Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free Video French Lessons

Monday, October 18, 2010

Top Learning French Iphone/Ipod Touch Apps

French Essentials by AccelaStudy: Cost: Free Version + $9.99 full version
Helps you understand and pronounce words in the shortest time possible. Native speaker audio helps you master the language. Flash cards, quizzes and a built in translator to help accelerate your learning.
WordReference by Michael Kellog: Cost: Free
English-French dictionary, french verb conjugator. Voice recordings of many words.
Verbe2Verbe by Lisa Paul: Cost $2.99
Conjugate and translate over 8000 French and English Verbs
French Tutor by Donald Stephenson: Cost: Free
This self contained app doesn't require internet access for all features so it's great for ipod touch users. Lots of entertaining quizzes and puzzle style games are used to keep you challenged. Fun for learning or refreshing your french from virtually anywhere.
Memorize Words For French by Componica: Cost: Free Version + $6.99 full
Uses a flashcad based learning system to help memorize french words and their pronounciations.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

French Language Requirements For Federal Government Jobs In Ottawa

The citys top employer is the federal government. Information and opportunities about careers in the federal government are posted on the Public Service Commission of Canada website

For government jobs in Ottawa you will likely need to meet certain language requirements, have Canadian work experience and get a security clearance.

Language requirements
For most government positions, being fluent in both English and French is an asset. In some cases, it is mandatory. Your chances for advancement in the government are much higher if you are bilingual. Visit Ottawa French Lessons  to find out where you can learn French as a Second Language.

The Second Language Evaluation: 
Reading Test: 
Assesses your reading proficiency in French as your second official language.  The test evaluates all general proficiency levels required for bilingual positions in the federal Public Service. It has 65 multiple-choice questions worth one point each. A description of the abilities measured by the Reading Test may be found after the section on Tips and is followed by Sample Questions.

Your proficiency level is determined by your test score. If you score between 20 and 37 (inclusive), you will obtain Level A; if you score between 38 and 50, Level B; and if you score between 51 and 58, Level C. A score of 59 or above allows an exemption from future testing in reading.

A Reading Test session takes about two hours, including administration time. Please arrive in plenty of time before the test session, as you will NOT be allowed into the room after testing has begun.
Your results on the Reading Test will be sent to you soon after you have taken the test. To obtain information about administrative or testing procedures, contact the responsible officer in the organization that requested your test.

Reading Abilities for Levels A, B, and C

Level A

Ability to understand texts on topics of limited scope; ability to understand very simple texts and grasp the main idea of texts about familiar topics; ability to read and understand elementary points of information such as dates, numbers or names from relatively more complex texts in order to perform routine job-related tasks.

Level B

Ability to understand most descriptive or factual material on work-related subjects; ability to grasp the main idea of most work-related texts, locate specific details and distinguish main from subsidiary ideas.

Level C
Ability to understand texts on a wide variety of work-related topics; ability to understand most complex details, inferences and fine points of meanings;ability to read with good comprehension specialized or less familiar material.

Exemption from further second language testing in the reading skill will be granted to persons who obtain a score high enough that they need not be tested again.

Writing Abilities for Levels A, B and C:

The SLE-Test of Written Expression in the Second Official Language evaluates all general proficiency levels required for bilingual positions in the federal public service.

Level A
Ability to write very limited units of information; ability to write isolated words, phrases, simple statements or questions on very familiar topics using words of time, place or person.

Level B
Ability to write short descriptive or factual texts; ability to write with sufficient mastery of grammar and vocabulary to deal with explicit information on work-related topics.

Level C
Ability to write explanations or descriptions in a variety of informal and formal work-related situations; ability to write texts in which the ideas are developed and presented in a coherent manner; ability to write texts in which vocabulary, grammar and spelling are generally appropriate and require few corrections.

An exemption from further second language testing in the writing skill will be granted to persons who obtain a score high enough that they need not be tested again.

The SLE-Test of Written Expression in the Second Official Language (French) assesses knowledge of grammar, structure, usage, and other aspects of written expression that are necessary to perform writing tasks dealing with work-related situations.

This test has a new feature enabling you to choose the official language (French or English) in which you want to read or receive the test instructions. However, the sample questions are presented in French only.

In this test, you are presented with a number of texts (e-mail, notes, memoranda, letters, information bulletins, excerpts from reports, research papers). Your task is to read each text carefully and respond to the questions by selecting the best answer to each question.

Oral Proficiency in the Second Official Language
Assesses your ability to speak and understand your second official language (French or English). A certified assessor administers the test, which includes language activities about work-related matters. The test is administered by telephone or face-to-face and lasts 20 to 40 minutes.


The SLE - TOP evaluates your ability to communicate orally in your second official language in work-related situations. Assessors receive extensive training in administering the test and assessing both the language tasks that you can accomplish and the clarity with which you communicate. They will also try to help you feel at ease during the test.

Your final result is a global evaluation of your ability to perform language tasks in a variety of work-related contexts with the appropriate level of accuracy. The language tasks and the degree of accuracy required become more demanding from Level A to Level C. Based on your test performance, you will obtain Level A, B or C, or receive an exemption from further testing in oral proficiency. Exemption from further testing is granted to C-level candidates who do not demonstrate any major weaknesses. If your performance does not meet the minimum requirements for Level A, you will receive an X.

