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Thread: Some help with French.

  1. #1
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    Some help with French.

    In order to "skip" a level of french at my school, I need to teach it to myself over the summer. The grammer is no problem (Russian helped me with that ) ,but the pronunciation/understanding spoken French is. Can any of you recommend a way to work on this other than a private tutor? I would
    appreciate it very much.

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    To gain some skill you have to practise it - no way around. The best way (in theory) is to speak to a French (preferably native) speaker, it doesn't necessary have to be a private tutor - you can try to exchange your native language for French through the phone/Internet (voice chats/messengers, PalTalk, Skype) for example. We have here even the stand alone topic "Pen-Pals" . The problem with the Internet/phone learning is high "drop out" rate.

    To learn to comprehend the spoken French I've been using Audio Books narrated by native speakers with the scripts, helps a lot. E.g. Le Petite Prince
    If you interested I can find on my stuffed harddisk a link to download it from the Net. And of course emule рулитттт search for Audio Livre.

  3. #3
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    I'd be really interested in that, thanks. I'll check out the penpals thread also.

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    For pronunciation, a phrasebook audio cassette is very useful. Because it doesn't go too fast, so you can follow the word on the page as you hear it, and you have time to say it aloud before they move onto the next word. Don't be afraid to go back to basics. There's no shame in it. I improved alot by returning to the simple things. Listening to a tape that's just too quick for you means you're not going to know how to pronounce a word when you see it on a page. Get a slow moving cassette, is my advice. Pretty soon, after practicing to perfection the slow stuff, you'll be ready to move onto the quicker stuff like a reader.

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    Thanks Brett, and Aleph. I'll try both of those.

    Brett, what type would you recommend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Николай
    Thanks Brett, and Aleph. I'll try both of those.

    Brett, what type would you recommend?
    Listen to french music! The best way, 'cause you can dance AND study at the same time!

  7. #7
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    Firstly, websites, so you may not have to buy anything, if... you have unlimited internet. Last month I realized that I didn't have unlimited, so I had to stop using these audio sites. It costed me heaps .

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/lj/This site is excellent for the simpler stuff. Even though I'm beyond this level in grammar and reading ability, sometimes my listening confidence calls for me to go back to simpler things. Then, after I've done this a few times, I can watch French films with more success (I still can't follow the plots, though).

    http://french.about.com/library/pron...l-audiolab.htmThis site is absolutely amazing. (I hope you have audio capabilities. I think they use mp3 and realplayer, or something really common though ). Every level of soundbite is available. You can even have two different speed for the dialogues, and transcript aswell as English translation.

    As far as book/cassettes are concerned, it's hard to suggest, as each person respond to different products differently. But as far as phrasebook stuff is concerned, I like Language30/(French), because it's not quite as tourist-based. But, you'll outgrow it of course. But, it is still helpful to 'perfect' the simple phrases if it is pronunciation development that you need. I don't have the French one, but the rest do have excellent pronunciation guides at the front. (Though, the Russian one didn't have the vowel stress marks )
    But if you felt like jumping straight ahead to an adult storybook with adio cassette, you'd just have to find what is called simply a "reader". Make sure it has a cd or cassette, though. Some are merely "books" , so they shouldn't really be called 'readers'. I have one called La Gloire de Mon Pere. I think that's pretty common for French learning material. Solid proper language, but written in a conversational style. So, no 'Where art thou" poetic type language.

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    that was me, Brett^

    And, in regard to using music (especially singing along!); I agree with you Wilco that it is great practice. I adore it. But not so good for teaching, per se. Because, music is art, so artists always exercise poetic license. They use slang, deliberate mis-pronunciation, and unusual phrasing etc. I remember being confused by Edith Piaf. Whenever she said a word ending in slient 'e', she'd pronounce it (as I now know, all artists do), even though we're formally taught not to. Though, many francophones do break this rule in speech anyway. eg. She'd pronounce 'chante' almost like 'chanteur'. So long as you know the pronunciation rules beforehand, music is great. Emotionally, music is the best practice for me. But, I still always value dialogue as the cornerstone of my listening development.

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    Thanks Brett for those sites, they will help tremendously. Also, finally, the only French band I know of is Kyo. Any other good ones?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Николай
    Thanks Brett for those sites, they will help tremendously. Also, finally, the only French band I know of is Kyo. Any other good ones?
    What kind of music you like?

  11. #11
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    Old people music;
    number 1= Edith Piaf. Cafe style music with small ensemble orchestra.

    Old men- Jaque Brel, Maurice Chevalier

    60's underground-noir music- Serge Gainsbourg. He's quite strange. Not a great singer, but he has character. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether it's good or bad. I love his pop album Comic Strip.

    60's bubblegum pop music- France Gall. The lyrics are so simple, and so is the music. So, it won't blow you away with talent, but it's easy music. And if you must , Brigitte Bardot. (I think she's crud. But, the music may be fun and listenable. It'll have baby-stuff lyrics, which can be good at the beginning) I don't know if her albums have lyrics printed, though.

    Modern- Paris Combo. Totally 'chic'. That is the perfect word for them. Nice female vocals, and variety in the songs and the instruments. And, every album comes with lyrics in French, which the older artist's don't.

    Carla Bruni- soft melody, acoustic guitar. Also has French lyric sheet. She's popular. Her album got some international awards (though most albums that get awards, I stay away from. But, this one is actually nice)

    Other names of acoustic ballad women- Francoize Breut, Fransoise Hardy, Jane Birken, Patricia Kaas (I never new she did French, till recently).

    Les Nubians- funky african music, French language

    Go to amazon.com, look under their music section. Go to 'international'. Then 'france' and flick through all the album covers. They have soundbites.

  12. #12
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    Salut!

    j'apprends le francais aussi et pendant mes etudes j'ai trouve le meme probleme comme Николай. Comprendre le francais est une chose pas facile meme pour ceux qui l'apprendent assez longetemps. Ma conseil est d'ecouter(ou sans d'?) la radio via l'internet(si tu n'as pas d'autre possibilite) , par exemple j'ecoute CHANTE FRANCE http://www.chantefrance.com - la musique francaise sans la pub et sans bla-bla-bla...rien de la musique!

    Welf
    Выпей - может, выйдет толк,
    Обретешь свое добро,
    Был волчонок - станет волк,
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    Группа Мельница

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