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Joystiq presents

Une semaine avec My French Coach: Day Three

It's another day at DS Fanboy, and this week, that means more quality time with Ubisoft's My French Coach. All week long, we're on a mission -- French language mastery! Or at least a valiant attempt to get through as many lessons as possible in seven full days. If you missed the overview on day one, you might want to back up a little. If not, then let's get moving with day three of our language training.

Since I did two lessons yesterday, it only seemed proper to keep that up. Even at this rate, I won't make it halfway through the lessons by Sunday! I may have to step it up to three tomorrow, but that's a lot of French, and my brain is weak and poor, and my mushy Southern accent may get in the way of mastering all that pronunciation. But that's no reason not to try, eh? Today's lessons weren't as complex as yesterday's ... or maybe I'm just getting better!

But before we get into the meat of the training, I wanted to address something about the game. Our good friends at GoNintendo linked yesterday's entry, and one of the commenters there pointed out an error in this screenshot:

Indeed, in this shot, père is missing the proper accent. But if you'll notice, in other shots, it's absolutely there -- I went back and checked, just to be sure.

Here, mère, père, and frère all have the proper grave accent. Looks like there may be the occasional typo in My French Coach -- though that's the only one I've noticed so far. Since every word turns up multiple times, in multiple places, it seems reasonable that users will learn the proper way, and even be able to recognize the errors when they occur. I, at least, can forgive the devs a slip or two!

Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business. Today's lessons didn't seem as long or as difficult as yesterday's, but they are certainly getting a little more complicated. Now, since I got to skip several lessons, it may be that conjugation tables popped up before, but this was the first time I got to see one. As a word geek, I was a little excited, even though I'm already pretty familiar with the verb aller.

Maybe later, My French Coach will even go beyond basic conjugation! Oh, a girl can dream. But for now, this was plenty to be going on with, especially considering the lessons are getting away from simple vocabulary and into conversations, as well. A lot of the focus today was on questions and responses, which is perfect for aller. My French Coach and I spent a lot of time discussing how things are. How are things for you today, dear reader? Trés bien or mauvais? It's always the former around here!

Now that a lot of things require multiple words or full phrases, the Compare function is even more useful. It's nice to hear yourself rattling off an entire sentence perfectly in sync with the recording. Well, maybe not perfectly, but close, at least. Hearing that is its own reward -- a reward of accomplishment.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. During today's lessons, I also opened up a new mini-game, Memory, and it's the hardest of the lot so far by a wide margin. Unsurprisingly, in Memory, you pair things. In this case, those things are sets of words -- the French and the English. Cards are red and blue, with one color for each language, and when you turn over rien in French, you must find nothing in English in order to make a match. So not only must you remember the positions of things, as in traditional Memory, but you're challenged to translate on the fly, as well. It's very helpful for learning words, but also very difficult, and even on Easy mode, you haven't got much time. I never managed to complete a single game, and I played several times, even after mastering all the words in a given lesson.

However, I must say, I never felt so good about failure. As challenging as it was, Memory was a great tool for helping me to remember the meanings of words as quickly as possible. I also moved up to the highest difficulty on Flash Card, which is quickly becoming my favorite game. If you'll recall, on medium difficulty, half the French was spoken only, with no written translation appearing on the screen. On hard, it's all spoken, but you must select the proper written English translation. After Memory, that was an easier challenge, but no less effective.

After the phrases and conversations today, I expect that things may get even more in depth tomorrow -- and I'm looking forward to it! For three days in, I feel like My French Coach is actually helping cement some of the vocabulary I already knew in my memory, and helping me discover ways to hold on to the new words as well. If I'm not too worn out after attempting three lessons tomorrow, I'll check out the dictionary and phrasebook portions of the title, but for now, I'm going to simply revel in being upgraded to kindergartner. I hope it comes with cookies and naptime!

See also: The My French Coach series in its entirety

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 2)


11-14-2007 @ 12:25PM

Monkey said...

That's odd... aller is "to be"? I'm currently in my second year in college French and aller is "to go". Etre with the hat accent is "to be", man and I really wanted to buy this game =(


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ELIJAH the ChaosDragon2

11-14-2007 @ 12:57PM

ELIJAH the ChaosDragon said...

"My brain is weak and poor,and my mushy southern accent..." Dr. Ryuta Kawashima would be appalled! LOL


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11-14-2007 @ 1:00PM

Dash said...

Monkey, In some latin laguages (French is one)the verb "go" can be used as "be", like saying "How do you go?" would be the same as saying "How are you?. I guess that is how it's meant at that part of the game.

