Hard for some, easy for others
This series of authentic listening and reading materials for A-level, higher and sixth-year studies German and French has gone from strength to strength.
As with previous editions, the first impression of both Thematisch 6 and Thematique 6 is of sheer density of material. Even in a two-year A-level course it is unlikely that the entire pack could be used. Both editions draw on a wide variety of press and media sources.
In the German edition four topics cover a striking range of material, from video games and computer clubs for girls, to quality control in meat production.
In terms of listening practice, Thematisch has the edge on its French counterpart. Although the recording is not always crystal-clear, this is more than compensated for by the fact that the interviews sound natural and not over-prepared. In Thematique, by contrast, lively dialogue is by and large replaced by stimulus questions which give rise to long sections of monologue in which the French is really quite taxing. It too, however, offers a variety of topics that give good scope for class work: "Vive la France", a celebration of all aspects of the country and her people; "A Table", with some particularly long texts, dealing among other things with listeria in cheeses and eating disorders; "La Provence", a perfect working dossier for A-level and sixth-year studies topic work. It is only in "La Crise", on the economic problems of the French car industry, that language and content become quite dauntingly difficult. That apart, this new edition of Thematique adds a vital new layer to post-16 resources.