Deux mondes is widely regarded as the most communicative text available for beginning French courses. Based on the Natural Approach developed by Tracy Terrell and Stephen Krashen, this text offers beginning language students a way to develop language proficiency (especially in listening and speaking) that allows them to participate in real conversations at a very early stage. The Natural Approach in general, and Deux mondes, Sixth Edition in particular, present material inductively (so that the activities drive the grammar), students quickly become excited about their rapid growth in comprehension and vocabulary acquisition and enjoy speaking in the non-threatening environment made possible by the activity formats.
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The Natural Approach is based on the premise that students develop language in stages. Because the comprehension stage precedes the production stage, Deux mondes focuses first on receptive skills (listening and reading) by incorporating large amounts of comprehensible input (TPR, teacher talk, pre-text oral activities) before asking students to produce the language (speaking and writing.)
Rather than using topics and culture as background for teaching grammar, the organization of Deux mondes makes them central. Activités et lectures [Activities and Readings], found on the white pages, is the first part of each chapter and the heart the text. This section introduces students to vocabulary and key structures through chapter-opening drawings and lively, targeted activities. By asking students about themselves and their interests, the oral activities are extraordinarily successful in getting students involved, talking, and using key structures in natural and meaningful communication. The success that instructors have had with its oral activities is, in large part, the key to the success Deux mondes has enjoyed.
The second part of each chapter, easily located on the blue pages, contains Grammaire et exercices [Grammar and exercises]. The clear, straightforward grammar explanations and self-correctable grammar practice in this section are particularly designed for students to study on their own, although instructors may cover the material in class, if they prefer. Within this two-part chapter organization, the study of grammar takes its place as one part meaningful and important, but only one part of learning to be a successful communicator.
All parts of Deux mondes designed to be covered in class the activities and readings on the white pages are in French, including nearly all of the marginal glosses for the readings. Student need not encounter any English at all in class. Only material intended for students to cover at home grammar explanations and translated examples that appear in the blue pages are in English. For this reason, many advocates of the Direct Method or All French approach use Deux mondes.
The two worlds of the title reflect the importance in Deux mondes of reaching the student's world and linking it to the France and francophone world. Therefore, the cultural material in Deux mondes is not anecdotal or decorative but carefully designed as an integral part of the activities in the text and the course. The richly diverse cultural information is carefully selected to enhance the chapter themes and to provide content for discussion in class.
Two chapters focus on new themes selected to be of special interest to today's student. Chapitre 8 is now "Parlons de la terre", dealing with issues of the environment, ecology, as well as geography and la francophonie. Chapitre 11 is now titled "Les moyens de communication" and incorporates information on the computer age, Cyberspace, the Minitel, and other technologies. With less material on each page combined with an attractive new design, Deux mondes,third edition is less dense and more accessible than in previous editions. The grammar presentations have been streamlined and simplified to be easier for students to study on their own. Technical grammar jargon has been replaced with simpler terms students are more likely to know. New charts and tables make information easier to absorb in the first place and easy to find when reviewing. The amount of vocabulary in each chapter has also been reduced. Within the grammar sections, Deux mondes, third edition offers greater variety of (but not more) activities than the previous edition. Some of the new activity types are based on visuals, many are partner-pair activities, and others can be used either as at-home, written exercises or as in-class, partner-pair work. These new activities offer more options for the instructor who chooses to cover grammar in class. New notes in the margins of the grammar sections (the blue pages) provide special help for students, many of whom lack good study skills or are weak on essential information. The marginal notes include such helps as study hints, definitions of grammatical terms, and cross references to related information in the text. All readings and cultural notes are new in Deux mondes, third edition. The previous edition's culture notes have been replaced by Infos, written by new co-author and native speaker, Guy Spielmann. The Infos reflect current concerns in France and francophone countries and offer lively, up-to-date information in short easy-to-read prose. The new Lectures passages are shorter and less difficult than in the previous edition. The very contemporary readings now include poems, short literary extracts, interesting journalistic selections, and lively author-written prose. The third edition readings are still authentic but are easier and more appropriate to the level of beginning language students. The Francophone world figures more prominently in the third edition of Deux mondes. Issues and topics related to North and West Africa, as well as to Québec, occur throughout the text. In addition, chapters 8 and 14 focus almost entirely on the regions outside of France. The annotations in the Instructor's Edition of the text have been improved and offer more suggestions on teaching culture, reading, and (for those who wish) grammar in the Natural Approach classroom. The Deux mondes, third edition Workbook/Lab Manual or Cahier includes a new section of integrated video activities, based on authentic footage and scripted scenes from the Video to accompany Deux mondes. The third edition Cahier also has been reorganized for easier use, with the aural and written activities integrated for each section. Other improvements to the Workbook/Lab Manual involve: the inclusion in writing as well as on tape of a poem, fable, or other short reading, the addition of a new guided writing feature, the simplification of Le verbe français and La prononciation et l'orthographe to make these sections more useful and accessible to students.About the Author:
Tracy D. Terrell (late) received his Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin and published extensively in the area of Spanish dialectology. Professor Terrell’s publications on second-language acquisition are widely known in the United States and abroad.
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