I'm no expert. If I'm wrong, someone correct me.


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11-14-2007 @ 1:25PM

daveteee said...

Dash is correct, you don't use the verb être here. Saying "Je suis bien" is wrong in french and should be "Je vais bien". Use aller when talking about how people are not être.


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Alisha Karabinus5

11-14-2007 @ 1:47PM

Alisha Karabinus said...

In fact, the game even explains when one uses être and when to use aller. Aller is more commonly used as "to go." But Dash has the right of it -- technically, the questions are things like "how do things go," with a response of "things go well." Etc. In English, that's more of a "to be" issue.


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11-14-2007 @ 1:58PM

TheCoats said...

all this intellagent conversation makes me want to run out and buy the game..... I'm likng all the way this sounds and i wouldnt have thought to make the purchase until these posts.....THANKS


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11-14-2007 @ 4:30PM

KRM said...

I unlocked the memory game in the Spanish version yesterday and I couldn't complete it on easy either (and I'm not from the South!)


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11-14-2007 @ 5:27PM

Goldilocks said...

The edugame is sounding more and more great with each review!


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Alisha Karabinus9

11-14-2007 @ 6:22PM

Alisha Karabinus said...

I'm glad I'm not alone, KRM. That is TOUGH.


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11-14-2007 @ 8:00PM

Monkey said...

Dash & Others:
Absolutely when asking how someone is doing you use aller but in the picture above it says "Aller - To be" and I don't think in a general sense that that is correct.

Where can I find this game?


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11-15-2007 @ 1:40AM

Alex said...

Yes, monkey is absolutely correct. I mean i can see where everyone is coming from, but the verb aller is "to go".
Yes, it is completely wrong to use etre like "je suis bien, merci" But the thing is, this is one of those things how you cant translate word for word.
Like in french if someone said "Comment allez-vous?" Je dira "Je vais bien merci" that's because in french you aren't being well, you are going well.
Still, technicalities aside, it's good to know they explain this in depth through the game though =]


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11-15-2007 @ 1:41AM

Alex said...

sorry, i did a typo, i said je dira, that would be je dirai


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11-15-2007 @ 1:43AM

Alex said...

hate to spam, but on third thought it would probably be "je dirais" lol, sorry every1, wont happen again =P


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Joseph Smith, Jr.14

11-15-2007 @ 2:26AM

Joseph Smith, Jr. said...

Speaking of bugs in the game, hit start when the flash cards are being laid out in the Spanish game. You'll be treated to a nice sound loop until you turn off your DS. Ubisoft knew about this and other bugs but didn't care and pushed out the Spanish version. Go Ubisoft!


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11-15-2007 @ 11:00AM

Don-Don said...

My high school french taught us the mnemonic device 'DR MRS VANDERTAAMP' to remember which verbs use aller instead of etre.


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11-15-2007 @ 1:09PM

Dash said...

You know, if anything, this shows how well knowledge the dsfanboy readers are. You don't see people have this kind of discussions in other game sites. It's great to go to a forum where people discuss and add to conversation, instead of bashing each others and calling anyone with a diferent taste "noob".

Hurray for us! I guess all those DS training games are doing us some good after all.


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Alisha Karabinus17

11-16-2007 @ 12:45AM

Alisha Karabinus said...

Don-Don -- can you explain that one? I'm all in favor of mnemonic devices!

It is nice, isn't it, Dash? I like to think of it as a reflection of the fact that, clearly, DS owners are intelligent and have good taste. ;)


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11-16-2007 @ 3:24PM

Don-Don said...

@Alisha, I reversed it by accident, I meant to say these were the verbs that use etre:



They are verbs of "motion".


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Alisha Karabinus19

11-16-2007 @ 4:46PM

Alisha Karabinus said...

That's pretty useful... thanks!


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11-17-2007 @ 2:53PM

aarond said...

"My high school french taught us the mnemonic device 'DR MRS VANDERTAAMP' to remember which verbs use aller instead of etre."

You corrected yourself in one respect but in general this makes no sense.

You meant to say "DR&MRS VANDERTRAMPP" (with two P's) and this is used with Passé Composé, to decide which "Verbe Auxiliaire" (AVOIR (not ALLER), ou etre) to use with which "participe passé".

ex - "Je suis(VA) allé(PP)" is correct.
"J'ai(VA) allé(PP)" is incorrect.

And the verb "aller" is "to go", regardless of the exceptions of use when compared directly to English.


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