Parlez-vous français ? (Or any other second language) Parlez-vous français ? (Or any other second language)
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  1. #1

    Fingers like lightning

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    Default Parlez-vous français ? (Or any other second language)

    Looks like I may have the opportunity to work with some folks from across le channel. It got me thinking maybe it's a chance to have a proper go at learning french.

    I did it at school, and also picked up some words from a few holidays there, but the issue I have is that while I know a reasonable number of french words, using them in a conversation is the difficult bit. I've listened in on conversations before, and well ... it's a foreign language to me.

    Any tips for picking up a conversational language ? Apps, courses, reading a newspaper/book ? Hopefully if I do this alongside a little practical conversation, I may have a chance at progressing.

    Alternatively I'll just start shouting in English more...

  2. #2

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    I speak Spanish, years of courses, books, linguaphone etc. is all fine and good, but I learnt more actually spending time in the the country muddling through.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoiler View Post
    Looks like I may have the opportunity to work with some folks from across le channel. It got me thinking maybe it's a chance to have a proper go at learning french.

    I did it at school, and also picked up some words from a few holidays there, but the issue I have is that while I know a reasonable number of french words, using them in a conversation is the difficult bit. I've listened in on conversations before, and well ... it's a foreign language to me.

    Any tips for picking up a conversational language ? Apps, courses, reading a newspaper/book ? Hopefully if I do this alongside a little practical conversation, I may have a chance at progressing.

    Alternatively I'll just start shouting in English more...
    The Duo Lingo phone app is free and is pretty good. I used it to pick up enough Italian to get by on holiday but it can take you all the way up to a reasonable level of fluency. Combine that with some real world conversation and you should be onto a winner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoiler View Post
    Looks like I may have the opportunity to work with some folks from across le channel. It got me thinking maybe it's a chance to have a proper go at learning french.

    I did it at school, and also picked up some words from a few holidays there, but the issue I have is that while I know a reasonable number of french words, using them in a conversation is the difficult bit. I've listened in on conversations before, and well ... it's a foreign language to me.

    Any tips for picking up a conversational language ? Apps, courses, reading a newspaper/book ? Hopefully if I do this alongside a little practical conversation, I may have a chance at progressing.

    Alternatively I'll just start shouting in English more...
    If you want a good refresher I would recommend the Michel Thomas range of cds. Excellent way of picking up languages to quite a detailed level very quickly.

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    I've picked up German through being in a German speaking environment. I did attend a couple of courses to get me started. French I learned at school, and it just seems to have stuck. I've never cared about whether my French or German is good - so long as I'm understood and can understand, which is mostly the case.
    Hmm. I'm beginning to suspect that you need to find all the packing the computer came in...

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the tips. Will have a look at the learning tools and hopefully that, as well as being in an environment with the language, will help me pick it up.

    I can do the basics, such as order food, etc. It's the understanding bit I struggle with - when someone talks to me I find it difficult to interpret it and respond accordingly.

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    My first experience of German was with the Michel Thomas CDs, and as much as they are good and it does get you excited about learning a language, you're only really learning a very narrow subset of sentences. It could almost make things worse as you learn some more advanced stuff before you've got the hang of the basics, or very much vocabulary.

    Weirdly it was learning a bit of German that got me thinking about my high school French and soon realised how much of it I could remember after 20 years. So I gave up on German for a while and bought the French CDs, did an evening course, then did a German evening course, then gave up again... Now after 8 years I'm working quite hard on German again and have been doing online lessons with Lingoda, which is good and at least means getting to speak with native speakers.

    My suggestion would be to avoid all the people trying to sell you some kind of miracle programme. It's hard. You need to do everything: memorise the vocab, learn the grammar, do the exercises, practice reading, listen as much as you possibly can, and practice speaking as much as you can. And even then after a couple of years you'll be completely demoralised when they turn round and speak perfect English to you having failed to understand what the hell you were trying to say in their language.

    The good news is there's so much free stuff on the internet now. Loads of people doing lessons on YouTube, so that'd be a good place to start. DuoLingo is good and fun, but again don't believe that's the key to everything. Memrise is excellent for vocab.

    The good thing about French is half the words are the same as English. The bad thing about French is the French. Although I can read French pretty well, when it comes to the spoken language I can never understand a bloody word they're saying. German is much easier in that regard; even if I haven't the slightest idea of what the words mean I can at least pick out the words, unlike French where all you get is some mumbling and the occasional shrug.
    Will work inside IR35. Or for food.

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    The trouble with all the cd / online courses is that they can't possibly consider different dialects.

    The Michel Thomas cds gave me a wide background vocabulary but I also completed up to the end of the equivalent of 2nd year degree in a classroom part time course. Even then, in some places i visited the locals would wait patiently while I finished sentences before speaking to me in English.

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    I'd recommend verbling.com. Online 1 on 1 skype lesson with a teacher for 15-20 quid an hour.

    I speak fluent french and bad german. Studied french at uni and sometimes do some lessons on verbling to practice. Very good value, makes use of modern technology and 1 on 1 is the best way to learn.

    If you've got the time an immersive class in country is fun too. I did a 3 week German class in Dusseldorf (over a decade ago now - time flies) - The IIK Düsseldorf :: Intensive Course :: Study abroad in Germany :: German courses. It was a cheap, fun holiday. You're speaking german all day every day - so you have to learn to get by quickly. Most of the students were 21 year olds from Eastern Europe. I was younger and single at the time so lots of fun!
    Last edited by DieScum; 4th February 2017 at 10:44. Reason: I would never use the word smattering

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    Verbling looks good ! Will start with duo lingo to review the basics, and see how it goes with conversations. May then give verbling a go for additional practice.

    Thanks. I mean Merci !

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