“In this course everybody speaks French…” French In Action. I’ve been working my way through this 52 episode video series and, having previously worked through Destinos (an Introduction to Spanish) I can’t help but ask myself why there aren’t more courses like this. I understand there are courses like this for German (Fokus Deutsch) and Chinese (?Dragon Tongue?) although I haven’t seen those (yet). I recall seeing bits of Destinos many years ago and never saw it from the beginning until about 5 years ago as I was working on my re-discovery of the Spanish language. I found the series online and methodically went through. No, I didn’t understand every word in the beginning, but as the course went on (supplemented through other study methods), I got a better and better understanding.
Currently I’m watching a Spanish telenovela from episode one through episode 95 which I think of as an extension of the idea of Destinos although I wish there were other materials that existed to bridge the gap between the Destinos series and the “go watch some Mexican tv” stage….
I really think the “immersive” concept is great. In fact, it surprises me that the big movie studios haven’t caught onto the idea of making foreign language dubs of movies and tv series more available in the United States. Unfortunately due to the region encoding that DVD’s carry the most we ever see here in the US are materials with English, Spanish, French and maybe Portuguese. (Although to tell the truth it can be challenging to get even Spanish language copies of some movies.)
The great thing about video courses like this is that you can have a hots that helps to “hold your hand” through the series, explaining things that might otherwise be challenging to catch or understand. Also you have the opportunity to hear the language at it’s natural speed (by native speakers), see what they’re talking about and eventually pick up vocabulary words in the process. All this with the backdrop (hopefully) of an interesting story.
I guess what I’d like to see is with the current crop of tv series released on DVD. That there could be releases of already recorded series, but with perhaps an added intro/ending to help point the viewer to things to listen for, or recap the plot points. Essentially, tv series on dvd packaged for people studying the language. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be originally in a language other than English (although presenting something in it’s original language would be best.) It could be one of the numerous titles that our entertainment industry has dubbed for international distribution.