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Book review: A-Z for French B by Danièle Bourdais

This 96 page book is an extremely useful vocabulary list for students studying IB French B. The concept is very simple. Vocabulary is listed for five broad themes (color coded in the book), divided into sub-topics, matched to the IB syllabus. On each page there are lists not only of words and collocations, but whole sentences with parallel translations like the one below on Peace and Conflict. Some sentences are simpler (niveau moyen), others more sophisticated (niveau supérieur). Sentences marked with a blue asterisk have been selected to model particular linguistic features, such as the use of relative pronouns, the subjunctive mood or words which avoid over-using simple ones such as dire. These features are highlighted in bold, as are their English translations.

After the main lists, Section 6 of the book provides phrases to help with the preparation of the individual oral assessment. Section 7 supplies other useful phrases which are not topic=specific.

Most of the language is standard register, but where language is more familiar it is marked fam or idiomatic id.

Cross references between topics are also suggested. Danièle suggests that students may like to supplement the book with additions they find or are given by the teacher - there could have been more room for this, but the typeface is already quite small so as to fit in the amount of language in a slim volume.

I would have thought students (and their teachers) would find this an extremely useful aid, both for general day-to-day use and exam revision. £18 seems just a little pricey for a slim book, but a lot of time, knowledge and experience would have gone into putting this together. Recommended!

You can find it on Amazon or from Elemi.


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