Learning French.........

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Panter, 5 Jun 2008.

  1. Panter

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Ok, I've just got back form a work trip to Berlin so I've gone all European again. :biggrin:

    As somoene who hasn't travelled abroad very often I always feel inspired to do more of it so I'd like to try and learn another language.
    Much as I love Germany, France is only a short hop away (I probably live closer to France than I do to most forumers here) so French would be the obvious choice.

    Are those "teach yourself" kits any good? or would it have to be at night school or something? anyone have any experience or learning French to home?


    Chris :biggrin:
  2. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    non, nein, nay, no
  3. You forgot:

    "Santé Chris"

  4. Mort

    Mort Guest

    Well, I've spoken French for years and I work in French a lot of the time, and some people (admittedly Canadians and Belgians) think I AM French.

    Personally I think you have to spend a lot of time learning the grammar and the basics (and that means heading for a GCSE type qualification) AND doing a lot of French conversation. And the best way of doing that is by going to France and immersing yourself in the language.

    My reasoning as that French is very structured (although it is as irregular as English is in many cases) and you just need to do a lot of hard slog to get to grips with that, as well as the many exceptions it throws up.

    Unfortunately then you need to kind of unlearn most of what you've learned to learn real colloquial French, which is often very different.

    You should watch French telly if possible, as that's an excellent way to pick up current language and tune your ears in to it.

    I would say unless you know a romance language very well already, you'll probably not get far with a Teach Yourself Book. But your mileage may vary as they say.

    Best advice of all? Get a French speaking Girlfriend/Boyfrind and you'll be arguing and swearing fluently within weeks - promised!
  5. yello

    yello Guru

    Agreed. Especially the tuning part. Once the ears are tuned, you will realise you actually know quite a lot of the words already... English and French share many many words... they're just pronounced differently.

    As for the self learn bit, I would recommend Michel Thomas CDs. A VERY simplistic approach but gets you up and running speaking quickly. You will be understood speaking Michel Thomas French... but it doesn't help you understand! Well, not much. That said, it gets you quickly into the 'learning playground' (i.e. communicating in the real world) when you can start the process of learning French as it's actually spoken!

    That's what is freaking me out at the moment (in my French learning) - the way French is spoken. I'm constantly amazed at the way things are said and the way sentences are structured... I can understand but I just wouldn't say it that way myself! I still speak in English really, just using French words.
  6. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    I try to read the front page of Le Monde every day, to keep my GCSE level French a little bit current (seeing as I'm the one who has to translate on EVERY sodding family holiday, and then put up with my mother in law arguing by proxy with waiters etc).
  7. Ha ha John - I try and read L'equipe and Midi Libre...just keeping pace you understand.
    SWOMBO is French :wacko::ohmy: I get nailed -often. But, I can play the 'con' easily :smile:
    Masculine and feminine stuff is a flippin' nuisance. Viz. La Tour v Le Tour et seq.

    And then there's the regional accents to consider. Parisien - ok ish... listen to the same stuff in the Languedoc :tongue: - I'm listening without seeing.;)
  8. Melvil

    Melvil Standard nerd

    Doing a conversational French course (with lots of emphasis on grammar and tenses) with a private tutor at the moment (about 6 of us in a class) and it's very good, tho' not sure if you live anywhere near Edinburgh.
  9. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    That's a good idea. I did French to 'A' level and got to a stage where I could almost watch a film without the subtitles but I'm sure I'm very rusty now. I'm pretty useless at speaking french though.
  10. Mort

    Mort Guest

    Helen, given that grounding I bet you'd be up and speaking after a couple of weeks, especially after a few drinks (not joking - if you can forget the fear of making mistakes you're on your way). The fact you did A level French would mean you'd often make a lot less basic mistakes than some rural French speakers (in written French anyway). You wouldn't belive the amount of people who write "je l'ai regarder" or "je suis aller".
  11. yello

    yello Guru

    True. I too find Parisian French pretty clear and simple. It's almost text book French. The accent around here is Berrichone... and it's virtually unintelligible to me! To be fair, it's dialect as much as accent. French is, it may sound odd to say, almost a made up language. It's certainly comparatively new. An attempt to unify a nation.

    Most regions of France have their own dialects. You can still find elderly people that don't speak 'French' at all, only the local dialect. So don't expect the French to speak French! They're as likely to make as many mistakes as a non-native speaker!
  12. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    I'd have loved to have carried on to A-Level, but my school had a very strict Arts/Sciences division at the time, and I couldn't do my other subjects with a language. I still feel miffed about it to this day.
  13. Unlucky John.
    I stopped Language of love at 'Oh!' level - I'm now on my 'Eh?' level :tongue:
    Learning by degrees...but drifting OT - sorry. ;)
  14. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    John - that's a shame. I did it with Chemistry and History which was a bit unusual I guess. As long as it fitted into the timetable we had a pretty free hand in what we took.
  15. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    Is it me, or is this thread a bit more highbrow than we've had of late...
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