Author: Maîa Grégoire
Skill Level: Upper-Beginner
Rating: **** 4/5
This workbook was designed for beginners but despite the word “débutant” displayed on the cover it assumes some knowledge of the language. As a matter of fact, it is completely written in French – grammar explanations included – so if you use no other book or dictionary, you may find yourself a bit lost at times.
You can still be a beginner and use it, but I believe it works better as a refresher for upper-beginners or intermediate French learners. If you have studied French in the past and are looking for a quick and efficient reminder of things once known, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
I was already able to understand French when I started using this workbook, so I was actually glad that there was no English at all. I enjoyed being fully immersed in the language while reading grammar points, rules and related exercises.
“Niveau Débutant” is divided into 60 chapters and eight sections. It takes you right from the basics – introducing yourself, telling the time, describing common situations – to the use of verb tenses (including le present, futur, passe compose, imparfait).
Brushing up on my previous knowledge with this workbook turned out to be a great idea since it’s packed with exercises (440 in total). Keep in mind that the grammar explanations are pretty concise, even if very clearly laid out, hence it’s best to use it to supplement your studies, not in isolation.
What I love about the “Niveau Débutant” workbook is that you can work through it sequentially or skim through pages and use it as a reference manual.
In addition, I applaud the choice of including an audio CD. The accompanying audio contains 38 exercises that you can load onto your iPod and listen to whenever you want and wherever you are.
It should be noted that you’ll need to buy the answer book separately which is quite a bummer but it is necessary if you are going down the path of self-study.
Grammaire progressive du français is a series composed of three volumes. The one I’ve just reviewed, Niveau Débutant, is the most basic one. Once you’ve made some progress in French, you may be interested in advanced textbooks like Niveau Intermediaire and Niveau Advanced.