Magazine learning: Bien-Dire or French Accent?

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Orange Belt
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Magazine learning: Bien-Dire or French Accent?

Postby jeffers » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:40 pm

I've been considering the possibility of subscribing to a magazine for French learners. The two options I know about are Bien-Dire ( or French Accent ( Could anyone with experience of both of these comment on them?

At a glance I can see that Bien-Dire has about twice the number of pages, is a printed magazine and comes with either a CD or mp3s. French Accent is an e-magazine, with mp3 audio. French Accent is much cheaper at 28 Euros per year, whereas Bien-Dire is £89. Obviously the difference in price can be accounted for my the fact that Bien-Dire posts a physical copy and is twice the length per issue.

Other than that, one nice feature I've noticed in French Accent is that they normally have two dictées, which seems like a good way to work on both comprehension and spelling.

Please share your experience with these magazines.
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Black Belt - 1st Dan
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Re: Magazine learning: Bien-Dire or French Accent?

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:54 pm

The publishers of the “Bien-Dire” magazine offer subscriptions to their highly-rated monthly audio magazine (every issue focuses on a specific theme), a selection of audio books, and online exercises designed to assist the student with grammar, et cetera. I am familiar with the magazine and I agree with the numerous forum members, both here on the LLORG and on the HTLAL, who have praised its high quality. By the way, here is the link to the publisher’s website:

French Accent
I am not at all familiar with the “French Accent” magazine. Nevertheless, having just downloaded the “sample” from the website for which you provided the link, it seems to me that their product is more of an introductory “how to” course on speaking French as a opposed to a magazine.

Spotlight Verlag offers a collection of high-quality monthly audio magazines and ancillary products one of which is “écoute”, their French edition. Each issue contains graded articles for the Introductory through Intermediate levels. I subscribed to their German monthly magazine for two years and I was quite satisfied with the quality of the product. Here is the link:

Think French
The publisher, Think Languages, offers subscriptions to monthly audio magazines in three languages, including their French edition, “Think French.” The subscriptions often include access to the previous year’s issues. I subscribed to both their Spanish and Italian magazines for two years and I was quite satisfied with the quality of the product. In fact, this is my preferred choice and, from my perspective, this publisher offers the “biggest bang for the buck.” In addition, I found the articles more useful in expanding my vocabulary. Here is the link:

My Experience with Audio Magazines (Once Again, Spreading my Cheer)
There is no doubt that audio magazines represent a pleasant means of increasing one’s vocabulary, of attuning one's ear to the target language, and of keeping abreast of cultural trends. I truly enjoyed the audio magazines to which I subscribed and I would never discourage anyone from trying a 6-month or 12-month subscription. All the same, there is a “cost-benefit” issue to be considered. Over time, I came to realize that my annual subscriptions had been consuming funds which could have been more profitably directed to the purchase of more concentrated products such as graded audio books by publishers such as Black Cat or ungraded materials such as popular crime novels that have been translated and recorded. Added to the equation are the freely available “slow news” channels, with transcriptions, for Beginner-Intermediate students and the freely available audio books on sites such as Librivox. So then, while I was once an avid subscriber of three audio magazines, I have come to view audio magazines as “low return on investment” products given the availability of alternative resources; pleasant and entertaining, yes, but to be used sparingly.

Corrections to auto-correct.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Green Belt
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Re: Magazine learning: Bien-Dire or French Accent?

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:23 pm

Since you are in the UK, have you considered an actual French magazine? Something like Gala? General interest women’s magazine, light celebrity articles, recipes, travel? Lots of pictures? These types of magazines tend to be written at a native middle school reading level, which is approachable for a intermediate learner. No vocabulary hints or MP3s, but lots of light reading, and perhaps more affordable.
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Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1752
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
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Re: Magazine learning: Bien-Dire or French Accent?

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:50 pm

Hello, again, jeffers! As a continuation of my initial post, I thought that it might be useful to clarify what I meant by, as an alternative to audio magazines, you might wish to consider purchasing ungraded audio books such a crime novels, thrillers, and the like.

As I was progressing in my study of German, I found that there were very few graded audio books at the B1 level and even fewer at the B2 level. Ultimately, I came to understand that, quite often, Intermediate-level students begin working directly with native materials and that this explains the lack of a market for graded audio books at this level.

So then, with a view to creating my own set of audio books with accompanying English-language transcriptions, I simply purchased paired sets of English-language novels which had been translated into German and for which audio book editions existed. I have found that the language deployed in these "pulp fiction" novels is often in the Intermediate range, which stands to reason.

Purists might argue that these translations are not really equivalent to native materials and, to a certain extent, I would tend to agree with them. On the other hand, it seems to me that purists are lacking perspective on this point. We're independent language-learners and we're making significant efforts at improving our skills in our chosen foreign languages. So then, we can all "cut ourselves a little slack" by viewing the approach that I have described as just another step in a very long journey. Besides, one could conceivably reverse the procedure; that is, simply purchase an original L2 audio book and then chase down an English-language edition with a view to creating one's own dual-language audio book package.

To illustrate the procedure, I just visited the Amazon.FR website, typed "livres audio", which prompted a list of choices, and selected "livres audio cd en francais roman" from the predefined searches. As you can see, there are numerous French-language audio books for which English-language editions exist.

Amazon.FR "livres audio cd en francais roman"

eBay.FR "livres audio"

In my experience, these "pulp fiction" novels are just great for students at the Intermediate level. In contrast, the freely-available audio books on sites such as Libribox are often literary classics which were written for native speakers during the latter half of the 19th century and, in my experience, this tends to place them at the Advanced level. Thus, the latter are likely to be out of your reach at this juncture.

By the way, one can often purchase both the foreign language audio books and their English language originals as "used" items, thereby decreasing the cost, use them for study purposes, and than re-sell them as a "dual-language audio book package" on websites such as eBay and the like.

Enjoy your studies!

Insertion of the link to eBay.FR for "livres audio"
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