French Language

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Re: Hopeless!

A footnote to a thread which now seems to be reaching its end : which might be of additional help Chris----if you see any merit in it at all.

Having already got French A Level and kept up French at Uni and later, during career, by attending a language laboratory ( sounds like Frank N. Stein ), I eventually found fluency when I had lived in France for some time --------and for what they're worth I pass on a few tips which my wife and I found of some help ) :

a) we agreed to speak to each other only in French during the journey to fluency----difficult at first but got easier and was really crucial

b) we tried as much as possible to "think" in French-----every thought , every day. It was, of course , impossible but the efforts bore much fruit.

c) we made a concentrated effort to speak to French people a lot EVERY day. As we live in an isolated farmhouse with vineyard, that posed some problems---but we persevered : we were lucky enough to advertise and eventually employ a smashin' couple as housekeeper ( and her husband as odd-jobs and vine expert ) : so they helped enormously.But we were not reliant on them----we visited all our neighbours , the nearest living a mile away across country, and we invited ( and still do ) a local family to our Sunday Lunch every week ( normally eaten at our huge outdoor table which has stood under the same tree for 200 years ). Being lapsed Catholics, we "reactivated" our faith, attend the local church every week, take part in their social activities ( not that they are myriad, given that we live in a rathger remote rural area----but nevertheless, they thrive). And, we also have visits ( again for Sunday Lunch ) from the local priest, who in the early days gave me and my wife invaluable advice not only on matters of language but on wider local aspects.

I hope some of this helps , Chris. Grammar, irregular verbs, the past participle and the gerund are just a grounding. The real secret we found was to make a real effort ( which was a labour of love ) to join the community, to speak to French people EVERY day at length...........and to remember that in our 50s, with France to be our home for hopefully another 20 or 30 years ( please ! ), we wanted our dream to happen in actuality-----and fluency in the language seemed to us to be a major step towards that. If you have the will, Chris, you will achieve all------as my old French teacher said when she spent a few weeks here : " you were a very mediocre French A level student Ronald but now....."

And I have to omit the second part of her remark for fear of the grapes of betty's wrath Wink [;-)]


Wish we could have moved to La Belle France earlier in life. But better late than never.
Bon courage !
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Re: Hopeless!

Thanks, Ron - a very picturesque description and it sounds idyllic. It also resonates with my Catholicism. I'll do my best to replicate that in England and who knows, one day perhaps en la France.
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Re: Hopeless!

Thanks Chris. Good luck and hope to see you as our next neighbour in Gard before long......."en France" (without the "la" ) Wink [;-)]

All the very best in your future plans.....Ron


Wish we could have moved to La Belle France earlier in life. But better late than never.
Bon courage !
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Re: Hopeless!

OMG ! What a complete and utter load of drivel! More importantly - so terribly sad....

How to put anyone off learning French in one easy lesson....

I'd always believed the tales of English speaking couples talking French to each other to be a weird urban myth - apparently not...

What fun you must have had Ronnie on your journey to fluency !

Chiefluvvie :-)
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Re: Hopeless!

<BLOCKQUOTE><table width="85%"><tr><td class="txt4"><img src="/forums/completefrance/cs/Themes/default/images/icon-quote.gif">&nbsp;<strong>Ron Bolus wrote:</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="quoteTable"><table width="100%"><tr><td width="100%" valign="top" class="txt4">----as my old French teacher said when she spent a few weeks here : " you were a very mediocre French A level student Ronald but now....."</font></p><p><font size="4" face="Georgia">And I have to omit the second part of her remark for fear of the grapes of betty's wrath <img src="/forums/completefrance/cs/images/emotions/wink.gif" alt="Wink [;-)]" /></font></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></BLOCKQUOTE>

Please don't feign any false modesty on my account! You seem to have concluded that I give a monkeys. Let me disabuse you of that belief.
I'm glad we now have the forum's very own Michel Thomas to help those in need of language pointers. Michel T has been a good source of income to me over the years. ;-)

Chieflluvvie : blunt, to the point of vaguely abusive, as ever...but (sit down) I tend to agree.
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: Hopeless!


Betty..... I've copied, pasted, printed and framed your last post! :-)

Back to Ronnie who I misguidedly defended - I guess he and his wife have stopped short of self flagellation in their quest to become French. It has left me wondering what on earth they do for Fun! It has been said that' God loves a tryer' but I'm not sure even He expected such Herculean efforts - worthy of Cannonisation!

Chiefluvvie :-)
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Re: Hopeless!

Well RB, my jaw dropped when I read your post.

As they say it takes all sorts.


Simply I don't know how you did that, and I must ask, do you still get on?

 I used to get a fuzzy head in my first year or so, if I over dosed on french when I had been to dinner say, or in french company a lot, just through trying to take it all in.  IF my husband, whose french is and always was far far superior to mine had played that game, then I think I might have taken a blunt object to him whilst he slept. It was bad enough when he would correct my french and he had to a lot at first. It isn't that I didn't want to learn, but I have not got the 'ear' and he has, so the obvious to him was hard for me and he didn't understand why I struggled so.

That your method worked for you, well, it seems to have. But not for me and I don't know any other couples who have done such a thing. 

Chief Luvvie are you unwell?   I am starting to feel rather sad and sorry for you, which I reckon you will tell me to stuff, but that would only encourage my feelings of sympathy for you. And saying nothing is wrong, would simply feel 'wrong'.

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Re: Hopeless!

I'm glad to have provided you with a "first" idun------I feel quite proud at being unique in your experience of folk who have tried to learn fluency. As I mentioned in my posting on the subject, you have to remember that , faced with 20 or 30 years here, hopefully, the need to take radical steps to fluency seemed rather a high priority. It----among the other factors I listed ( but which you omitted any comment on ------certainly helped ( without any problem for my wife and me ). We also refused to read any English "material" for a year. By the end of it all, and after much daily coversation with our employees and neighbors and the Church Groups and Priest, we found we had become fluent enough to go back to English whenever we wanted. You ridicule it but if it works ( and it did ) -----and if you are only aged 50 with a whole future in France ( a dream come true for us ), who is it for anyone to scoff at people's own methodology ?

Talking of "scoff", I will not bother commenting on the posts from Bitter Betty and Chiefluvvie. You told me, idun, that , in effect, I should give Betty a chance to earn the same affection and respect in which you obviously hold her. With your experience on this Forum, I really was going to "give your suggestion a whirl" and I was going to try and wait till I had seen and heard more from aforementioned Betty. However, her latest posts are quite frankly offensive.

If you, idun, have respect for such a sad and bitter person, I question your judgement. I am a little more discerning when it comes to handing anyone my affection and especially my respect. How can any independent observer have any respect for postings such as those which only show a person who must really have a very sad life. Sorry, idun, but I haven't got the stomach to "give it a try" as you had implied I should do. 

I will, when I get a chance, open a thread sometime soon about happiness , especially with the decision of Brits to move to France, but also about what makes some folk of any sort so unhappy that their vitriol spills over in such a sad way.


Wish we could have moved to La Belle France earlier in life. But better late than never.
Bon courage !
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