I’m plugging along with my French lessons. I’m still using Duolingo as my main practice. I have the app set up so that I have to earn 20 points a day to keep it from sending me emails telling me that I’m a slacker.
Duolingo doesn’t teach tourist French. At least I hope it doesn’t. If these are the phrases I’ll need while I visit France I am going to start to get a little worried. I’ve learned about sharks eating dolphins, monkeys following girls, and snakes watching girls. Come to think about it France seems like a very dangerous wilderness. Sadly my life is such that when I had to practice the phrase Le chat es mort (the cat is dead) my first thought was actually “Hey at least this phrase is useful.”
Aside from teaching me a complete vocabulary about animals up to no good, Duolingo is actually doing a really good job of teaching me French. I’m now able to read articles in French on the Internet. I signed up for tweets from the Twitter account of Nice tourism. Twitter is good practice because the limitations cause people to use small words. A French article came up on Google last night. So I went and read in French about John Cleese’s daughter’s opinions on his divorce. Don’t ask why. I did pretty well. I understood the whole gist of the article. I didn’t get a lot of the fine details probably because Camille uses big words but I was impressed by how much I could understand in such a short period of time.
I’ve also listened to the Coffee Break French podcast. This doesn’t work as well for me because I need to be able to see the words. But it does help me learn to listen which is one of my weak points. So I’m going back and listening to the lessons that use words that I already know.
What has worked well for you when trying to learn a language?
Well, nothing helps as much as going to the country and immersing yourself in the language and culture, but I find when I’m learning a language, watching a movie that I already know in the foreign language helps me ‘tune in’. Internet radio in French too.
When I moved to Switzerland, I was lucky enough to find a ‘tandem language partner’ who has now become a good friend. We used to meet up once a week over a coffee and alternated between talking in English and French. Maybe there are some French speakers near you who could do with some English practice in return for your French practice?
I should be brushing up on my French now too but haven’t had time. Sounds like you’re making great progress- it is wonderful when you get to read internet French- it literally opens up a whole new world- and you can access all sorts of different information. We have a tv station that broadcasts French news- I find watching that useful, although I can’t understand everything, it’s good to help with your ear.
Heather, What a fun glimpse of your language work. I think the twitter idea is spectacular. I’m going to see if I can follow some French tweets. I studied French in high school and college, but I wasn’t able to speak and understand it well until I moved to France for three months. I highly recommend that method. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Hereâ€™s my Dreaming of France meme
I’ve been stuck on the same Italian lesson in my Pimsleur CD set for the past few weeks. I’m not giving up but I am not sure what it’s going to take for me to have a “breakthrough.”
I’m off to check out duolingo, though, because that does sound like fun and it’s obviously working!