The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

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Speakeasy
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:12 am

tomgosse wrote: ... I like to have a real book in front of me instead of a e-book. Also, I like to have the video on DVD's so I can load them on to my computer, and not be dependent on streaming video.
Thank you for your comments. I share your preferences. For those of us who prefer working with a printed textbook over an a ebook, choosing the downloading/streaming option means that one would have to print and bind the 542 pages that make up the Course Workbook PDF file. Even if this work were performed by a professional printer (or, more likely, one's local copy shop), the resulting book would not be of the same quality as the one offered by the publisher. Thus, for those who have the intention of printing the PDF file, there is something of a false economy in the downloading option. In addition (and I was rather irked by this), the DVD's contain Closed Captions of the video lectures whereas the downloadable files do not. I would point out, however, that the downloading option does permit the user to load the video files to one's computer, thereby freeing him/her from dependence on streaming the video. Ultimately, I chose the downloading option because I was simply curious about this course. Had I wanted to study the course, I would most assuredly have purchased the DVDs and the printed Course Workbook. À la prochaine!
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Carmody
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Carmody » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:53 pm

Tom,
Please do keep us posted on how you find it. Will be very interested.
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Carmody
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Carmody » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:57 pm

Speakeasy

Most grateful for your Great Languages / French review.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts re the quality of the French accent that was used?

The teachers credits appear absolutely excellent.
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Speakeasy
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:58 pm

Carmody wrote: ... I was wondering if you had any thoughts re the quality of the French accent that was used? ...
Although this is a seemingly innocent question, and I while I do not in the least doubt Carmody’s motives in posing it, for the benefit of others reading this post, please note that I am not looking to debate the matter of accents. To my mind, the lecturer, Professor Ann Williams, has a discernable American accent; however, she speaks French fluently and with self-assurance. If the multitude of supporters of the Michel Thomas Method are willing to dismiss Michel's atrocious accent -- and even go so far as to vilify anyone so bold as to mention it -- then Professor Williams' pronunciation is most assuredly a model to be emulated. As for the other speakers, be they native-speakers of France, Québec, Senegal or elsewhere, to my mind (ears) they all speak with regional accents that differ, either slightly or noticeably, from that of the purported International French accent which, in passing, is seldom encountered in the real world. I view exposure to these varied accents as one of the (minor) advantages of this course.
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Carmody
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Carmody » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:17 pm

Wow! I had no idea that this question of accent was a "third rail."

Thanks for your answer and the review of the course material.
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Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2524
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Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:06 pm

It is not so much that accents are, in themselves, a “third rail”; it is that, for some members of this forum, the mere act commenting on certain aspects of language -- the matter of accents is one of these because, for some people, they reflect one's ability to reproduce “received” speech and are therefore a marker one's social status, the mere mention of which leads inexorably to charges of the harbouring of social and racial prejudices, et cetera -- is equated with one’s having taken the profoundly wrong and immoral side in the sacred quest to put the “determinist” position asunder once and for all. In other words, while such members are free to misinterpret my comments as an attempt at excluding, stigmatising, or ostracizing the speakers in the Great Courses' French course by reason of their accents, I won’t be participating in a debate, should one arise. As to Saint Michel's accent, or those of his bumbling students, although I adopted French as my primary means of communication more than 30 years ago, I have never shaken off my own highly-discernable Anglo-Canadian accent.

EDITED:
Typos, rephrasing.
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Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2524
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:21 pm

Those of you who appreciate the "Great Courses" approach to teaching foreign languages will be pleased to learn that this publisher of video lectures has recently released a sequel to their popular Learning Spanish course:

Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/learning-spanish-ii-how-to-understand-and-speak-a-new-language.html

The course is comprised of 30 video lectures, of a duration of 44 minutes each, plus a supporting course manual. A detailed description of each of the lessons is available on the publisher's website. Highlighting the lesson titles causes a pop-up window to appear displaying the description.

The price of this course is presently deeply discounted from the regular price. As previously noted, this is part of the publisher's sales and marketing strategy. That is, a some point in the future, the course will be available at the "regular price" only; however, it will subsequently return to the "sales price" and will alternate between the two thereafter.

The publisher has posted five customer reviews of the course all of which are very favourable. I would be inclinded to accept these reviews as honest statements of appreciation by genuine customers. That is, The Great Courses has an established base of loyal customers who genuinely appreciate this publisher's line of products. While I have not yet used this particular course myself, my experience with other language courses in the series gives me considerable confidence as to the likely high quality of this new addition to the series. I would point out that these courses are video lectures supported by a course manual and are not all similar to courses such as Assimil, Linguaphone, and the like.

EDITED:
Typos.
Tinkering.

IMAGE
Great Courses Learning Spanish II
Attachments
Great Courses Learning Spanish II.JPG
Great Courses Learning Spanish II.JPG (30.83 KiB) Viewed 1172 times
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Carmody
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Carmody » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:49 am

My wife and I love to take a break from our language learning by watching this teacher.

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/professors/j-rufus-fears/

He is definitely worth a visit and most libraries carry Great Courses. We bought our Rufus Feers dvds. :D
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hqllo
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Languages: Chinese(N), English (30y), French (beginner)

Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby hqllo » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:21 pm

Speakeasy wrote:Basis for this Review of The Great Courses “Learning French”
The following review of The Great Courses “Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures” course is based on my having viewed the Video Lectures and having worked through the Laboratory Exercises for every fifth lesson: 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th. In addition, I visually surveyed the texts of the Grammar Review and the Laboratory Exercises of all thirty lessons of the accompanying Course Work. Finally, I visually scanned several of the printed Transcripts of the Lectures that I had not viewed. My appreciation of these course materials is based on my personal experiences with the French language, having adopted it as my primary means of communication some thirty-odd years ago, and on my familiarity with a number of the study materials which are, generally speaking, recognized by many members of this language forum as being amongst the most thorough for study up to the Lower Intermediate Level, viz. FSI Basic French, DLI Basic French, Pimsleur French, Assimil French, Linguaphone French, Living Language Ultimate French, and French in Action.

...


Thank you very much for the informative review. Where can you get a transcript for this course? I contacted Great Courses customer service, they only provide the workbook for this course.
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Speakeasy
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2524
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:01 pm

hqllo wrote:Basis for this Review of The Great Courses “Learning French” ...
Thank you very much for the informative review. Where can you get a transcript for this course? I contacted Great Courses customer service, they only provide the workbook for this course.
This is very strange! When I purchased my copy of the Great Courses Learning French course, a transcript was available for purchase, separately, as a PDF download, at a price of 20 $US and I did, indeed, make such a purchase.

Following your question, I checked the Great Courses website and could no longer locate the offer. I checked the "FAQ" section and located the following exchange which -- bizarely -- contradicts my personal experience:
Great Courses Learning French (Transcript) Questions and Answers.PNG
Great Courses Learning French (Transcript) Questions and Answers.PNG (16.49 KiB) Viewed 918 times
Perhaps the transcript was removed for reasons related to the copyright, but this is mere speculation on my part.

I would gladly offer to send you a copy of the "non-existent" Transcript; unfortunately, I no longer have it. About a year ago, in the midst of a major clean-up of my language-learning materials, I donated all of my French courses, including the one above, to a local charity.

As a barely acceptable alternative to having a transcript, I notice that the description of the DVD edition of the course advises "closed caption available" which, if I understand correctly, would be the on-screen equivalent of a transcript, albeit a very poor substitute. This begs the question: "if they can provide closed captions, why can they not provided a transcript?"
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