Book review by me on Linked In today

David is reading this book

Comment: “I’m using this to teach my daughter the French she needs to catch up with kids who’ve been in the UK and therefore doing French at junior school. It is an excellent course to do with a child and the parent just controlling the pause button and allowing the child to simply follow the progress of the course. So far we have completed about a quarter of it, at an easy pace, and my daughter is understanding and retaining the material very well.

It isn’t a written course, but it provides all the language at an audio level, which is of course the way children initially learn their own languages and only learn how to write them later.”

About David J. James

56 year old UK origin Chartered Accountant and business consultant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written or spoken discussion, plays backgammon and a few other board games. Walks and listens to Audible for hours a day usually, and avoids use of the car. Conservative Christian, married to an angel with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. We have three kids, two of them autistic, and we live in Warsaw, Poland. On the board of the main British-Polish charity Fundacja Sue Ryder in Poland, and involved in the Vocational Autistic School of "Nie Z Tej Bajki" in Warsaw. Member of Gideons International. Serves on two committees of the Chamber of Auditors in Poland, and on several Boards and Supervisory Boards. Has own consultancy called delivering business governance and audit/valuation solutions as well as mentoring. Author of the GoldList Method for systematic optimal use of the long-term memory in learning.

Posted on 13/07/2011, in Blog only, Languages and Linguistics. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the information. I had no knowledge of Paul Noble or his courses until I saw this review.
    Having looked at further at the courses on and read the comments, nearly all very favourable, I am tempted to try the Italian course to get a better “feel’ for the language prior to venturing more into grammar and reading. I am struggling somewhat with Italian at the moment.
    The comments on the Amazon site suggest that the three language courses currently on offer are equally well produced and effective.

    As an aside, is it peculiar to me or does anybody else find that they have to like a country’s culture and people in order to have the motivation to pursue their language ?
    For instance, as an animal lover I am deterred from learning the Spanish language as I cannot be attracted to a nation that kills bulls for entertainment. It seems like a throwback to the Roman games and one would have hoped that all torment as entertainment would have disappeared with the fall of the Roman Empire. It didn’t : bear bating, dog fighting , cock fighting …….. and so on.
    I know that all modern western-European countries butcher animals for meat (and I feel sad about that) but it isn’t usually offered for public entertainment (apart from illegal activity).
    I know also that not all Spaniards are in favour of or are against the corrida de toros but I’m still (perhaps illogically) deterred from learning Spanish as a second Latin language and have opted for Italian instead. They trap small birds and eat them (as do the southern French) so I suppose it’s all relative ! It seems that the propensity to kill or be sadistic towards weaker creatures than us (human animal or non-human animal) is an inescapable part of the human condition ; strong in some individuals; weaker in others; absent in a few.
    I cite Spain purely as an example of how (in my case) culture can be an influencing factor in deciding whether or not to study a language. I am certainly not anti Spanish per se.

    Maybe I should just learn languages that have the most audible appeal to me, and based on that criterion I would be inclined to learn Spanish. For the time being I shall struggle on with Italian.



    • The Italians don’t have a great reputation when it comes to animal rights either. It was them who started making sausages out of donkeys, and it was them who unrestrainedly shot down many small birds using Italy as a major migration route to and from Africa from Europe in order to stay over land as long as possible in the journey.

      One matter to consider in the question of killing and eating animals – that is size. One cow, if it is slaughtered, gives maybe 100 meals. The shrimp, however, at least if we are talking about smaller shrimps, may be 100 shrimps to make one human meal. That means that we would terminate 100 times 100 shrimp lives to get the equivalent in human nourishment to one cow life.

      Now the question – how much more sentient is a cow than a shrimp? Is the cow 10,000 times more sentient than the shrimp? I find it hard to believe. We naturally side with other mammals but a cow seems to have only fairly simple social interaction with most of its herd, communicating with not the most sizeable range of noises and gestures, and not having much that it needs to do with its four legs. A shrimp has about 10 legs and has pincers and antennae to control all at once. It may not make sounds but it has a range of gestures and territorial displays. There are shrimp types who follow each other around the ocean floor in neat lines not unreminiscent of cows going in line to the milking shed. They control territories, engage in symbiotic relationships with anenomes and fishes, communicate even with colour changes and seem to even be able to make some rudimentary use of tools, such as protecting themselves under the shells of bivalves.

      In according to them only one ten thousandth the sentience per head of a cow, are we not just being sizeist or mammalianist? We cannot really tell the extent to which they know each other and register loss from each other. For all we know when a cow leaves the herd for the slaughterhouse the reaction of the rest is blank incomprehension, but when the net goes into the shrimpery (at which you can see the flurry of evasion that suddenly occurs as if they know what’s coming) all the shrimps are going “Oh no! They got Bob!”

      It makes you think, doesn’t it?


  2. Is it one CD or several? I am trying to relearn some french basics. Thanks for the info David. (even with my wife being russian, I am still struggling with that language , altho your courses have really helped me alot!) -John R


    • It’s an audio course of 10 CDs, and as long as understanding the spoken language is your focus and speaking, rather than reading and writing, it would be ideal for that purpose. It is very similar to the Michel Thomas method – some uncharitable commentators on Amazon even accuse Paul Noble of copycatting, but I don’t see why Michel Thomas needs to have ascribed to him a monopoly on common sense.


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