Introduction

The objective of this book and the Transcon website is to bring a little reality and common sense into language training. Learning a second or even third language can be very rewarding, in more ways than one.

Initial enthusiasm however, can often turn to frustration at the methods that are so often used to ‘teach’ language. In truth, it is often more an exercise in clever marketing than providing material that genuinely explains how a language works. If you believe all the gimmicks such as ‘No effort required!’, ‘No pens or pencils!’, ‘Just sit back and you’ll be fluent in no time!’ that’s pretty much your own fault really. French lessons in whatever form, books, CDs or classroom instruction are a perfect example. From the very beginning it is often a confusing mix of adjectives, verbs, nouns, singular, plural, masculine and feminine. Not easy to start with and even tougher if you can’t remember what verbs, nouns and adjectives are. And the real turn off for many English speakers trying to learn French is the so-called importance of having to learn about masculine and feminine. Most Anglophones see attaching ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ attributes to inanimate objects such as chairs, tables and doors as simply stupid or pointless. Whatever the case, it is unnecessary to waste time learning about it in your first lesson as the French certainly don’t care whether you get these grammatical details right or not. Another typical approach often used in the first lesson is to teach students how to mimmick phrases such as ‘Bonjour’, ‘My name is ...’ and ‘How are you’. Learning these phrases parrot fashion is totally redundant if you have no idea of why you are saying what you are saying. Yes, you can teach students in their first lesson so that they can go away being able to put simple sentences together. These are not the right ones to start with however. As a final aside, drawing lines between French words and cups of coffee, sticks of bread and pictures of cute little animals doesn’t help either. In our first lesson we are not going to learn singular, plural, masculine, feminine etc for now. The only thing that matters in the beginning is learning our verbs, the so called doing or action words. We need to learn them because the whole French language revolves around verbs even more so than English. The important ones to learn are obviously the simple verbs we use everyday such as; To go To run To walk To eat etc. Hundreds of these verbs are almost identical to English in the written form and many more are easily recognisable synonyms, or like words. In the members section of the website and in the final chapter of this text the mini-dictionary has classified all these verbs into 3 groups. The first group contains all the no brainer verbs which are almost identical to English such as accept (accepter), change (changer), continue (continuer) etc. The second group contains the verbs which are synonyms or like words to English such as answer (repondre), begin (commencer), deserve (meriter) etc. The third group you will actually have to make the effort to learn because they are different to English but most of them can come later. The rules of French grammar classify all verbs into three different groups. This is not the same thing and will be explained shortly. The verbs in this book have been classified for you to be able to rapidly expand your vocabulary.</p>