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  5. Opinion on the Capretz Method?


Opinion on the Capretz Method?

I recently have acquired the French in Action textbook(scanned) along with the cds/files for the films (most are online in YT/Dailymotion). Has anyone tried it and is Duolingo a good companion resource?

The Capretz Method to those who don't know is basically total immersion, learning as if you're put in France without any knowledge of the language. The Video files are all in French and you're left to extrapolate the meaning based on what you see - a "sink or swim" approach.

I understand that it's very antiquated and old but does anyone think it's a good resource to use? I tried it for a day and found it to be very hard. I guess what's throwing me off is the "structurelessness" of it. In comparison, I have also tried Pimsleur and found that it's a good help but it's sort of similar in that you are taught to listen to pronunciation and improve your speaking but it's certainly lacking in grammar and vocab.

Let me know what you guys think, and should I continue using it if I'm already being exposed to "a visual study" approach that Duolingo freely offers?

April 30, 2020



I LOVE the Capretz method!

I've not had the benefit of the books, just the videos on the Internet. I've read some criticisms because it's old or sexist but personally I find it engaging and a ton of fun.

If you're not enjoying it now, put it aside until you have some basic vocabulary and grammar under your belt. French in Action (the videos) are 100% in French so if you've not had any French whatsoever I can see how it would be a bit overwhelming. But do go back and give it another try in a month or two. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


I see thank you! Yes, I found it interesting but hard. I will go back to it after I do a couple of trees in duo. Thank you <3.

P.S I can see where the old comments are coming from, but the sexist ones? (I heard it was just the main speaker not wearing a bra?) Haven't gone past the first video so I guess I will find out later.


@Lostin I heard about French in Action on a Duo post as a way to improve listening comprehension. I started watching the videos on YouTube. I found them entertaining but only slightly helpful compared to modern tools. Back in the 70's or early 80's, this was pretty innovative.

Today, we have literally thousands of other things we can watch and listen to in order to improve our listening understanding.

As far as people objecting to sexual elements in French in Action, I have not seen those comments. It is certainly true that this "soap opera" of that era. Back then it was increasingly common for "une jeune femme" to go without a bra (even more so in Europe than in the US). It is also fundamentally a traditional "boy meets girl" love story, to give it interest and keep peoples attention.

The Capretz Method (or any immersion system) is probably really great if you have access to it. If you have the opportunity to study abroad in a foreign country where people only speak French, or if you go to DLI where they only allow you to speak the target language, immersion is obviously very effective. And children grow up in immersion language, constantly being corrected by their teachers (parents) as they move along in development.

For the rest of us who don't have those opportunities, I think the FIA videos are a pleasant break from grinding out Duo lessons, but I do not count on them to teach me French. I am using Duo as my primary at this point and things like FIA as support/companion, but not primary. Do lots of Duo lessons and take breaks watching FIA. I did that and I found it fun. And as you learn more on Duo, you can go back and watch the episodes again and voila, you will find you have learned some things.

My 2 cents.


Anything goes if it helps you acquire the language you're interested in. If you're happy with it , and it works for you, you don't need anyone's opinion.


The best way to find out how it works for you is to try it. You may love it, or it may be too slow for you.


Little Irony here... the US Military instructs service members in some 80 different Languages at Defense language Institute. You would be correct in assuming that the Military is very big on conformity and expectation... Orders are given, orders are followed....

But in language training the instruction is changing... to something not so new. the method is a half century old and it essentially allows the student body to tailor the course to some degree to their capability and desire.

The point is..find out for yourself if it's worthwhile whether it will benefit you to use it as well as the other approach...

Remember, There's more than one way to skin a cat....and there are zero ways to explain why you would need to.

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