Hugo Advanced CD Language Course is a continuation of the book French in Three Months (Hugo), course I didn’t try. That means that, to use this course is not necessary to have studied French in Three Months (Hugo), if you already have an intermediate level in the language you can use the advanced course straight away.
As stated before the course is for those who already have at least an intermediate level and want to improve his skills or review the French language.
How is the book?
The book has 9 chapters. Each chapter has:
- An introductory text
- A main text with the translation of unusual vocabulary
- Brief grammatical and lexical explanations and some common expressions and slangs.
Additionally, after the lesson n° 5 and n° 9, there is a self-assessment test.
The CDs, in addition to the narration of the texts, also have the oral practice of some exercises that are in the book.
The introductory text is a great idea because it helps to better understand the main text.
The texts contain a slightly more advanced vocabulary, but that doesn’t make reading and understanding the texts impossible.
The subjects covered in each chapter are different, but complementary. Overall, the goal is to better understand the French society. Some subjects are more interesting than others, depending on personal taste. I particularly liked the texts on: the work in France, French consumers and the French political system.
I liked the brief explanations of grammar; they are simple, short and easy to understand.
Idioms and slang are introduced gradually; there is a fair amount of them, but without overemphasis.
The exercises are balanced, they have different levels, some are easy and others are hard (in the same chapter). In later chapters, there are a bit of writing exercises. From my point of view, smart decision, since writing requires a little more time and patience, and if the writing exercises were required from the beginning, many students would give up.
The tests are interesting, despite having found the first one very long. It is good way to know if you really learned the chapters or need to review them.
I also found interesting to put the exercises in the CDs, to do the same exercise in the book and just listening the audio are completely different experiences. In the book, you have time to reflect, pause and correct errors. On the other hand, on the CD, the response time is short; you are obligated to think fast and to answer immediately, a real challenge and a good idea to test the oral level of a student in a self-taught course.
As stated before, some texts are tiring and uninteresting. This makes it difficult to retain vocabulary and to pay attention to the text. I did not like the texts on religious traditions and customs, for example.
Also, about the texts, there is another problem. Some of them are based on articles from newspapers and magazines, which is not a problem in itself. However, after 12 years of the original publication, some of them became obsolete, such as, the text about the adoption of the euro, at a time that Greece may exit the euro zone.
I didn’t know the method and I liked it. I recommend for people who love to read and for those who are curious about the French society. Obviously, they are not in-depth texts, but they give an idea on how France works.
Also, I believe that the creator of the method thought in the student, a common flaw founded in a good share of books for students of foreign languages. I found it well made, because it works all necessary skills: listening, reading, writing and oral practice.
The exercises are not too easy and they don’t focus only on grammar and the self-assessment tests really check your ability and your understanding of the contents; unlike the exercises, which you practice right after the grammatical explanations, the tests are done days or weeks after seeing the chapter, thus an opportunity to verify if the content was retained or not.
The time to complete the course will depend on each person. You can make a chapter a day, but it would be a hasty pace, in my opinion. I believe is best to study a chapter every 3-5 days, ie, is a crash course. Without a lot of discipline, I finished it in one month.
You can find the Hugo Advanced CD Language Course in Amazon.