Review – Instant Immersion: French Deluxe

DEALS, LANGUAGES, Reviews, STAFF — By on May 7, 2011 at 14:52

Reviewed by Milli Thornton

WE WERE OFF to Québec for the Montréal Jazz Festival and I wanted to learn some French. I knew I didn’t have time to become fluent in the language, but I was hoping to at least learn some small talk: how to ask directions, order off the menu and exchange pleasantries with strangers.

Rosetta Stone was out of the question ($229 for Level I). That would have put a sizable dent in our spending money for the trip, plus I had to be realistic about how much time I could give to learning a language at this point in my life. So I went online to look for alternatives.

The Instant Immersion Language Learning Software is extremely affordable (currently $17.93) and I could order it quickly from Amazon.com. It comes in an attractive, sturdy box and includes five audio instruction CDs, one language program DVD, one interactive video DVD and one interactive mystery game CD (Who is Oscar Lake?™).

I had mixed reactions while using it. The usefulness of this program depends on your preferred learning styles and how much time you can put into it.

Being very busy with my work, I incorporated the five audio CDs into my morning walk. It was time-consuming loading them onto my Sansa Clip, but I trusted it would be worthwhile. In practice, it felt both productive and disappointing. I had no trouble with the basics and could soon repeat easy words and short phrases. It was when I reached the tracks where more complex sentences were covered that I started getting frustrated.

For one thing, there is too much of a time gap allowed for the user to repeat the words in French, even when the words are very easy. This becomes tedious after a while. I also would prefer to hear the English first, and then the French, and then be given a chance to répète. (Ideally, the phrase or sentence would be given again in French, with a second chance to repeat it out loud for better retention.)

Another disappointment: I need to see the words on paper, not just hear them. I would dearly love to to have a booklet to refer to as I listen to the audios.

Feeling stymied when the audio learning became too advanced for me, I turned to the language program DVD. Although I already spend too much time on the computer, I did enjoy the visuals (words + pictures) and the quizzes were helpful.

Bottom line: For a super-busy person, this program may not be ideal. I did not feel ready to speak any French in Montréal—nor did I encounter any opportunities to do so. (Whew!) However, the cost is extremely reasonable for the extensive material and multiple learning platforms. Providing you have the time to devote it, I believe you would be happy with this purchase.

Instant Immersion French Deluxe v3.0 – currently $17.93

I also bought a book called Easy French Reader, a primer written completely in French. At first I was intimidated that it had no English translations—but after listening to the Instant Immersion audios and doing some of the visual lessons on the computer, the primer became easier to comprehend.

Wisdom has it that one great way to learn a new language is to immediately begin reading it.

Easy French Reader – currently $7.16

Milli Thornton

Milli Thornton


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Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.

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FTC Compliance: This is an independent review and I bought my own copy of this product. If you make a purchase using any of the links above for Easy French Reader or Instant Immersion French, I will receive a percentage of your purchase from the Amazon Associates program. See our Site Policies for more detail.


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    5 Comments

  • Hi Milli,

    Ooh, you’ve got the fab Bill Bryson quote to the right under travel gems. He’s the funniest dude!

    I’d love to do an Italian Immersion program and have belonged to this Italian speaking meet-up for TWO YEARS and have never gone. Now that piano is on a back burner for awhile, you’ve just reminded me to start going to some of these. Languages require an arena to speak them in.

    The program you mention sounds neat! Make check out the Italian version. Thx, G.

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Giulietta,

      Pleased you enjoyed the Bill Bryson quote. I love that guy!

      Italian has always been my #1 language that I would love to learn and I’ve attempted to do so at various points. The program I most want to try (once I can afford something besides just the free demo) is Pimsleur. The more I read about their method of teaching languages, the more it sounds like the easiest way.

      With your name sounding so utterly Italian I kind of assumed you could speak the language. I’m glad I could provide a little reminder for you to get back to that. And I hope you enjoy it! (I know you will.)

      P.S. If you end up going to the Italian speaking meet-up, I’d love to have you as a guest blogger to share what that was like. Or, your take on the Italian edition of Instant Immersion, if you end up trying that instead.

      • I took Italian for about three years and could at least string primitive sentences together. And when I went to Italy, I found I could sort of get around with what I knew. That was probably ten years ago. There is a great Italian immersion school in greater Tuscany I’d like to get to! Will write something for you when I do.

        thx, G.

  • stephen p. says:

    I have to say that if you already know the language and you just need to brush up on certain things then this is not to bad. On the other side if you are trying to learn a new language this is a horrible software. The program just begins with no particular starting point. The visual appeal is really bad it was very hard to keep looking at. I had rosetta stone and yes it was expensive but it was amazing!! i was writing, speaking and reading the parts of the language i had learned in 1 week, it is worth the money if you are serious about learning the language.

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