French Language

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Re: Hopeless!

Idun said: And I do know brits who have the 'gift' and speak french like a francais and sometimes better. I have no gift for languages at all, english included.

I have no problem whatsoever with those gifted people who speak remarkable french. And the native french speakers on this board, who read and write english better than I do. I  salute them, and their 'gift'.

It was a struggle for me to learn french, yes, I have always said it was, as I haven't got the 'ear' and I knew I hadn't before moving to France. And I remain mefiante about anyone saying that they are fluent in such sweeping terms. Maybe you have the gift RB, I don't know, it may have been tongue in cheek to suggest that you offer me les cours par correspondance, dis donc, as if you could teach me anything, even in jest.

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Re: Hopeless!

My first lesson is to advise you ,idun, to learn and inwardly digest the French word "ombrageux" Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]
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!

I have no problem in saying that there is still considerable room for improvement in my command of French, despite 44 years of learning, a degree in French, many, many years of living and working in France and other Francophone countries and speaking the language daily. Perhaps my understanding of the vocabulary of language tuition allows me to better distinguish between "fluency" and "accuracy", but at least I hope I've reached the stage of knowing and, more pertinently, admitting, what I don't know. Teaching language for some time, I have learned, at least, that telling someone how easy YOU find something doesn't necessarily help THEM. As ANO remarked, it's quite a subjective thing.
I wonder if considering oneself equipped to teach a language after 12 months of living in France is the linguistic equivalent of the Brittany Ferries qualification for electricians and plumbers?
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: Hopeless!

 You can call me Betty wrote:
Teaching language for some time, I have learned that telling someone how easy YOU find something doesn't necessarily help THEM. I wonder if considering oneself equipped to teach a language after 12 months of living in France is the linguistic equivalent of the Brittany Ferries qualification for electricians and plumbers?

LOL; I was thinking much the same thing. The word 'bumptious' comes to mind.


Computing - it's another world
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Re: Hopeless!

RB, I never said I couldn't learn, I said as if you could. 

The thing is, and it doesn't feel like you have grasped this, is that for many of us, the more we learn, we realise the less  we know. It is a sort of being self effacing in it's own little way and humbled by the the task and enormity of learning a new language, as the OP is finding.

And me, well, it's rather like I couldn't beat Hussein Bolt in a race, I understand full well my own limitations and plod along doing the best I can and get by nicely. But I don't need 'telling' or any suggestion that someone with A level french could 'help me' even in jest. I have french friends who I adore, and are more than capable of giving me a helping hand when I need it.

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Re: Hopeless!

Good point, idun and YCCMB! The better French you speak, the more you realise you still have to learn.
I used not to get too bothered about the gender of words when speaking, as long as I got the meaning across, till I discovered what a disgrace it is for French natives to get it wrong. Now I am in near paranoia about it!

I am not sure how one defines "fluency" actually. Maybe it IS, as RB implies, simply being able to keep up with day-to-day conversation -understanding and contributing, but still not passing for a native. As opposed to being bilingual, which to my mind means that you would be taken for a native of whichever of the two countries whose language you happened to be speaking.
So where does that leave those of us in the middle ground?

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Re: Hopeless!

 Patf wrote:
My "best friend" was just talking to me about this yesterday. She's lived here since 1990 and worries that she still can't carry on a decent conversation with the locals.

I've lived here since 2004 and I think I'm going backwards. In the early years, we were out and about and socialising with French people but now we're working, OH is working with French people but I'm running a cd'hôte solo with many of the guests Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, German - as well as French... I find I'm using the language less now than I did 5 years ago.

French tv is very useful - especially French tv with French or English s/titles - but I only have chance to watch a few hours of tv a week... plus the obligatory Bienvenue Chez Vous. Big Smile [:D] French radio doesn't work for me because my mind wanders - with English-language radio too, for that matter - listening to the Archers omnibus online takes me about 3 hours because I keep forgetting to concentrate. Confused [8-)]

French books are good too - but I fall asleep within 2 pages of starting to read, same for English-language books.

I plan to become fluent in about 10 years when I retire. In the meantime, I need to get rid of my vache espagnole pronunciation. Devil [6]

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Re: Hopeless!

I must have been in France about 3-4 years when my real declic came. We were watching TF1 lunch time news with Yves Mourousi and he was rabbiting on as per usual. I realised that I had understood every last word and he had not actually said a thing of any consequence or importance. That realisation was important to me, as I had really believed I was missing out........ and I wasn't.

Even then, I could hold conversations with neighbours / locals /anyone. As when we got to France I had to grasp the bull by the horns and just go for it and if I made mistakes tant pis. And I would speak to anyone about anything.

Don't worry Loiseau about getting the gendre wrong, apparently everyone assures me it is part of the 'charm'. I'm told my accent is mignon too, but I have grave doubts about that.

We are ofcourse forgetting cultural differences here. Just being able to speak does not get to the âme of a french person,  how they see the world and feel about life. I think I 'got' that by osmosis, but that is just me.

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