Languages are constantly evolving and reflecting changes in the societies that speak and write them. The French language is no exception. Just as first names like Georges or Jacqueline are no longer first picks for French babies, the French you hear spoken in France today is not the same French you heard 20 or more years ago, and certainly no longer the language you may have learned in school, even though the grammar is still largely the same. The new 3rd edition of Pimsleur French Level 1reflects the language you hear in France today.
Changes in the French Language
For example, French people no longer refer to the USA as l’Amérique but instead say les Etats-Unis. Today, it is considered old-fashioned in France to call young women mademoiselle. Similarly, asking inverted questions such as Parlez-vous anglais? or Voulez-vous danser? is a thing of the past.
The updated version of Pimsleur French 1 will give you the fluency to speak and understand the French language as it is spoken by millions of native speakers today.
Outdated words and expressions (zut!, n’est-ce pas?) have been dropped; many current ones (excusez-moi, une écharpe, un coca) have been added; a few are still mentioned along with a more modern alternate (comment? is now less common than pardon? And on va is much more frequent than nous allons).
Casual Tone and Asking Questions
The new edition reflects a general trend in France toward casual interaction. Speaking politely and addressing people correctly is always important, especially for beginning language learners. Nevertheless, it is also useful to learn to interact more casually while traveling, working, or vacationing in France. With the revised edition of the Pimsleur French course, you will be able to ask questions politely (Où est-ce que vous voulez manger?) and casually (Vous voulez manger où?). You will also learn when and where to use the casual tu (Tu vas bien, Juliette?) versus the formal vous (Vous allez bien, madame?), and you will become familiar with on (On est américains.) which is quickly overtaking nous (Nous sommes américains.) in everyday conversation.
The French Liaison
Similarly, the linking of words (liaison), a feature of pronunciation aimed at making the French language sound more fluid, is less prevalent in conversation than it once was. While some liaisons remain standard and must be heard (vous z-êtes, trois z-heures), others that were considered optional now tend to be dropped altogether. For example, where once you might have heard C’est t-ici. (the “t,” normally silent in est is pronounced as if it were part of the word, ici), you will now more likely hear C’es(t) ici. (“t” is silent, there is no linking between the two words); what was pronounced pas z-allé is now pa(s) allé, etc. The updated course features new conversations and scenarios that are designed to reflect the way people speak today – casual, fun, and free-flowing.
Learn Everyday French
What you’ll learn with the newest edition of Pimsleur French 1 is neither stilted “textbook” French, nor “street” French. Rather, you’ll become well-versed in the French language as it is spoken today by people of all ages and backgrounds in all parts of the country.
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