Level A

Can understand most speech that deals with concrete and routine topics and is delivered slowly and clearly in standard speech. Can make self understood in short contributions, even though pauses and false starts are very evident. Can talk about everyday aspects of routine activities and can handle a simple question-and-answer exchange. Has sufficient basic vocabulary and grammatical structures to conduct routine transactions involving familiar situations and topics. Structures and vocabulary borrowed from another language can interfere with the clarity of the message. Pronunciation requires close attention from the listener, but there are no long stretches that are unclear.

Level B

Can understand the main points of clear standard speech that deals with concrete, work-related topics and is delivered at normal speed. Can give a simple description of a concrete topic, can explain main points comprehensibly and can compare and discuss alternatives when complications arise. Can speak with some spontaneity, although pauses for grammatical and lexical planning and repair are evident in longer stretches. Has sufficient vocabulary and a variety of simple structures to handle concrete, non-routine situations and topics and can link a series of simple elements into a connected sequence when giving a factual description. There may be miscommunication in some areas, but most stretches are clear. Pronunciation is generally clear enough to be understood, despite an evident accent from another language. Listeners will, at times, need to ask for repetition or clarification.

Level C

Can understand linguistically complex speech that deals with work-related topics and is spoken in standard dialect at normal speed. Can give clear, detailed descriptions of complex topics and can summarize a discussion. Can express and sustain opinions and can respond to complex and hypothetical questions. Has a fairly natural and even delivery, with occasional hesitations, but most hesitations are for ideas. Has a broad range of vocabulary and structures when talking about complex and abstract topics, with a relatively high degree of control. Makes errors, but these rarely lead to misunderstanding. Pronunciation is clear, even if an accent from another language is noticeable. Occasional mispronunciations occur, but they rarely interfere with communication.
X: Performance does not meet the minimum requirements for Level A.

Exemption: Exemption from further testing because performance contains no major weaknesses. Can handle most situations in the second official language with excellent control of the language and a high degree of ease.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Rosetta Stone French Course

The Rosetta Stone French Language Course is unusual in that it is completely software based. It has a huge and respected reputation for teaching many foreign languages well and the French language program is the most popular edition of their product.

The method used id called Dynamic Immersion and is very interactive. It uses online video and speech recognition technology to help the student learn all aspects of the French language. One notable feature is the way that your own accent is compared to that of native speakers and you are given direct feedback on how to improve your French accent.

A further recommendation for this French course is that it has a huge vocabulary included. For serious students of language learning there is a section for everyone. It goes into depth on both the sentence formation and word use. There are plenty of useful real life situations covered and the words used are contemporary and true to life.

One disadvantage of the Rosetta Stone system is that it is not portable like books and CD’s are. This may not be a problem to you if you work on a laptop but is a severe limitation if your computer is a desktop model. You also need to need to be connected online to get the best out of the language software.

Having said this, the course is a complete learning experience for learning the French language. You can start as a complete beginner and work through to complete fluency over a period of six months if you apply yourself to daily study. Highly recommended. For a free demo of the Rosetta Stone program click here

Review: Rocket French

The Rocket French Language Course has an unusual approach to learning French as well as an unusual name. The course comes in 2 formats. You can buy it in hard copy on CD’s which are shipped worldwide. The cheaper alternative is to download exactly the same content direct to your computer online. There have been a number of different versions over the years but the current one has 31 lessons.

The lessons are on audio with written materials as backup. While the Rocket French Company claim that the system is new and modern, in my opinion the methods are quite traditional. That is not a criticism as the French language is presented in a clear and easy way for beginners. In fact for complete beginners this is an excellent course with its measured approach and step by step approach.

There is not one particular emphasis in this language program. It covers all the French language you need as a beginner which is the type of language student who will buy this product. Because this is a software based system you are tied to your computer for your language learning. I like to have books and written materials when I am learning a language and you would need to buy these as extra resources for language learning.

The Rocket French Language Course does have a huge advantage over all other online French courses. They offer a 6 part free starter French course to prospective language students. This course really gives you the look and feel of the full product before you part with any money. This is a real feature of this course and makes it a top recommendation for people who are not sure which French course to buy.
The cost is also less than all other comparable competition. So you get the top quality course for the cheapest price.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: Michel Thomas French Language Course

The Michel Thomas language courses come in the format of live lessons with two students. This potentially dreadful format actually works very well and you find yourself competing with the recorded students to get the phrase spoken before they answer.

Michel Thomas has quite a strong accent which colours his pronunciation a little but it is not a major issue. The one thing you will learn very quickly and easily is the French verb structure. This is the main strength of this French language course and you will find that you can construct quite long and involved sentences after the first 2 CD’s are completed.

The first course consists of 8 CD’s which are for complete beginners. The advanced course has 5 Further CD’s that deal with more advanced verb forms such as the subjunctive and pluperfect tenses. The amazing thing is that you will start using these word forms naturally because the course gets you talking.
There are no books or dictionaries to go with this course and you will not need them. The Michel Thomas language course makes learning the verbs very easy and intuitive.

There is however one big problem with the course and that is the limited vocabulary that is covered in the course. The company that markets the course is now addressing this issue with special vocabulary modules which is just as well because you will know how to speak French but not have the nouns and adjectives to express yourself without further study.

If you already have a good knowledge of French words, but do not know how to string them together into a good sentence, then this course will be perfect for you. There are other French language courses that cover more ground but none of them will get you talking more fluently than this one.