Never lost for words
This attractive 100-page reference book for students of A-level French comprises topic-based units of useful vocabulary and phrases, with helpful addresses and advice. The target language is used as the medium throughout.
The book is clearly structured: it is divided into 14 topic units with a concluding section on useful discursive phrases, link words and a list of verbs followed by the infinitive. The topic areas contain up-to-date vocabulary and reflect current content: (L'Environnement, Les Medias, Les Probl mes Sociaux. . .) subdivided into several one or two-page sections within that topic area: La Sante is sub-divided into la drogue, l'alcool, le tabac, le SIDA, divers. Each topic unit concludes with a comprehensive list of useful addresses in French-speaking countries for further information. The conseil de vocabulaire suggests interesting ways to learn vocabulary - suggestions on how to recognise masculinefeminine nouns by their endings are useful, and there are some stimulating exercises, although one or two suggestions, while fun for younger learners, seem a bit inappropriate for this age-range. The sections on mots et phrases de liaison and verbes suivis d'un infinitif, are a useful overview of general vocabulary.
From the outset, students will be encouraged to use the book - the tone of the avant-propos is friendly and helpful, and the attractive and clear format, with good use of titles, spacing and boxes, should appeal. Italics are used throughout to differentiate the English from the French, and the column format allows easy self-testing.
The addresses are a new addition to similar books, and the sample letters in the world of work unit on applying for a job and requesting further information will be welcome. The book succeeds well in making learning vocabulary look manageable, while stressing that class-work and a good dictionary are invaluable.