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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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