Thursday, 6 December 2007

Its not a race...

I keep having to tell myself this as lately I have been a bit disappointed about my french. I feel like my level of verbal comprehension is no where near as good as my ability to speak (not that I am always gramatically correct but I seem to get my point across). I manage to get by in many situations but I am far from fluent. Some days it seems an unattainable goal. It seems like my french friends and acquaintances are speaking faster than ever and I'm always having to ask people to repeat what they have said. One of the problems of being a TV free family means that I am not getting as much exposure to spoken french as I could (especially as we speak english at home). And while I believe the best way to learn a language is to get out there and speak it, I feel a bit more listening to spoken french would be of great benefit to me. The problem is that I love to talk...whether in french or english. So given the chance, I will chat away in whatever french I have. I think, however, what I need to be doing is listening more to what others are saying. In any event, here is a list of things I am doing or going to start doing in an effort to improve my comprehension (in addition of course to just getting out and about and socializing when I can).

1. Continue renting a DVD every Friday night and watch it in french without subtitles, pausing when necessary to make sure with David that I've got the gist of what's going on

2. Continue going to Tricot Thé every Thursday night as we now have even more french speakers and its a great place to sit back and relax and listen (if only I could learn to shut up a bit!)

3. Start listening to french radio. I am guilty of always turning off the radio when David has it on as I just like a bit of peace and quiet but I think it will do me good to have it on as background noise at least. And I'm sure in time I'll be able to understand a bit more of what is being discussed

4. Start taking Jasper to the parent/child play space again (as soon as we are all well)

5. Keep reading books in french. I am on my third now, having just had a bit of a brain break. I'm currently about 30 pages into The Diary of Anne Frank.

6. Keep listening to the French in Action series. This is an old series of french lessons but I'm finding it rather helpful. Its an immersion course of 52 episodes. I'm up to number 8 and I hope at the end of it I might have a better understanding and knowledge of the future, conditional and subjunctive tenses (the ones I have basically taught myself)

I think that's it for now. It doesnt seem too daunting a list and at least it will make me feel like I'm continuing to progress. I dont want to wish away the next couple of years as I feel my kids are growing up too quickly as it is, but I do look forward to the day I feel like I am finally fluent in french. Then it will be time to learn italian!


Kate said...

Penny you're way too hard on yourself - you haven't been there that long and you're doing all the right things to help it along. Don't worry too much about the grammar and not talking so much - i reckon talking is the best way to learn especially if you have someone who will correct you. That's how i learnt italian - by talking way too much!! That's why kids learn so quickly because they don't care if they make a mistake and they just chat away constantly.

In 6-12mths time you'll be wondering what you were worried about!

Hope you're all feeling better.

Ohh we love the ice skating photos - and we're now on a mission to find an ice rink in Brisbane so Thandie can go 'Lily skating'

Rosebank Magic said...

I agree with Kate, you are being way too hard on your self. You're doing fantastically well, and what's wrong with making a few mistakes, they help people to remember you.
We had a fantastic thunderstorm last night with full sound and lighting effects - not alot of rain but still worthwhile.
Talk again soon. Love M

Guera said...

I think it sounds like you are doing really well for such a short time, but I do know what you mean. Its frustrating to not be able to interact at the same level as you could in English. I think I need to work on my listening skills too. I always thought I'd be able to understand things quicker than speaking, but its the other way round, partly because they speak so fast. And you have to concentrate so hard that if I'm tired or distracted, I miss so much. I am always asking people to repeat things or speak more slowly. I try not to focus on becoming fluent, because I think that is a really long term goal (for me anyway) but just on improving little things as I go (eg working on the past tense). I get to plateaus and then I need to really kick-start myself to get past it. The social events like the knitting group and play centre are a great idea because you have ready made topics of conversation that you can prepare for and build on.

JP said...

Penny you are doing great. You have so much more motivation than I do. I think I am only doing about half of what you are, thankfully I do work in a French office. But most of those people speak so fast and use so much slang! You will get there if you keep up that pace. Good luck, and keep up the good work!

Penny said...

Thanks Kate - try Acacia Ridge - I'm sure I went to one there

Guera - that's the thing. i think I am plateauing a bit as I have the same conversations a lot

JP - you are lucky you are working. I think that would help me a lot but its not going to happen in the short term

And thanks Mum :)

Andromeda said...

I noticed that people (mostly my roommates) seem to be talking faster than ever too, I think they went easy on me at first, now they are at their normal (lightning) pace. So you must be improving if people are talking faster, they don't feel like they have to slow down for you, it's a good thing! Yay!