little utility.

French verbs are somewhat complex, so I created these learning aids which capture the vast majority of French verb families. I took most of the material for these from the Echo B1 verb summary tables and consulted other references like 501 French Verbs.