Welcome to the forum, Avinunca!
Linguaphone Discussion Thread
The answers to your questions concerning the Linguaphone courses can be found in the General Linguaphone Discussion
discussion thread. However, as this file evolved as an on-again, off-again conversation of all matters touching upon the Linguaphone courses, it is not arranged as a catalogue, it does not have an index, and tracking down previously-discussed topics requires reading the file from the beginning to the end. So then, a brief response to the points you raised would be as follows:
Course Content and Format (fourth generation)
In the 1970’s, Linguaphone began marketing new versions (third generation) of their courses (a couple of courses lagged, notably Dutch and Portuguese). In the early 2000's, Linguaphone introduced a fourth generation
of their French and Spanish courses (no other languages were included in this revision). They were as you described; that is, the lessons were separated amongst different levels, in contrast to the previous format, the dialogues, narratives, notes, et cetera were grouped by lesson number, and the manuals included a large amount of graphical content (I found the presentation of the course contents to be quite confusing). Apparently, the response to these changes was unfavourable; so much so that Linguaphone ceased publication of the French course and has reverted to selling the previous (third) generation (I’m not sure about the Spanish course). See General Linguaphone Discussion – Page 4
near the bottom of the page. Additional comments follow throughout the file.
Linguaphone French (fourth generation): 12 cds
Some years ago, even though my French was at a near-native level, out of curiosity, I purchased the fourth generation Linguaphone French course. Although I simply played around with it a little, I vaguely recall that the audio recordings had a great deal of English instructions on how to use the specific lesson materials, encouragements to move on to the next lesson, to review the materials, et cetera, all voiced by a depressingly "cheery" chap whom, were I to meet him at a social gathering, I would avoid like the plague . In addition to these totally unnecessary, distracting interruptions the sound tracks included a particularly annoying musical theme (played on a cheap electronic synthesizer) announcing new lessons and sections within lessons. So then, while the 12 cds might seem
to provide more hours of recordings which are of direct benefit to the student than did the previous generation's course, a certain portion of these augmented recordings were due to the inclusion of an awful lot of crap. By the way, I donated my copy of this beast to a local charity: good riddance to bad rubbish!
As for many other publishers, as a cost-saving measure, Linguaphone ceased offering hard covered editions of their course manuals many years ago. Perhaps it would have been acceptable had they limited this change to the physical materials. Regrettably, in some cases, the actually printing of the contents seems to be have been effected through some low-cost procedure the effects of which leave me with the impression of a cheap, almost blurry, mimeograph copy that my elementary school teachers would have produced in the 1950’s.
If you want a good, clean copy of an older Linguaphone course, I would suggest that you haunt ebay.co.uk
as most holders of the vintage courses seem to be located in the United Kingdom (note carefully that ebay operates domains in other countries and that these, too, have listings for the Linguaphone courses).
Expansion of the text.